CORNYN OFFERS WELCOME MAT FOR PARTY-SWITCHERS…. Most prognosticators believe Republicans will pick up a whole lot of U.S. Senate seats today, but not the 10 they need to claim a majority. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but not even GOP leaders seem to think it’s possible.
But if Republicans end up with a caucus of 48 or 49 members, don’t be too surprised if they start looking for party-switchers across the aisle. Indeed, some of this has already started.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Senate Republicans would “welcome” any Democrats who wish to switch parties and caucus with the GOP.
Cornyn, the head of Senate Republicans’ campaign efforts, floated the possibility that the GOP might target Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.), an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, or another Democratic senator if Republicans come close to winning a majority but fall short.
“I think he votes like a Republican on those areas, and we would certainly welcome him or any other Democrat who wants to switch sides of the aisle and caucus with us,” Cornyn said of Lieberman during an Election Day appearance on Fox News.
Other potential targets, according to the report from The Hill, are Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), or perhaps West Virginia’s Joe Manchin (D), should he win today.
It’s hard to guess what members like these might do, though I’d note that Ben Nelson, as recently as August, said he’s not leaving the Democratic Party. Lieberman hasn’t said much on the subject, and as far as I can tell, Pryor and Manchin haven’t even been asked.
That said, it’s probably worth keeping an eye on, especially if Cornyn & Co. get close enough to a majority to make this kind of outreach wildly important.
And just as a refresher, we talked a month ago about a similar scheme that’s been in the works among House Republicans, but that would only be relevant if the GOP failed to get a net gain of 39 seats today, and few observers, if any, think they’ll come up short.