Republicans won a special election in New York’s 9th congressional district Monday night, snatching up territory that had not gone red since the 1920s. The GOP also won a special election in Nevada. The two victories kicked off what will likely be a rocky re-election season for both parties.
“I’m sure glad I’m not working for a member that’s up for re-election next year because it’s an ugly, ugly mood out there,” Jim Manley, former spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
While it is a tough environment for Democrats, Manley said they should all take a deep breath and remain calm.
“Two special elections does not make a trend,” he said, adding that Washoe County, Nevada is not traditionally blue territory. Republican Mark Amodei won that special election by more than 20 points. In New York, Republican Bob Turner scooped up Anthony Weiner’s old seat, which had been held by Democrats for more than 80 years.
And while it may not be a trend, the losses still sting.
“The happy talk of a week or so ago is all but dissipated,” said Manley. “Reality’s digging in. There’s now talk about Republicans are digging in their heels over the short term.”
Manley said he is pleased to see an energetic Obama pushing his jobs plan, and taking the offensive when it comes to Republicans. Because the GOP, he said, does not want to work with this administration to get things done.
“If you take Senator McConnell [R-Ky.] at his word, his goal, number one, two and three, is to try and defeat the president. Pretty cynical move, but it is what it is,” said Manley, who joins Quinn Gillespie & Associates as a senior communications director Thursday.
Manley said Obama’s jobs plan is not dead on arrival, as some Republicans have said. But it won’t be a slam dunk for the White House.
“I think there’s a decent chance – probably a little bit more than 50/50 – we can get a deal.”