Vol 29, Issue 43 Print Issue

Cornyn: Senate Losses Cause for Party to "Reflect"

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas

He was tasked with electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate and securing a GOP majority. By Tuesday's night's measure, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, failed as Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

"It’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party," Cornyn said in an NRSC statement.

There are mixed opinions as to whether Democratic gains of four Republican seats will impact Cornyn's chances of becoming GOP Whip.

"I think if you had asked anyone in politics a year ago if the Democrats were not only not going to lose any seats, but gain seats, they would've said you've been drinking," said Paul Stekler, a professor at the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Stekler said a lot of factors were at play this election cycle, many outside of Cornyn's control — demographics, the strong campaign President Obama ran and Democratic 'Get Out the Vote' efforts — as well as some poor choices within the Republican Party. 

"I mean, what are you going to do with Todd Akin? What are you going to do with Richard Mourdock," Stekler said.

Both Akin, R-Missouri, and Mourdock, R-Indiana, made inflammatory comments about rape that had many party leaders calling for the men to walk away from their candidacies. Republicans had expected to easily beat incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri.

"They had a chance to really convince Akin to drop out. A couple Republicans did, but Cornyn didn't do enough. He's got to shoulder some of that blame," said Brian Smith, a professor of behavioral sciences at St. Edwards University. He said Republicans had the opportunity to take over the Senate in this election with expected wins in both Missouri and North Dakota.

Cornyn is currently running unopposed for GOP Whip. Tuesday's losses leave some question if another senator will now challenge him.

If Cornyn wins, he will help outline GOP priorities nationally, be in charge of making sure members support party leadership and are present to vote on key issues. 

With Democrats still in control in the Senate and in the White House, Cornyn is already sounding like a whip: "Solving these very serious problems will take real Presidential leadership.  This is something we unfortunately did not see in the President’s first term, but that all of us hope for in his second.”