Roger Wicker Waxes Optimistic About the Election

In Missouri, Wicker said he always expected GOP Sen. Roy Blunt would face a difficult re-election but conceded that the Democratic nominee, Jason Kander, has talent — even if he’ll eventually lose because of his position on abortion rights and gun control. “We’ve known from the day they settled on Jason Kander that he’s young and attractive and that he was going to hire an excellent ad agency,” Wicker said. “So I’ll give him that.”

He defended North Carolina Sen. Richard M. Burr against criticism that he hasn’t worked hard enough during his own re-election campaign. “I’ve been a victim of this myself,” he said. “In 1994, there was this narrative that I won the primary and quit working. It just drove me crazy. And I had a hard time shaking it. I was working my fingers to the bone, exhausted by the end of every day. So I probably know how Richard feels.”

He declined to promise that the NRSC’s independent expenditure arm would run TV ads for Illinois Sen. Mark S. Kirk and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who are considered the two most vulnerable Senate Republican incumbents of this year’s election cycle. “We’re continuing to look at that,” Wicker said. (The senator did point out that the committee is helping Johnson and Kirk raise money.)

Even though Democrats have withdrawn most of their support from Ohio Democratic Senate nominee Ted Strickland, don’t expect the NRSC or Sen. Portman to start taking the race lightly. “Hillary Clinton wants that state,” Wicker said. “She’s going to try to turn out her vote there. There’s a lot of things that can happen. And so I am just not going to chalk that one up in the victory column until election night.”

Roll Call