Did GOP optimism outrun reality?

DID GOP OPTIMISM OUTRUN REALITY? Even as votes continue to be counted, the big picture that is emerging from midterm results around the country is that, as predicted, it appears Republicans will win control of the House of Representatives. That's a big deal. Even if the GOP controls only one chamber of Congress, President Joe Biden's legislative agenda is dead. Biden should realize that as speaker, Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is not going to help the president pass any big legislative priority. That will be a momentous change in Washington.

But in the final days and weeks of the campaign, Republicans began to hope for more. An optimism grew among GOP insiders that the party could capture the Senate, as well. First, they began to believe that Republicans could hold on to the toss-up seats they currently control — Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. The first three they felt very confident about, and the final one, Pennsylvania, they knew would be difficult. But as time went by, especially after Democrat John Fetterman's poor performance in the Oct. 25 debate with Republican Mehmet Oz, GOP strategists began to feel increasingly confident about winning Pennsylvania, too.

Then, once Republicans successfully defended their current seats, the thinking went, all they had to do was win at least one of the vulnerable Democratic seats in Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada. If the GOP lost Pennsylvania, it would have to win two of those, but some Republicans were confident they could do that, too.