The Republican Party aims to take control of the Senate in 2014 but, given recent public relations issues, the prospects for a GOP takeover appear to be slimming. Aaron Blake, National Political writer for The Washington Post, and Meredith Shiner, of Roll Call, joined Richard Lui on Weekends with Alex Witt to talk political strategy.
"The Republicans have a very good set-up this year," said Blake. "The Democrats are defending 21 states in 2014, seven of which Mitt Romney carried by double digits in 2012."
However, Blake added that Republicans shouldn't get too comfortable as they gear up their election apparatus,
"At this time two years ago we were saying very much the same thing, the map was very good for republicans, and then they ran into all these difficult primaries, they had some candidates make some gaffes that gave them lots of problems, so nothing is certain until the campaigns are actually run," he said. "But at this point Republicans do have a very good chance to get close to parity."
Shiner agreed that the Republicans will have to be aggressive to pick up the six seats to take the Senate, but will also need to avoid "those isolated moments," such as Todd Aiken's "legitimate rape" comment or Rep. Don Young's use of a Hispanic racial slur on Friday.
These gaffes become bigger than the candidate and taint the party brand, Shiner says.
With elections still more than 19 months away, the conversation bounced to immigration reform, where Shiner sees an opportunity for Republicans to make their case with policy, not PR gaffes.
And while the Senate appears to be moving quickly towards compromise, the House, where many GOP members worry more about their primary campaign than a general election, may not feel the same degree of political urgency.