May 28, 2006

Democratic strategist sees strong election showing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York
Democrat, said on Sunday his party will do "very very well" in
November's mid-term elections but stopped short of saying
Democrats will retake the U.S. Senate.

"I think that we're going to do very very well," Schumer,
one of the party's top political strategists, told CBS' "Face
the Nation."

"The American people want change ... because this
administration has been incompetent. ... They see an
administration that seems to substitute ideology and cronyism
for competence."

"The Republicans are not ahead in a single blue seat and we
are even or ahead in five of theirs," Schumer said, in a
reference to Republican "red" states mostly in the south and
west and Democrat "blue" states mostly in north central and
coastal regions of the country.

Americans want "better ethics, better energy, better
education, better health care, better stem cell research,"
Schumer said.

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the assistant
Senate majority leader, told the same program Republicans were
confident of holding their majority in that body.

"We're certainly going to hold a majority in the Senate,"
he said.

Democrats must gain six seats in the Senate and 15 in the
House of Representatives to reclaim control, a task strategists
in both parties say is tough but possible.

Asked whether efforts to forge a compromise immigration
reform bill that combines tough border security with a path to
citizenship for illegal aliens would hurt the Republicans in
November, McConnell said: "I hope there's going to be an
immigration bill that's heavily weighted toward security at the

The citizenship provisions in a Senate immigration bill
passed last week, which a majority of House of Representatives
Republicans oppose, have divided the party and the Washington
Post reported on Sunday that House Republicans facing the
toughest reelection battles in November strongly oppose it.