House Republicans: "We've Got a Lot of Work To Do"

Republican Tim Burns greets his supports after losing to Democrat Mike Critz in the special election for the Congressional seat vacated by the death of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Washington, Pa.. While he lost the special election, Burns did win the Republican primary in the same district for the right to run in the November general election to fill the next term of the same seat. With Burns are his sons Brock and Trent. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta) Amy Sancetta

Tim Burns
Republican Tim Burns greets his supporters after losing to Democrat Mike Critz in the special election for the Congressional seat vacated by the death of U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., on Tuesday, May 18, 2010 in Washington, Pa.
AP

On super primary Tuesday, House Democrats were the only lawmakers in Washington with something to smile about whenDemocrat Mark Critz won a special election in Pennsylvania's 12th district to finish the late-Rep. John Murtha's House term. Critz beat businessman Tim Burns handily 53 percent to 44 percent.

"Mark Critz's victory demonstrates that Democrats can win in a tough political environment," said Speaker Nancy Pelosi's spokesman Brendan Daly. "The Republicans have been boasting that they can win 50 or even 100 House seats, yet they could not win a seat that independent analysts called a 'must win' for them in a district that John McCain won in 2008."

But is it a good indicator of whether Democrats keep the House in November?

When the outcome was still unclear, House majority leader Steny Hoyer was not so sure.

"If he wins will that mean the Democrats are going to sweep? I don't think so," Hoyer said yesterday. "These special elections are, you know, they are what they are."

Republican Whip Eric Cantor said this morning that he thinks Americans still want to vote for some kind of check and balance to Democrat's power in Washington.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed as a Republican that Tim Burns did not win the seat," Cantor said in an interview for CBSNews.com's "Washington Unplugged." (watch at left)

But the silver lining Cantor sees for Republicans is that Mark Critz ran as a conservative against health care and cap and trade.

"What is pretty indicative was that the Democratic candidate refused to get anywhere near the policy agenda promoted by Speaker Pelosi and President Obama," Cantor said.

That said, Cantor acknowledged that "last night is evidence of the fact that we've got a lot of work to do."

House Republicans need to boot at least 40 Democrats to take past the House.

So what does this mean for House lawmakers going forward?

House Minority leader John Boehner told reporters this morning that Republicans will continue to organize and work with the American people to create a strong Republican platform. House Republicans plan to rollout an interactive project next week that will encourage the public to participate in forming that agenda. Boehner also said it's a money problem.

"We've got to continue to raise resources," he said. "We can't be at a financial disadvantage like we are now."

Washington Unplugged: Joe Sestak: "I Stood Up to My Party"
Rand Paul to Dems: Please Bring Obama to Kentucky
Paul: Tea Party Ready to "Flex Some Muscle"

The latest campaign committee filings with the FEC show that Democrats had $26 million in cash on hand while Republicans reported just under $10 million.

As for House Democrats, Brendan Daly said that they will "continue to make the 2010 elections a choice between Democrats who are fighting for the middle class and Republicans who are siding with Wall Street and other special interests."

Results:

Roundup: All Winners and Losers
Specter Falls in Pa. Dem Primary to Joe Sestak
Rand Paul Wins Kentucky GOP Primary
Blanche Lincoln, Bill Halter Headed for Run-Off
Dem Wins Special Election for Murtha's Seat

Analysis:

The Surprises From Tuesday's Primaries
Specter's Loss Goes Beyond Anti-Incumbent Mood
Where do Tuesday's Winners Go from Here?
Who Had the Better Spin?


Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.

  • Jill Jackson On Twitter»

    Jill Jackson is a CBS News senior political producer.

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