CBSN

Ensign The Pessimist Shows Ray Of Optimism

Maybe John Ensign has been sandbagging us with his pessimism all along.

The Nevada senator, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is much more optimistic about several of the Senate races where GOP candidates were once thought to be dead in the water, saying Wednesday that four tough GOP races are now back within the margin for error in the latest polls.

So, Ensign now believes Republicans, who currently hold 49 Senate seats, might lose only one or two.

By no means does Ensign believe Republicans will retake the Senate, but he says the races in Colorado, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Oregon are now too close to call. And Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is now considered safe.

"Now that voters are engaging in the down ballot races, we have seen candidates’ numbers climb, and we are confident that will continue as the campaigning increases in the following weeks," Ensign said.

"Additionally, our fundraising has increased over the past few weeks and we believe it is because of this momentum and excitement.” 

Ensign did not mention New Mexico and Virginia, where Democrats currently hold double digit leads – and those Senate seats are likely to flip from Republican to Democrat.

This is indeed a new Ensign we're hearing, a stark contrast to earlier this summer when he said losing four seats would be a good night for the GOP. His optimism about fund raising is even more startling, given the rough message he sent out last month calling out members of his own party for not raising enough money for the NRSC.

Boosted by a flurry of fund raisers, NRSC is now spending money on independent ads like this one in North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole is trying to fend off a challenge from Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan.