GOP Confident Of Keeping Senate Seats

Despite Democratic expectations of picking up another four to five seats in the 2008 elections, the GOP claims that it may lose only two more seats, resulting in a 53-to-47 Democrat-to-Republican ratio.

A senior member of the GOP leadership said on background that the party is even confident of knocking off two incumbents, Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson. Democratic sources, however, said that they feel confident Landrieu will survive and expressed surprise that the Republicans are considering challenging Johnson, who's been away owing to an illness. The Republican official said that the party feels upbeat because of the shift in the country's mood regarding the war and the Senate GOP's effort to portray the Democrats as poor leaders.

Where the party once expected to lose several seats in the upcoming elections, it now thinks that with luck, the losses can be kept to just two seats. But a strategist for Democrats say they plan to pick up several more seats.

"Four or five is the most likely outcome," said the strategist.

By Paul Bedard