- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 26, 2014

Key senators from both parties, Democrat Charles Schumer and Republican Rob Portman, are gazing at starkly different crystal balls ahead of the mid-term elections next month.

Each thinks his party will control the upper chamber next year, and each thinks his party captain, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or top Republican, Sen. Mitch McConnell, has what it takes to lead, despite some waffling among colleagues on the campaign trail.

Mr. Schumer, of New York, said the Democrats’ ground game, their focus on economic issues and the quality of their candidates will put them over the edge despite polls that show the GOP may have the votes to gain six seats and retake the chamber.

“Democrats are going to prove the pundits wrong when we keep the Senate,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

But Mr. Portman, a conservative from Ohio, insisted that “voter intensity is on our side.” Early voting in Iowa, a key battleground, has the GOP ahead.

“That’s never happened before,” Mr. Portman said. “All the polls show that, you know, this is going to be a good year for Republicans. It’s a good environment for us.”

He said Mr. McConnell of Kentucky is still the right leader for the party, and Mr. Schumer backed Mr. Reid of Nevada even though some Democrats have suggested they could do better.

Harry Reid will run for majority leader, and he will win with any overwhelming, probably close to majority, vote,” Mr. Schumer told NBC.

But his Ohio counterpart said the Senate will be a legislative quagmire so long as Mr. Reid is the gatekeeper.

“The only way we get something done is winning the majority,” Mr. Portman said. “Washington needs to get its act together and start passing stuff.”

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