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State of the Senate and House Races: "Can Democrats Hold On to Their Majority in the Senate?" and Latest House Polls

Kyle Kondik, analyst and House Editor, University of Virginia Center for Politics, Sabato's Crystal Bowl
Washington, DC
October 19, 2012




10:00 A.M. EDT

THE WASHINGTON FOREIGN PRESS CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C.

MODERATOR: Hi. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us with the Foreign Press Center’s conference call. Today, we have Kyle Kondik. He’s the house editor at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and he’s talking to us about the state of the Senate and House races.

So with that, I’ll just leave it open to Kyle for any opening remarks.

MR. KONDIK: Hi. Good morning, everybody. Maybe I saw some of you when we gave our presentation down in Tampa, Florida, during the Republican Convention. Let me just give a brief overview of the House and the Senate, and then I’d be happy to take any questions you may have.

Let me start with the U.S. Senate. And the way that we are looking at it right now, based on our ratings, is the following: If you assume that the 67 Senators not up for election this year are in – do in fact come back next year, and then you also (inaudible) in the states that we have leaning or likely or safe for either party, that gives you a Senate of 50 Democrats and 44 Republicans, with six states that we consider too close to call at the moment. Those six states are: Arizona, Connecticut, Indiana, North Dakota, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

So our current projection is for the Democrats to hold a 52-to-48 majority in the next Senate, which would be a net loss of one seat from what they have right now. This is actually a better outlook for the Democrats than we’ve had for much of the earlier part of the cycle. It looked like the map was fairly favorable to Republicans, but there have been a number of developments in some of these states that, if you want to ask specifically about one state or the other, I’d be happy to talk about that.

Notably, some of the big races that you may have heard about we actually have – we’re comfortable enough leaning it one way or the other. For instance, we believe that Elizabeth Warren is the favorite in Massachusetts. She’s the Democrat running against incumbent Republican Scott Brown. We believe that basically Massachusetts is just too Democratic to reelect Brown. Another state is Virginia. Even though it kind of looks like Mitt Romney is now leading the presidential race in Virginia, we’re comfortable saying that we think that Tim Kaine, the Democrat, will edge out George Allen, the Republican, just barely.

The list of leaning-Democratic states also includes Missouri, where it looked like Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, would be in a really tough position to get reelected, but her opponent, Representative Todd Akin, has made a lot of controversial remarks during the general election campaign, so much so that it looks like McCaskill will win even in a state that’s going to vote Republican at the presidential level.

So that’s the general outlook in the Senate. The Republicans still have an outside shot to win the majority, maybe to get to 50-50. Of course, the new Vice President would break ties. But we think the Democrats are in a decent position in the Senate.

Moving along to the House, Republicans, of course, have a very big majority right now. The Democrats would need to net a total of 25 seats to win the House. Currently, we project the Democrats to win a net of seven seats, which obviously wouldn’t be nearly enough to win the House majority. In fact, I’m pretty comfortable saying that the Republicans will keep the House and it’s just a matter of how many seats they end up losing; it doesn’t look like the Republicans will add seats. But like I said, the Democratic gain I project at seven seats, which would make the House 235 Republican, 200 Democratic. And if there are individual seats and trends that you want to ask me about, about the House, that’s fine.

So anyway, the prospectus right now in the House and the Senate, again, just to reiterate, is probably a very narrow Democratic majority in the Senate and then a fairly comfortable Republican majority in the House, but a little bit of a smaller one than they hold now. So that’s just the overview, and I’m happy to take any questions.

OPERATOR: And ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to ask a question, please press * then 1 on your touchtone phone. You’ll hear a tone indicating you’ve been placed in queue. You may remove yourself from queue at any time by pressing the # key. If you’re using a speakerphone, please pick up the handset before pressing the numbers. Once again, if you have a question, please press * then 1 at this time.

And our first question will come from the line of Marta Torres, La Razon Newspaper. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello. Good morning.

MR. KONDIK: Good morning.

QUESTION: My question: Well, in case President Obama wins the elections and the numbers you gave us, I mean, are completely correct, how he’s going to work with the Congress? Because for the last – for the first two years of his term, he couldn’t – or he had a tough time to get ahead with his policies, even though he had the majority, and then for the last two years it was completely impossible. And now what you are saying, I mean, if the American voters vote as you said and if he wins, what is going to happen?

MR. KONDIK: Well, you’ll notice that if things do, in fact, shake out the way that I’ve described – and, of course, they very well may not – and then if the President wins, the landscape in the – in both the White House and in the Capitol building is going to look very similar to what it looks like now: small Democratic edge in the Senate, healthy Republican majority in the House, and a Democratic President. And, of course, the last two years have been defined by basically total gridlock, and one has to wonder if, from a policy perspective, if that would just continue.

I think it would be very difficult for President Obama to pass any new major initiatives. It’s hard to imagine a major immigration reform bill getting through a Congress like this. It would be difficult to imagine action on climate change to get through a Congress that looks like this. I think that basically the President would just be trying to protect his – what they – what he and the Democrats did in his first two years, including the Affordable Care Act and also the Dodd-Frank financial regulation and the new consumer protection agency.

So I think that if you like gridlock, you’re going to see a lot more of it. And I think even if Romney wins and the Democrats keep the Senate, it’s also going to be very difficult for Romney to get any of his programs through. Although if the Republicans have a narrow majority in the Senate or even if it’s a tie, there are certain things that you can do with taxes – perhaps some things from the Ryan budget plan – that they may be able to force through because you can get by a filibuster if you’re dealing with the budget.

So those are just things – some things to consider. But again, Democratic Senate, Republican House, Democratic White House – things are probably going to look a lot like – for the next two years, look a lot like they did the last two.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: And next we’ll go to the line of Dave Hansen, Bloomberg BNA. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. If your predictions hold true, what will that mean for the lame duck session? What will get done and what won’t get done?

MR. KONDIK: It really sounds like the President – and this may – this is probably even if he doesn’t get reelected – it really sounds like the President is going to hold the line on not signing an extension of the Bush tax cuts that does not include higher taxes on the wealthy. And one could imagine a situation in which the President just – I mean, if the Congress – or if Congress and the President don’t take any action, taxes will just go up across the board at the end of the year. And so one could imagine the President just saying, I’m not going to sign an extension of this that doesn’t include the tax hikes on the rich, and the Republicans balk at that; all the taxes could go up potentially.

Excuse me. The other thing is that the government is going to have to deal with sequestration, which are these mandatory defense cuts. And even though these were agreed to last summer during the argument over the – raising the debt ceiling, it doesn’t seem like anyone actually wants these cuts to happen. And so my guess is that there’ll just be some sort of deal in which the defense cuts are eliminated or dialed back some.

But there is a lot of – no matter what happens in the election, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in the lame duck session, and that’s work that’s going to affect the American people pretty dramatically, depending on what happens. So obviously there’s not of political courage to tackle these issues before the election, but it should be a pretty interesting couple of months between the end of the election and the new year.

OPERATOR: And once again as a reminder, if you wish to ask a question, please press * then 1 at this time.

We’ll go to the line of Julian Hattem with Yomiuri Newspaper. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah, thanks so much for doing this. I had a quick question about how – if the Senate especially would be affected by either a Romney or Obama win. Many projections say that whoever wins that their turnout will increase turnout for their party. And do you think that that’s the case? So if Romney wins, will that boost Republican turnout? And will the odds then be better that – a smaller or a tied Senate?

MR. KONDIK: Yeah, that’s an excellent point. And I think that if, for instance – let me give you an example. Wisconsin has a tossup Senate race right now between Representative Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and former Governor Tommy Thompson, the Republican. Wisconsin is a generally leaning Democratic state on the presidential level, but if Romney were to win Wisconsin, it’s highly likely that Thompson would also win, based on the coattails from Romney’s victory. Likewise, if Obama won, Baldwin may very well win. And so we list Wisconsin as a presidential tossup right now, although it looks like the President may have a tiny little edge there. But probably the winner of – the presidential winner there will also bring their Senate candidate over the finish line, and that could have repercussions down the ticket.

Some other places – I mentioned Virginia. If Romney wins Virginia by a substantial margin, that might be enough to take George Allen over the finish line too, and switch that seat from the Democrats to the Republicans. The same thing may end up being true in Florida, where Democrat Bill Nelson looks very likely to run several points ahead of President Obama, but perhaps not by enough to beat his Republican opponent Connie Mack, although Mack is kind of regarded as fairly weak. In Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown should also probably run ahead of the President there, but if Obama ends up losing Ohio, that could also drag Sherrod Brown down and elect Republican Josh Mandel to the Senate seat there.

So – and another example is in Nevada. Nevada looks fairly likely to vote for Obama for President. The question is by how much, because Senator Dean Heller, the Republican incumbent, looks like he’s ahead right now. But if Obama wins by 10 points or something in Nevada, that could be enough to defeat him and elect Representative Shelley Berkley, his Democratic opponent. So the coattails do matter in a lot of these states, because you’re not going to see a ton of split balloting. We are in kind of a polarized era, and I think a lot of people are voting straight ticket. So obviously there will be some ticket splitting in some places, particularly a state like Missouri, where the Republican candidate is so weak, even though Romney will win the state.

So – but if the election really tilts toward Romney, the Senate very well could slip. But it doesn’t look that way right now. We still have the presidential race as basically a tie at this point.

OPERATOR: And next we’ll go on line to Max Akermann, Swiss Public Radio. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Good morning. I have a specific question to Montana. You didn’t mention the Senate race there. What are your projections?

MR. KONDIK: So at the moment, we have Montana as leans Republican, meaning that we have a – we slightly favor Representative Denny Rehberg to defeat the Democratic incumbent Jon Tester. This is basically because of – well, I mentioned coattails. We think Romney will win Montana by more than John McCain did in 2008. McCain actually only won by – Montana by about two points, which is – seems kind of surprising, given that Montana is generally thought of as a Republican state. But the truth is is that race is very close. We’re sort of going out on a ledge saying that – or going out on a limb by saying that Rehberg is the slight favorite there. That race very well could come down to a few thousand votes or something, but I guess we just kind of thought that Rehberg would have the edge because of coattails, but the truth is that it could very well could go either way.

OPERATOR: And once again as a reminder, if you wish to ask a question, please press * then 1 at this time.

We do have a follow-up question from the line of Marta Torres, La Razon Newspaper. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hello again. I would like to ask you – I’m sorry – what kind of impact have the debates on the Senate and House of Representatives race?

MR. KONDIK: You mean the presidential debates?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. KONDIK: I would say that – look, I do think that what’s happening in the presidential race does trickle down to the Senate and the House. And so because Romney surged after the debate that could potentially have down-ballot effects. For instance, it looks like Wisconsin has gotten closer at the presidential race; the Senate race has also gotten closer. So – and there are some House races that may end up going the way of the presidential race in their states.

So – then again, though, we’ve been sort of downgrading President Obama’s chances to win the presidency, and yet Democrats still appear to have a decent position in the Senate. And so what that tells us is that, for as much as Obama had troubles after his first debate, the Senate picture didn’t change all that much, meaning that a lot of those Democratic candidates still appear to be in decent shape.

Now again, as I mentioned, if Romney ends up winning the election, the debate will be seen as sort of the turning point in the race, rightly or wrongly – probably rightly. And whoever – whatever Senator – Senate – Democratic Senate candidates end up losing, then their losses may also be traced back to that first debate.

QUESTION: What do you think is going to happen on the last debate? Do you think it’s going to clear something or it’s going to be the same?

MR. KONDIK: You know, here’s the thing: The last debate is about foreign policy. I don’t know if Americans are as tuned in about foreign policy as they are about economic topics. I wonder if viewership will be as high. So I don’t know. I mean, look – I don’t want to discount any of the debates, because I think there was a tendency to discount the debates before the first one. And obviously a lot of people, including myself, were wrong about how much impact that debate could have. It may go down as perhaps the most impactful debate ever if Romney wins, or at least among the top two or three in American history.

So again, it’s very possible that something very important could happen on Monday, but my guess is is that the race will sort of continue where it is, as in it will be very close. And obviously that closeness has an effect down the ballot.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KONDIK: Uh-huh.

OPERATOR: Next we’ll go to the line of Xavier Vila with Catalunya Radio. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Good morning, and thank you for doing this. Most of the polls say that the American people are pretty much fed-up with this Congress; they call it dysfunctional. To what extent (inaudible) your predictions, pretty much nothing will change?

MR. KONDIK: Well, it’s interesting. I mean, yes, Congress is extremely unpopular, and I would say throughout American history – now granted, we don’t have great public opinion polling going back a hundred years or something – but I don’t know if Congress has ever been particularly popular. There have been a few times when their ratings have been decent. One time was right after 9/11, in which there was a kind of a national rallying effect around the government.

But Congress – Congress may be historically unpopular, but it’s not usually popular, either. And generally speaking, even though people don’t like Congress, they tend to have a more favorable view of their own representative or their own senator. And so incumbents still get reelected at a very high rate, even though Congress is very unpopular. And if you say, “Well, that doesn’t make any sense,” I think it doesn’t. (Laughter.) I mean, if people don’t like the state of the Congress, then logically they would do something – they would use – do something within their power to change it. But that just isn’t how American elections generally work.

So I think you’re going to continue – especially if the government doesn’t change, as in the Senate remains Democratic, the House remains Republican, the President remains Obama, people are going to get – if people were turned off by the last two years, they’re just voting for more of it. (Laughter.) So it’s a legitimate point to wonder why doesn’t congressional disapproval matter, but it just doesn’t – there just isn’t much evidence that it does.

I mean, if we see an election in one of these years where lots of incumbents from both parties are thrown out of office, you could legitimately say it’s an anti-incumbent year. But like, we had a lot of turnover in 2010 and 2008 and 2006, but the turnover was all in one direction. I wouldn’t call it an anti-incumbent year. Like, 2010 wasn’t an anti-incumbent year; it was an anti-Democratic year. And 2006 wasn’t an anti-incumbent year; it was an anti-Republican year. So we generally don’t see a lot of incumbents losing, and I don’t necessarily – I mean, we’ll see some this year, but keep in mind this is a redistricting year, so a lot of incumbents will lose because their districts are redrawn, not necessarily because people really want to throw them out. It’s just they have different constituents.

OPERATOR: And next we’ll go to the line of Anne Walters, German Press Agency. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about any specific – what specifics races, both on the Senate and House side, you see as perhaps being the tightest? And also if you could hit a little bit on some of the issues that you think are important on the congressional side, if those mirror the same issues that are being discussed on the presidential side. Thanks.

MR. KONDIK: Sure, to – let me get at that – the last part of your question first. Medicare has been just a dominant issue in both the House and Senate, and it’s interesting because essentially both Democratic and Republican candidates are essentially using the same message, that is “My opponent wants to destroy Medicare.” And the argument the Republicans use is they say that the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare cuts $700 billion out of Medicare, and the argument that the Democrats use against Republicans is that the Paul Ryan budget plan cuts – would turn Medicare into a voucher system. And I’m not going to get into the merits of those two arguments; the fact-checkers can do that for me. (Laughter.)

But what I will say is that you have races where Medicare is just a totally dominant issue and the attacks are essentially just carbon-copied all over the country. It’s actually kind of interesting; there was a Republican House candidate in Nevada in 2011 that won a special election, and one of the things he did was he put his own mother in his advertisements to talk about how her son wasn’t going to cut her Medicare. And now you have candidates all over the country, Republicans, putting their parents in their ads. There are probably at least 15 ads that are basically the same thing. So it actually just shows how nationalized the House is, and basically, you just have these kind of very cookie-cutter arguments being used in all corners of the country.

So if I were to pick one, it would be Medicare as just being this dominant issue, and both sides are accusing the other of trying to cut it. It actually – it’s one reason why it’s very hard to imagine the government taking substantial steps to change Medicare to try to shore it up, because both sides fear-monger on it like crazy. So it’s not particularly – it doesn’t give you a lot of hope that after the election, the government can do something about Medicare, but that’s neither here nor there.

As for the closest races, I would say Montana, as I mentioned, would be very close on the Senate side. I think North Dakota also could be extremely close. Those are both very small states, where you’ve got very tight races between – North Dakota’s an open seat. Montana – there’s an incumbent Democrat, Jon Tester. So those look like two really close Senate races. And of course, there will be others as well across the country. Nevada may be very close, Arizona may be very close, Wisconsin may be very close.

On the House level, obviously, there are tons and tons of races. One that I would focus on is in Ohio, in – it’s the Ohio 16th district; it’s a district that is south of Cleveland, Ohio. And you actually have two sitting House representatives pitted against each other. Redistricting put – created a situation where Representative Jim Renacci, a freshman Republican, is running in the same district against Representative Betty Sutton, a Democrat. The district sort of leans Republican, but the race looks just super, super close. And my thinking on it is that that race my end up going the way of the presidential race in Ohio, so maybe Sutton has a little bit of an edge because I give Obama, at least right now, a slight edge in Ohio.

Another one that is worth watching that is an interesting race that’s going to be very difficult to predict is in Texas’s 23rd district. That’s another tossup race, and it’s a giant district that extends from San Antonio all the way to El Paso, so in the – kind of the western panhandle of Texas. It’s – the district takes up almost all of that territory, or a lot of it. And it’s a freshman, Kiko Canseco, who’s Republican, against a state legislator named Pete Gallego, who’s the Democrat. And that district also looks like a total tossup.

So I would call both of those races kind of bellwethers. The thing is, even if Democrats win both of them, they’re still, like, pretty far away from winning the House, I think. So – but those are two that I think are kind of interesting.

QUESTION: Great. Thank you.

MR. KONDIK: Yeah.

OPERATOR: Once again, as a reminder, if you wish to ask a question, please press * then 1. At this time, we do have a follow-up question on the line of Max Akermann, Swiss Public Radio. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yes. I would like to ask you a question about an interesting race in California, California 15, where for the first time, I believe, you have two Democrats competing against each other because we have now these open primaries. And my question is: Do you have indication that this race is watched carefully also outside of California, because maybe other states would like to switch to this open primary season?

MR. KONDIK: I got to tell you – oh, this is Pete Stark-Eric Swalwell?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. KONDIK: Okay. Yeah. This is actually a really interesting race, because Stark has been in the House forever, basically, but he’s also a guy who’s just said some really outrageous things, especially in this cycle. And so it’s interesting because California’s not the only state that has this top two primary system, and let me explain what that is.

In most states in the country, there’s a general primary or there’s – there are partisan primaries held in the spring in which all the Democrats run against each other and then all the Republicans run and people can choose which race they want to vote in, but they don’t vote in all of them. And then whoever advances past the Democratic primary is the Democrat candidate, whoever advances past the Republican is the Republican candidate, and then there may be Green Party or somebody else.

In California and also in Washington State – Washington has had this a little bit longer; this is the first year California has had it – all the candidates run in a single primary, and the top two finishers advance to the general election. And so in some districts that are heavily Democratic or Republican, the top two vote-getters end up being Democrats, which is the case in California 15. And there’s this kind of good government argument made that, oh, well, if it’s a top two primary, people have to go to the middle a little bit more, and so it would – the idea is that maybe there’d be more moderate candidates elected. But I don’t necessarily know if that’s actually how things work or not.

But I do think that it is an interesting experiment, and we’ll kind of have to see how it works out in California. I mean, like I said, it’s been – this has been the case in Washington for a little while. I don’t necessarily know if you have – if there’s been some sort of revolution in governance that’s come out of Washington. But California’s an interesting case because, of course, it’s the biggest state in the country and it has – I think California produces 12 percent of all the representatives in the U.S. House. So it’s kind of an interesting thing to watch out there.

QUESTION: Thank you.

OPERATOR: Next we’ll go to the line of Vanya Bellinger with Capital Bulgaria. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for doing this. I join on a little bit late, so I hope you haven’t answered this question, and I wanted to ask you to talk about – a little bit more about Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts and this race, since it’s – she’s such a prominent figure.

MR. KONDIK: Sure. Yeah, no, I mentioned earlier that we rate that race as leans Democratic, and it’s basically entirely because of the fact that Massachusetts is just so Democratic at the federal level, and it’s going to probably give close to 60 percent of its votes to President Obama. It just seems like that’s too much for Scott Brown to overcome, even though he’s a very skilled politician. I would say he’s much more skilled just politically then Elizabeth Warren is.

And I think that if this were a mid-term year with no presidential race at the top of the ticket and not presidential turnout, I think Brown would win, but – much like he won that special election in early 2010. But it’s just – I just think it’s too much for Brown to overcome in a presidential year. And so I think that Warren probably will end up in the Senate. That’s where the polling tells us the race is going anyway. It may still very well be close, but it’s just hard to see how Brown gets more votes than Warren, given that he’s going to need hundreds of thousands of people to not only – to vote for him who are also voting for President Obama. It’s just – it’s a level of ticket splitting that is just kind of hard to imagine.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

MR. KONDIK: Yep.

OPERATOR: Next we’ll go to the line of David Hansen, Bloomberg BNA.

QUESTION: Yeah. I have two questions. First, for housekeeping, how do we attribute this information today?

MR. KONDIK: My name and title is Kyle Kondik. K-Y-L-E, K-O-N-D-I-K. You can either refer to me as the house editor or a political analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

QUESTION: Okay. And then also, there’s an interesting race in the House in Maryland’s 6th district involving Roscoe Bartlett. He’s a high-ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee and he might lose the seat. If he loses, who replaces him, and how will that affect the committee?

MR. KONDIK: To tell you the truth, I don’t really know. I’m kind of strictly a campaigns and elections person, so I don’t know the hierarchy in the Armed Services Committee off the top if my head. I can tell you that – and I know there’s been articles written about it, and so I’m sure you can find them on the internet, but it does sound like there are a lot of members of the Armed Services who may not be back next year. I think Todd Akin – Todd Akin’s on the House Armed Services Committee isn’t he?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. KONDIK: So Akin’s not going to be back in the House and probably won’t be in the Senate either, and so there probably will be a fair amount of turnover on that committee. And it’s also interesting, because the Armed Services Committee – I mean it’s to me – and again, this is not my level of expertise – but I think a lot of that – being on that committee is sort of like delivering basically government pork for your constituents and also your defense contractors who live – who operate in your state or district. And so you’re going to have a lot of – potentially have some Republicans go on there who are ideologically opposed to government spending and yet will be on a committee that is sort of tasked with doling out government money to your preferred interest. And so that may be kind of interesting. But I don’t have a good sense as to who – for all the vacancies that may or may not be on that committee. I think Allen West is also on that committee.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. KONDIK: I think West is actually probably going to win his race, but it’s not a slam-dunk by any means. But you could have a lot of vacancies on that committee, and it will be interesting to see who replaces them, but I don’t know who those people might be.

QUESTION: What’s your outlook for the Maryland 6th? Do you think --

MR. KONDIK: Oh, I think that Bartlett – actually I have Bartlett listed as the most endangered Republican incumbent in the entire country. Part of it is because the – I mean, the Maryland congressional map is highly, highly gerrymandered. I mean, they drew that – the Democrats in Maryland drew that map specifically to eliminate Roscoe Bartlett, and it looks like they very well may succeed.

So it looks like John Delaney, the Democratic candidate – nobody really gives Roscoe much of a chance of winning. Doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t, but I have that race rated as likely Democratic.

OPERATOR: Our final question will come from the line of Vanya Bellinger, Capital Bulgaria. Please, go ahead.

QUESTION: Hi, it’s me again. I wanted to ask you a little bit about what’s going to happen after the elections, and in particular about the future of Paul Ryan, since he’s a member of the Congress. What will happen with him in case that Romney doesn’t win?

MR. KONDIK: Well, obviously he’s either going to be Vice President or he’s going to go back to the House because he is on the ballot in Wisconsin’s 1st district, which is the district he represents, and there’s no indication that he’s going to lose. So some voters in Wisconsin – the voters in Wisconsin’s 1st district can actually vote for him twice – both for Congress and also on the Romney/Ryan ticket. I think Paul Ryan, regardless of what happens in the presidential election, is going to be a top figure on the Republican side. He’s going to be – if he remains in the House, he’s going to continue to be the Republicans leading budget spokesperson. If he becomes Vice President, I’m he will have a big role in formulating tax policy and domestic policy in a Romney Administration, and will probably be a person who’s up on the Hill a lot.

And if Romney loses, Ryan will have to be considered on the short list of potential candidates to run in 2016, because I don’t there’s been anything about his vice presidential campaign that’s been lackluster. I mean, I don’t think he’s been particularly prominent, but there was also this sense – this kind of hopeful sense among Democrats that Ryan being on the ticket would cause Republicans all sorts of problems because of the controversial Ryan budget. And it doesn’t look like that has happened, at least not in a widespread national fashion. So Paul Ryan’s going to be a major figure in American politics going forward. We just don’t know if that’s going to be in the House or as Vice President.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. KONDIK: Yep.

OPERATOR: And speakers, we have no additional questions at this time.

MR. KONDIK: Great. Hey, thanks a lot everybody.

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