National Republicans believe they will retake the Senate on Nov. 4. But don't call it a "wave."
Asked by reporters at a pen-and-pad briefing Thursday how confident he was that his party would gain control of the chamber, National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director Rob Collins said: "We are going to win the Senate. I feel very good about that."
Still, Collins said he would not characterize 2014 as a "wave" election, though he noted that momentum has shifted toward GOP candidates in a handful of red- and purple-state races.
"In some ways this hasn't been the wave that everyone's been looking to cover," he said. "And I know that can be frustrating. "¦ But I will say this: If you look at September, you saw Arkansas consistently move and then kind of solidify at 4-5 points. We've seen Alaska move, Iowa move, and Colorado move, Kansas move back toward us, and now we're seeing North Carolina move this weekend."
He did acknowledge, though, that races in Georgia and South Dakota—where Democrats have put in late-stage, seven-figure investments—have tightened.
"It's tightened up," he said, noting that Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn's campaign is "outspending us week to week.
"Georgia's tight; that's why you saw us put $1.4 million in."
Still, he suggested Democratic enthusiasm about the Georgia race is mostly wishful thinking in the face of difficult races elsewhere, and that it would be "tough" for Nunn to hit the 50 percent necessary to avoid a runoff.
"Candidly, we view that strategy in South Dakota and Georgia as similar to things we've done in the past where we're kind of getting to the end of the campaign, and we're a little anxious, start believing rumors and looking at polls differently and say, 'Well, why don't we put some money in here and maybe we'll shift the dynamic,'" he said. ""¦I don't want to sound like we're down and we're desperate. We're up. It's just that we want to win."
In South Dakota, where former GOP Gov. Mike Rounds is in a three-way race with Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler, Collins said the committee's $1 million investment to boost Rounds is more for insurance than out of genuine concern that the race could swing back toward Democrats.
"Mike Rounds is a three-term governor.... He's in a tight race, but we're still up 6 or 7 points," he said. "We put up a million bucks there to make sure we don't have a problem."
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Justin Barasky disputed the idea that Republicans have Senate control in the bag, saying the committee's new investments in South Dakota and Georgia are the result of its strong cash advantage rather than declining chances in other states.
"There are a lot of very close races, and we believe that we are well-positioned to hold the majority," he said.