Wasserman Schultz: Not Worried

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Sept. 4, 2012.

Photograph by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat from Florida, at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte on Sept. 4, 2012.

Republican Tom Tillis’ victory in the North Carolina Senate primary election yesterday was largely seen as a victory for the Republican establishment and, therefore, a setback for Democrats.

But there’s no difference anymore for Republicans, says Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a veteran House lawmaker from Florida and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

“The Tea Party has won the civil war that has been raging inside the Republican Party,” Wasserman Schultz said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in Washington this morning. “Tom Tillis is no longer — if he ever was — an establishment candidate. He has been dramatically pulled to the right.”

Wasserman Schultz said Tillis “gleefully engaged” in “extreme right-wing policies” as state House speaker, suggesting those positions will hurt him in a general election race against incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan.

Democrats should be excited heading into the midterms, despite polling that shows voters favor Republicans, the chair says.

“I don’t discount the mood,” she said. “That is quite likely the mood at the time the question was asked,” adding that it’s “not necessarily an accurate reflection … of what a midterm will look like.”

“We have a map that we have been expanding over the last couple of election cycles, while Republicans’ map has been shrinking,” she said.

While Republicans have focused on blaming Democrats for the Affordable Health Care Act’s problems, that strategy is fading, Wasserman Schultz said.

The House committee that Republican leaders have created to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi serves as evidence that interest in Obamacare “has lost its luster” within the party, the suggests.

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