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ABC7/NewsChannel 8 Town Hall examines reasons behind likely GOP Senate takeover in midterm elections

Town Hall panelists dicuss the shift in power that's likely to occur in the midterm elections. (NewsChannel 8 photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) – There are a litany of reasons why recent polling shows Republicans likely taking control of the U.S. Senate next Tuesday night, and rhetoric from GOP candidates and operatives fuels quite the clear narrative – sometimes listing toward the loony, notwithstanding.

Namely, this midterm campaign is about the man sitting in the Oval Office.

And what with President Barack Obama’s relatively low approval ratings, declaring this-is-a-referendum-on-the-president’s-policies election is the rallying cry.

Again, that’s the overwhelming narrative.

But is it a correct narrative?

In some respects, sure. But that certainly isn’t the complete picture. A trend may be a trend, and there’s a reason it’s a trend, but some of the races offer a broader look at an aging GOP electorate combined with a somewhat disengaged and not-inclined-to vote sector on the other side that includes minorities and the youth vote.

That was the vibe Thursday during the election special “Your Voice. Your Future. Town Hall Roundtable,” on ABC7’s NewsChannel 8.

On the panel were Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), former Republican congressman Tom Davis (Va.), political reporters Sean Sullivan (Washington Post) and Steve Dinan (Washington Times), as well as host Scott Thuman.

They chuckled about quirky races, gently debated about close ones but to a man didn’t disagree with this week’s Washington Post-ABC News poll that showed a majority of Americans are dismayed by the government’s actions on issued ranging from Ebola to the Islamic State to the economy, and Congress in general.

Read: the tide favors a GOP-controlled Senate.

“I’m not sure it makes a whole lot of difference, though,” said the retiring Moran, who has served the 8th District since 1991. “Republicans are not going to have enough of a majority to end the filibuster, so I think basically the Senate is going to continue to be a stand-still in terms of getting any real legislation passed.”

In other words, continued gridlock that’s advantageous for neither party but with the GOP knowing how it reacts if it does indeed control both the House and the Senate will loom large in the 2016 presidential election.

That’s where Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential White House candidate enters the debate, as he often does with typically devilish rhetoric.

Thuman pointed out that Rand recently said: “The Republican Party brand sucks.”

Davis, who served as a relatively moderate Republican for the 11th District from 1995-2008 and often has disagreed with certain tactics of the Tea Party, replied in blunt, matter-of-fact fashion.

“Well, they’re not going get elected on who they are, they’re going to get elected because of who they aren’t,” Davis said. “And right now they’re not the incumbent party in the White House, and that’s what the midterm is going to be about.”

Narratively speaking, that is.

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