Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.), chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, said yesterday that the GOP would lose none of its incumbents and would pick up two or three Democratic seats in the Nov. 2 election.
Citing ongoing polls taken by his committee, Packwood said every GOP incumbent on the ballot but one is "at least 15 points ahead" in his race. The lone exception, he said, is Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. (R-Conn.), who, he said, has a 5-point margin over Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.).
Packwood denied reports that Sens. Harrison H. Schmitt of New Mexico, John C. Danforth of Missouri and David F. Durenberger of Minnesota are in close races.
He said San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson (R) has a 10-point lead over California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. (D) in the California Senate race and said Rep. Millicent Fenwick (R-N.J.) was further ahead in the battle for the open New Jersey seat.
Packwood said challenger Larry Williams (R) was leading Sen. John Melcher (D-Mont.) by 6 points, and there was a potential for other Republican pickups in Virginia, Nevada, Mississippi and Ohio. Leon Billings, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called Packwood's claims "bully pulpit politics" and said the forecast seemed to be aimed mainly at raising money.
"They're seeing their dollars dry up because their candidates are doing so poorly," Billings said.