Spinning Democratic Optimism for 2010 on the Front Page

Democrat Mark Critz's surprisingly easy victory to fill the House seat of late Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha merited a front-page story analysis on Thursday by Carl Hulse: "House Victory Lifts Democrats' Hopes for Fall."

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday seized on their special election victory in a Pennsylvania House district and other primary results as evidence that they can stem Republican political momentum, as both parties sifted through Tuesday night's returns for lessons to learn and mistakes to avoid heading to November.

Hulse, who has shown sympathy to the plight of Democrats in previous reporting, used the results of one special election to portray Democrats as vindicated and hopeful for 2010:

After hearing for months that they were on the verge of losing control of the House, Democrats said the decisive victory by Mark Critz, a Democrat, in the blue-collar district formerly represented by the late John P. Murtha, showed they remain competitive in the kinds of hotly contested regions Republicans need to win to have a real chance of capturing the House.

"We are going to maintain our majority," Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the majority leader, said. "Obviously the president's party historically loses seats, but we are going to lose a lot fewer than people think."

Chastened Republicans conceded that they had made some missteps in the race and said they would make course corrections as they tried to capture Democratic swing districts, many of which have close parallels to the one retained by Democrats on Tuesday.

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