Republican Congressman Tom Davis says the political atmosphere for his party is the "worst since Watergate" and "far more toxic" than the fall of 2006 when they lost 30 seats.
The Virginia lawmaker used the language in a memo he wrote to party leaders after the GOP lost a House seat in a special election Wednesday in Mississippi. It was the third straight loss in once-friendly territory.
Conservative Mississippi Democrat Travis Childers defeated Republican Greg Davis even as attempts were made to use controversial statements by Barack Obama's former pastor against him. That seat had been in Republican hands since the 1994 landslide that swept the GOP into power.
Republican House leader John Boehner says the party "clearly" has to do a better job heading into the November elections.