The head of the National Republican Congressional Committee is feeling bullish that New York will help the GOP keep and perhaps expand its majority in the House this fall.

“New York, interestingly enough, especially in an off year for Republicans, holds great promise for some pickups,” Rep. Greg Walden said at an event Tuesday at the National Press Club.

Walden seems most excited about regaining the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Owens, who first won during a 2009 special election marked by nasty GOP infighting. Though Walden said the NRCC isn’t getting involved in the GOP primary between Elise Stefanik and Matt Doheny, he did point out the institutional support Stefanik has already accumulated.

“Elise is very poised, has experience and roots in the district as well – got out early, has a lot of endorsements,” Walden said. “They’re going to sort that out,” referring to Republican primary voters.

The GOP may have reason to feel optimistic about the seat. Aaron Woolf, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s pick, used to split his time between the district and New York City and until very recently had never been to Watertown. Woolf is now facing a primary challenge from Steven Burke.

“The Democrats’ recruit is from Brooklyn,” Walden said, referring to Woolf. “That’s a ways. My district is big, but Brooklyn to Watertown is a long way apart.”

Other Democratic seats Walden has his eye on include Rep. Tim Bishop’s, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s and Rep. Dan Maffei’s.

Initially, Walden did not mention Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who is facing a rematch against Nan Hayworth, but he said not to read into that.

“No one will outwork Nan Hayworth,” Walden insisted.