By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers
The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, while acknowledging the challenging political climate in advance of the 2010 midterm elections, declared today that the Democrats won't lose control of the chamber like they did in 1994. "This will not be another 1994," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. While he has 49 members on a special watch list, he said that the upcoming election and the 1994 shocker have three "significant differences."
First, he said, unlike in 1994, there are not a lot of Democrats retiring from the House, opening their seats to a new member. Second, he said, the Democrats "have stayed on offense" in this election period. And third, he said that the "Republican brand is at an all-time low," doing even worse in polls than when George W. Bush was president.
Still, Van Hollen said, the 2010 is "going to be a tough, very competitive election." He suggested that if any of his members were sleeping on the job, they aren't after the summer's town hall meetings, some of which turned ugly as opponents of healthcare and government bailouts vented. "The spectacle of these town hall meetings was a wake-up call," he said. He added that the grass-roots base has rallied as a result, donating record amounts in small-dollar checks.