Washington (CNN) - Rep. Chris Van Hollen predicted Thursday that the Democratic Party would have lost between 15 and 20 more House seats in the midterm election had money and resources not been diverted away from some candidates in the closing days to help bolster other endangered incumbents.
"To provide flexibility, the DCCC made some very wrenching and tough decisions regarding resource allocation," Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a five page memo to House Democrats. "While painful, these decisions ensured we had finances available to defend many members from the onslaught of outside spending in the final weeks of the election."
Full letter (pdf)
House Democrats lost at least 61 seats in this election and control of the House majority. There are five unresolved races.
Van Hollen, who is leaving the post after two terms, told his colleagues that "three major factors converged to create a political hurricane" ranging from the high unemployment rate, the onslaught of spending by Republican friendly interest groups and the number of seats Democrats needed to defend in GOP districts.
"As President Obama said, we took a shellacking in federal, state, and local races across the country," the Maryland Democrat wrote in the memo provided to CNN by a Democratic source. "It is painful to see so many of our outstanding and courageous colleagues swept away in the political wave that hit the country on Election Day."
Van Hollen said that it will be the Democratic Party's job over the next two years to work to regain control of the House and noted that "a large majority of the Republican freshman are undefined to voters."
"We have an opportunity to make the Republican Majority the shortest in history," Van Hollen said.