April 8th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
12 years ago

DCCC chair warns negative presidential race could do damage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/08/art.vanhollen.gi.jpg caption="Van Hollen is chairman of the DCCC."](CNN) - The top Democrat charged with helping his party maintain control of the House in 2008 warned Tuesday congressional candidates could suffer if the Democratic presidential race turns overly negative.

Speaking at a press briefing with reporters, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen predicted the Democrats will pick up House seats in November, but said the ongoing contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains a "variable."

"We've seen the energy and excitement in the early Democratic primaries, and the only thing that could hurt or cut back on that is if the Democratic primary gets so divisive that it's difficult to patch it up and heal the wounds in time to be together in November," said Van Hollen, who has not endorsed either candidate.

"We need to make sure that both candidates stay positive so you don't leave lasting wounds that will depress in anyway that kind of energy and enthusiasm," he added. "I don't think we are at that point. I do think there is a danger of reaching that point."

At the same briefing, Clinton backer and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer sounded a less dire tone, saying the hotly-contested race will benefit the party come November.

“Each is getting to refine their message and battle test their campaigns in this primary," he said. "I don't think any damaging blows have been landed by one or the other, and damaging to the general election, and I think both are very strong candidates."

Filed under: DCCC • DSCC
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. nina

    My biggest fear in America is for the Democratic Party to nominate a clueless man like Obama, we are going to be more racially divided under an Obama.

    April 8, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. andre' wilson

    have anyone ask Obama about his solutions for change because i'm seeing the same old politicians on his side and see no new blood or up and comings besides himself? what's knew in his policies he has been saying on the trail i don't follow the man(i'm a hillary supporter ) but would love to debate his change policies with any obama supporter.. for example his healthcare plan is nothing different then john kerry's (i know because i supported kerry) atleast we're trying something like an universal mandated plan (in which every expert says it's the only way all can be covered . ? )lets debate not perpetrate stay on the issues and we all would be fine...

    April 8, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. Tim from PA

    We can only thank Hillary Clinton for destroying the democratic party. She'll be remembered for that.

    April 8, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |

    As an Obama supporter, I will happily vote for either one come November

    Don't let the republicans fool you into being hateful!

    Democratic Party '08

    April 8, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. sharon

    I am a Canadian and I do not want to interfere with your politics. Just an observation – reading many different blogs – the Hillary camp is far more viscious than the Obama camp. I cannot believe the number of them that say they would vote for John McCain if Obama wins.. ....its really beyond comprehension. Vancouver, Canada

    April 8, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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