February 13th, 2009
04:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Are Dems in trouble in 2010, or not?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/13/art.vanhollen.gi.jpg caption="Van Hollen, left, and Menendez head the DCCC and the DSCC respectively."](CNN) - They’re on the same team, but the House and Senate Democratic campaign chiefs appear to be looking at different playing fields when it comes to the political environment their party will face in 2010.

A day after Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez predicted big Democratic gains in two years, his counterpart in the House said he doesn't expect the party will see a "third wave" and would be happy just to "hold the line."

“If you look at first midterm elections historically, the president’s party loses seats,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, said at a forum in Washington in remarks reported by Politico.

“The historical trend is pretty clear for Democrats,” he concluded.

The president's party has historically lost seats in a midterm election, especially when that party controls both houses of Congress and the White House. The Democratic Party’s decades-long majority status in Congress ended with the first midterm of the Clinton presidency.

But speaking to reporters Thursday, Menendez discounted that trend, and said he was targeting nine currently held GOP seats, and had an excellent shot at winning many of them given the fact several Republican senators are retiring.

But ultimately, Van Hollen predicted, the fortunes of the Democratic Party will depend on how the country's flagging economy performs over the next two years.

“The political challenge will be if the economy doesn’t turn the corner, and trying to explain that,” Van Hollen said.

Filed under: House • Senate
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. change in America

    It the republican should be worry because we going to vote them out the office no more republican in the white house

    February 13, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. TjayeInLA


    February 13, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Griff

    They are in "Big Trouble", period! One an Election with no Idea of Direction... Just Dreams of a Better Land. Don't we all want this? But not by Gambling Cash, you do not have.. The more you Gamble: The less investment you get... Your Horse is Sick..

    February 13, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. kelly WI

    having this worthless spending bill shoved up our behind will be remembered in 2010

    February 13, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Tesap:Savannah, GA


    February 13, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Had It

    The way the Republicans have shown their butts, I don't think the Dems have as many worries as you CNN people think - or try to make us believe.

    February 13, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  7. vic nashville,Tn

    Big trouble

    February 13, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Bruce

    American politics has gone in cycles from the very beginning. The Democrats just had a "1994" of their own, and will be in power for a while, though they will lose some of their seats in the off-year election, even if President Obama remains popular.

    There in an innate drive in the electorate to call for "balance," and voters will not allow a one-party dominance to continue, whether it is Democratic or Republican.

    By 2014 there will be a slight Republican majority in the senate, and a 55% Democratic majority in the house, if trends continue as they have for the last 70 years.

    The Democrats have peaked in power. That's not opinion or wishful thinking on my part. It's demographics.

    February 13, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Still Waiting for the Politics of Hope

    Am I the only one who thinks it's time for a viable THIRD party?

    February 13, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Diana NJ

    Not if the GOP just keep standing in the way to get things done to help the American people

    February 13, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Ariana

    Oh puleeze. Nobody's in bigger trouble than the Republicans. After all, LIMBAUGH and PALIN are their leaders. LOL!

    February 13, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. mike


    February 13, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. Southern Illiosian

    I hate the bickering about who's better, Dems or Repub's.
    This is our future that you are dealing with.
    Mr. and Mrs. Politican lets get it right...

    February 13, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  14. Tracy M.

    Just another example of people who are looking to borrow trouble. It's like me asking, "Can I make my bills in October 2010?" Not worried about that right now. March is what I'm worried about. Sheesh. A lot can happen between now and then, and nobody - nobody - can tell us what it will be. Just keep your kids close, your roof tight, your garden growing. . . yeah, it sounds simple. Try it.

    February 13, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. An American

    Yep, Yep and Yep. I think a viable third party would be an excellent idea.

    February 13, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. Zach Pruckowski

    Well, there's a pretty straightforward answer to the difference between projected breakdowns in the House and Senate elections. All representatives stand for re-election in the House, while only a third of the Senate does. If you look at which third of the Senate is up for grabs, you'll see that of the 35 elections (including special elections for Clinton and Biden), 20+ of them are in seats held by Republicans, and 5 of those seats have a retiring incumbent. This means that Democrats are playing more offense this cycle (in contrast to defense in 2012/2014, when they defend their 2006/2008 wins).

    On the House side, you have a lot of newly elected Representatives who rode a Democratic "anti-Bush" wave in 2006 and/or Barack Obama's landslide. They are running for re-election (which is easier), but they don't have the external Democratic wave with them this time. For some of the new Representatives in "red districts", this is going to be a challenge. Additionally, after the last 2 cycles of Democratic gains, there aren't a lot of districts that lean Democratic but have a Republican congressperson, so there are fewer offensive targets.

    February 13, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. NW


    February 13, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. RJ

    If Pelosi and Reid don't get their collective heads out of their rears, I say yep.
    The Dems own internal fighting will be their downfall.

    February 13, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. stillsupportspresident

    Well...Americans have battered wives syndrome. Abused for eight years and when someone new comes along trying to make things better, we want to go back to what is bad, because...well it's familiar. The main complaint of the Limbaughs and Coulters of the world was that they do not "know" Barack Obama. They want what is familiar even if it does not work. After everything we have been through, people still want top down tax cuts after it has proven to fail. People like familiar and wrong more than new and right. New is scary. If people keep living that way, then Republicans, who are looking pretty pathetic right now with radio hosts as their leader and not any thinkers or scholars, will be back in office obstructing any change from occurring, bolstering egos and the price paid will be by regular Americans, not any politicians, whether Democrat or Republican.

    February 13, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Walter

    In my opinion, both main parties are corrupt. Even if we do get a viable thrid party into office in the future, it too will end up corrupt.

    February 13, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Deb

    Absolutely Note.....The repubs are as good as gone

    February 13, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Baaaa... Baaaa... Baaaa ......

    I think ALL pol's, repub and dim both are in trouble. We the people have just about had it with everyone of them.

    February 13, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. john

    ya right, I woul;d suppose if all hell and total blocking comes from the republican /evangelical party of course the dems will tKE THE BLAme ITS IMPOSSIBLE FOE GODS OWN ARMY TO EVER BE OFF JUST LOOK AT THE LAST 8 YEARS HAHAH

    February 13, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Jon in CA


    Demcrats have failed ideas. The public just needs to be reminded of this fact every 8-12 years (LBJ '69, Carter '76, Lewinski '00, Obama '08).

    February 13, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Debi

    With all the republicans not seeking reelection, it seems to me the republicans are the ones in trouble in 2010.

    Yes, it is time for a viable third party. Problem with third parties: no money.

    February 13, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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