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. mD

    I agree with the need for a third party. We need someone to balance out the Dem-Rep bologna... to bring a little SENSE into the White House.

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

    2010? Shoot, the Republicans are going to losing seats for years to come.

    Look at the demographic trends. It's only just begun.

    February 13, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. chris from stl.

    No way ... my guess is that they would pickup 4 more seats in the senate and 16 more in the house!!!

    February 13, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. no corporate politics

    to Still Waiting: You are SOOOO right! We have been long overdue for serious interest in a 3rd party.

    The RepubDemIcanOcrats have had free reign too long. For all Obama's bluster about Change, why is insider politics as usual still the order of the day? After taking BIG money from banks, etc. obama is not about to change anything important.

    Start voting for 3rd parties NOW locally. I am writing my local government to change 2 party centric laws we have around here.

    February 13, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. mark

    Buyer's remorse will hit the Dems in 2010. Anything to retire Pelosi!

    February 13, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Chris from Va. Beach


    February 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Angie in Pa

    NO Way the Republicans on the other hand NEED TO WORRY!

    February 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Eyes of Texas are Upon You

    Oh yes, they sure will be. Can't wait to see that. NOBAMA, Queen Pelosi and Prince Reid will cause the dems to fall!

    February 13, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. jim hall

    I think that the country has got to give this new president some slack an lets just wait an see what happens between now an 2010 before we start deingreating the new president an his staff an his party surely they can't do any worst that the previous president an his party have done over the previous eight years . an considerinng that they are the ones that have driven the economic car off of a cliff an not just into a ditch. I f it had been just a ditch we in all likelyhood would be starting to come out of it by now ecomonicaly. the ecomony has gone off of a cliff.. the republican need to get over the fact that they lost this past november election an try a little bypartisanship an work with the new president for the betterment of the entire country. thank you beach bum-1

    February 13, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. LIP

    After the lousy Congressional approval rating of something like 26% or maybe lower, and the Democratic control for the last two years of Bush's presidency, I just figured there would be a backlash during this last election and was surprised there wasn't.
    After this stimulus bill and the truth comes out about the roll that Nancy and Chris and Barney played in the crash of our economy, I'm betting that something will happen in 2010 and it will put a smile back on the faces of the Republicans.
    Your turn Sniffit/Stuffit

    February 13, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. joe six pack

    What a bunch of...

    Compare the Democratic majorities in the House with the Senate. Of course Van Hollen sees things differently. The Dem majority in the House is so large that they are almost to the point the only direction is down. On the other hand, Dems still have big opportunities in the Senate.

    February 13, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. lovable liberal

    They have different goals. There's a strong working majority in the House for the Dems even with the Blue Dogs.

    In the Senate, given Harry Reid's willingness to let the Republicans filibuster anything without suffering from the bad PR, the Democrats need more Senators, and 2010 looks like a good time to get them.

    February 13, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Mike in Houston

    Let's see: The Obama / Pelosi / Reid spending bill will be inflationary, crowd out credit and weaken the currency. Unemployment will continue to rise. America is getting ready to fully commit to a war in Afganistan without any timeline to get out (per Obama). I would say that the Democrats are in trouble already. They will certainly lose the House in 2010, and a good probability that they will lose the Senate as well.

    February 13, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Cecilia

    You know what – if all of you idiots in Washington would just stop thinking about yourselves and the next election – then maybe – just maybe somthing beneficial could be accomplished to get America back on track.
    I am sick to death of all the posturing political bull and I believe most Americans are also.
    Here is a thought – why not try acting like adults with a common interest and stop being so dang selfish.
    The party is over boys and we are in deep stuff – if there are any adults in Washington would you please step forward

    February 13, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. S Callahan

    I think that what the next election will be looking at is a 'clean sweep' of long term politicans.....the air seems to flow that the long term politicans went from constituents interest to personal interest.
    It won't be a 'party' thing but a clean up of both the Senate and Congressional offices. The public now knows they hold the power in their vote and take it very seriously after years of apathy. Lesson learned.

    February 13, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. kayla


    February 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    One person says "the Dems will make gains,"

    the other says "the Dems will maintain the same numbers"

    and the question CNN asks is "are the Dems in trouble in 2010"???

    Does nobody else see how ridiculous that is?

    February 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Dutch/Hampton Roads, VA

    No because everyone is sick of republicans. I wish the republican party no longer existed. They need to be a divided party...Conservatives, Extreme Right-Wingers & Neo-Conservatives. If the party was broken down this way, they will never win an election.

    February 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. MysteriousTraveller


    But thanks for playing.

    February 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Willy Brown

    Yep the pork bill is just the tip of the iceberg. Bye bye Harry, Nancy, Barney, Dennis and #44 will only be in office one term. He will lose in a landslide election.

    February 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Erik S.

    Please, you people who say no aren't paying attention. With Congress' numbers in the toilet and Pelosi going on far left crazy you can bet there is going to be a shift to the right again. I

    February 13, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. johnny

    LOL! Not at ALL.

    February 13, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. obama-mama

    Not at all.

    February 13, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Dave

    The goofy two party system is too easy to predict. It goes in cycles and the Dems will give way to the GOP again. The majority in power gets all fat and happy then they get voted out. And we argue and talk about the same things they all said they would change but we are still talking about the same things. The real power running this country from the shadows just laughs and has a good time with this.

    February 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Eli

    2010's not a given, but it's the Dem's fight to lose.

    Aside: In the pic above, does CVH look just a little too much like Terry McAuliffe?

    February 13, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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