October 22nd, 2009
04:15 PM ET
13 years ago

First on the Ticker: Leading Democrat warns of tough midterm

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/22/art.cvanhollen.gi.jpg caption="Chris Van Hollen warned fellow Democrats that they are heading into a challenging midterm election."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen warned fellow Democrats Thursday that they are heading into a challenging midterm election, but assured them that everything is being done to head off major losses in 2010.

"Historically, we're facing a headwind this cycle with a record number of Frontline Members, a smaller playing field of challenger races, and a difficult fundraising environment," Van Hollen wrote in a six-page memo sent to House Democrats and obtained by CNN. "We've known about that challenge from the start and have been aggressively preparing for it, applying the lessons from the last two successful cycles."

Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, points to 20 Republican seats that he thinks can turn Democratic in 2010. Of those 20, Van Hollen singled out open seats in Delaware, Illinois and Pennsylvania, as well as the Louisiana seat held by GOP Rep. Joseph Cao, as "four strong pick up opportunities."

"As we discussed at the beginning of this year, after House Democrats' big wins over the past two cycles – 54 seats in some of the reddest districts in the country – our best defense this cycle is a strong offense," Van Hollen wrote.

Despite Democratic fundraising success and Van Hollen's analysis that the GOP is a damaged brand, he conceded that historical trends run against the party. "Since Abraham Lincoln's Presidency, 22 of 24 newly elected Presidents saw their party lose seats in Congress in the following midterm election," he said.

And because of the challenge facing Democrats in 2010, Van Hollen urged his colleagues to become involved in helping to preserve their majority in the House.

"We need every Member of our Caucus to pitch in," he said.

Filed under: Democrats
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Dan, TX

    I am confident that democrats will be wiped out. Barack Obama's big mouth has to be shut. There is no substance at all.

    October 22, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Dave

    The nightmare is almost over.

    October 22, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. No More Incumbents

    Isn't "Leading Democrat" an oxymoron?

    October 22, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Veefox

    An article just came out today that Nucor is skeptical about building a plant that will employ 500 people in St. James, Parish because of the Cap and Trade Bill. This is what you get when you elect a bunch of Dumbocrats that promise you the world. This downturn started when the dumbos took over the house and senate three years ago. Dumbos now control both branches of the house and the White House. WIth that, they still blame Republicans for everything. I believe the Dumbo control took place because of the war. Well, as far as I know, three years of Dumbo control and we are still at war.

    October 22, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. Ancient Texan

    Ignoring the will of the people will result in a lot of these party only, forget the Nation, idiots getting voted out of office. About time.

    October 22, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  6. Mike in MN

    Republicans might be a damaged brand yet. But conservatives are not. More voters identify as conservatives then Republicans. And fiscal conservative values is where voters are starting to trend towards. You won't find any fisical conservative values in the Democrat candidates or Obama. And like Bush hurt the Republicans, Obama will hurt the Democrats in 2010 and 2012. Republicans may be a damaged brand, but by 2010 Democrats will be equally damaged if the economy is not booming and jobs are not created and there is no real deficit reduction and the Democrats will get the blame. Obama promised he knew what to do, if he does not fix it, blaming Bush won't help. Obama will have failed to fix it and will have no crediblity that he or the Democrats know what to do.

    October 22, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. chase

    yes, dems will run into hard times with their upcoming elections and the president is not helping if he continues to climb this deficit.

    October 22, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Albo58

    Oh yes, 2010 is going to be v-e-r-y tough on the Congressional lap dogs, rubber-stamps and anyone else that chooses NOT to listen to their constituency! This Congress has been an absolute disaster for this country and people aren't going to forget it this time!

    October 22, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Brian from NJ

    Unless unemployment drops to the levels that Obama, Reid, and Pelosi promised when they passed the stimulus bills, the Democrats are going to lose a ton of seats... they oversold themselves in the middle of a recession without a complete understanding of how bad the economy really was. And with a whole bunch of unemployed people on the brink of losing their benefits (unless the Dems just pad the deficit some more and extend them) they better pray things get better soon. America, more often than not, votes with it's wallet.

    October 22, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. David Newport, OR

    I voted Democratic to end 2 useless wars. Guantanamo is still open. I see no balls just like I saw with the republicans. Neither party is worthy of leading this great country.

    October 22, 2009 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Michael

    After the 8 year failure of George W Bush and the 12 year humiliation of a Republican Congress I am going to give the Democrats more than 2 years to fix the mess created by the right wing conservative Republican party of Failure.

    October 22, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. John

    I'm surprised that Rep. Van Hollan struck such a worrisome tone this far out from an election. The Republicans are in disarray right now. You can see why if you read the comments above. You get bile and bitterness from the opposition but no substance.

    This kind of bottom-feeding attitudes are counter-productive.

    October 22, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |

    Gee, a shocker there. There is no ACORN to rig more elections. Thats why b-ditty is tryin to ram as much socialism as they can be fore 2010

    October 22, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. charlie in Maine

    I hope they are listening. I agree idialogically with the Democrats but I find as a party their circular firing spads are most troublesome. If they would get out of each other's way we could pass healthcare reform and be in the majority for a couple of generations the way they did back when the had some spine and passed Social Security, over the objections of the conservatives of their day. Which GOPers would cancel that one today? Only the worst knuckle draggers that is who.

    October 22, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Wake Up

    Quit rooting for political parties!! They do not care about us. They care about power and money. Only answer is to take away power and our money. Obama is maximizing government and taking away citizen influence and peddling it to his cronies...he's the repubs on steroids!!

    October 22, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Albert

    You don't have to be Vet to detect a Lame Horse.

    Lame Horses don't win Races.

    If you bet on Lame Horses you will not win.

    GOP = Lame Horse.

    October 22, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  17. malclave

    That's why it's imperative to support ACORN, as well as the Obama Administration's war on Fox News. Only through a coordinated effort of voter fraud and suppression of opposing speech can the Democrats continue their rule.

    October 22, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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