The Blue Pages

. . . rantings from a young Democrat inside the beltway and outside the loop

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Van Holla

Progressive wonder-boy Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), whom I campaigned for as a volunteer in 2002 and am now represented by since I moved to Bethesda, was just named head of the DCCC, or the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He is succeeding Rahm Emmanuel (D-IL), whom he worked with as a DCCC deputy during this past cycle.

Here's the story. And here's a picture of him in the lunch room at my high school which for some reason the administration called the SAC. (The lunchroom was called the SAC--not the high school, which was called Montgomery Blair).

For those who don't know, the DCCC chair is the Democratic member of the House that is responsible for allocating funds and candidate recruitment in Congress. An ineffective chair may produce a nationwide slate of weak candidates. This cycle, Democrats put up very strong candidates and were able to win 30 House seats, largely because the candidates were particularly strong, and because of smart strategic decisions regarding resource allocation.

So, this is very cool. Van Hollen won two tough elections as an underdog in 2002. He beat the heavily favored Mark Shriver (of Kennedy fame) in the primary by organizing a strong grassroots base, and he then beat multi-term Republican incumbent Connie Morella in the general by taking advantage of a gerrymandered district (hey, its true.) He fits the bill well--he is very polished, he's intelligent, and he knows how to win tough races against strong candidates, which is just what you need in a DCCC chair if you want to win races.

Van Hollen may have a bigger challenge than Rahm had, because Rahm had the benefit of only having to play any kind of defense at all on 3 seats (which he successfully defended). However, Republicans are already targeting many of the seats they lost which are in reliably Republican areas, specifically the former seats of DeLay, Foley, Pombo, and whoever lost in Kansas. And of course, the political environment will be tough to be predict, but its hard to imagine Van Hollen could have a better environment to run Democrats in than Rahm had.

So with Maryland natives Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Chris Van Hollen rising to power this electoral cycle, we may be seeing a lot more Old Bay in the House cafeteria (which is still the only thing that I associate with Maryland, despite living here my whole life.) Van Holla!


  • At 7:23 PM, Anonymous KELLYq said…

    Remember how we thought it was funny for like two weeks when there would be a "meeting in the SAC?" still makes me chuckle.

    Also, did you notice our principal's last name was Gainous? I didn't realize how hilarious that was until lauren pointed it out to me.

    also holla


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