Van Hollen: ‘Democrats are not going to lose the House’

Democrats won’t lose control of the House in this fall’s midterm elections, their campaign chief said Monday.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), dismissed Republican hopes of a takeover, as well as a White House acknowledgement this weekend that such a scenario was possible. 

“Democrats are not going to lose the House; the answer’s ‘no,’” Van Hollen said Monday during an appearance on MSNBC.

Van Hollen said he was unsurprised by what White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said on Sunday, when the Obama administration official said there was “no doubt” that enough seats were in play for Republicans to win back control of the House or Senate. 

Democratic sources said that Gibbs’s acknowledgement was in line with their election year messaging, which focuses on warning voters of what Democrats fear would be the negative consequences of GOP control. 

“I was not surprised he said that,” Van Hollen explained. “What he said was there are a lot of seats out there, and it’s a dogfight out there.”

The expectation-setting came as the second-ranking House Republican, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), predicted the GOP would win back control of the House.

Van Hollen said that such a threat has provided Democrats an opportunity to highlight what GOP rule would mean for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, healthcare reform and other issues.

“What this debate does is focus the voters on the choice they have,” he said. “Their goal is to stop the Obama agenda in its tracks. ... They have told us what they’re going to do.”