Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons

Senate Dems’ campaign chief ‘welcomes’ midterm support from Clintons
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Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenNew sanctions would hurt Russia — but hurt American industry more Dems ask Mnuchin to probe Russian investment in state election tech Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans MORE (D-Md.), the chairman of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said that he “welcomes” support from former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary Ironworker and star of viral video wins Dem primary for Speaker Ryan's seat MORE and former Presidents Clinton and Obama in the November midterms.

Van Hollen, who leads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor Breakfast that he “welcomes” their involvement, but added that the DSCC stays out of those decisions, leaving them instead to individual campaigns.

“We welcome support from everyone who wants to help, including Secretary Clinton and President Obama,” Van Hollen said Thursday morning.

“What usually happens in these situations is that every campaign will decide for themselves whether they want somebody to be out on the campaign trail and I think it’s really important that we’ve got lots of individuals who offer to help candidates wherever they can be of help.

When asked specifically about Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonMcAuliffe: We should look at impeaching Trump over Putin summit What ISIS is up to during your summer vacation Kavanaugh once said president would likely have to testify before grand jury if subpoenaed: report MORE, Van Hollen replied “yes,” reiterating that he accepts any help that people want to offer this cycle.

The 2016 Democratic presidential nominee so far hasn’t played a large role in the midterms, but started to wade into a few contested gubernatorial primaries. Clinton recently endorsed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) as he faces a challenge from the left by actress Cynthia Nixon.

Clinton also threw her support behind Democrat Stacey Abrams on the eve of the Democratic primary for the Georgia governor’s race. Abrams cruised to victory, becoming the first black woman nominated for governor by a major party.

Van Hollen noted that Clinton has been "active" with her own political group "Onward Together" and wants to focus on voter outreach efforts. Her political action committee has already donated $100,000 to the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

While Clinton won't be on the ballot in November, she's still at the center of many Republican attacks ads. According to a USA Today analysis, more than 5,000 TV ads in Ohio’s GOP gubernatorial primary featured Clinton this year.

Obama has also had a more muted role in the midterms, but stumped for the Democratic gubernatorial nominees in Virginia and New Jersey last year who both went on to win their respective races. Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has stayed off the campaign trail.

With less than six months out from November, Van Hollen voiced confidence about Senate Democrats’ prospects even as they’re up against a tough map where they’re defending more than two dozen incumbents.

Ten Democratic incumbents are running for reelection in states that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE won in the 2016 election. Democrats see several opportunities to potentially flip seats in Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.

“Senate Democrats are very bullish about the 2018 elections but we know there are going to be lots of tough very competitive close races and we’re taking nothing for granted,” Van Hollen said. “The bottom line is a lot of the promises that have been made by the president and Republicans on pocketbook issues have just not materialized.”

“In January a year ago, I think we would we would not have the same degree of optimism that we do now because as ... we were talking about there’s a very difficult political map. But what we’ve seen since then is this incredible momentum and energy which is clearly you know changed people’s views of what;s going to happen in November 2018.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHill.TV poll: Majority of Republicans say Trump best represents the values of the GOP The Hill's 12:30 Report Republican strategist: Trump is 'driven by ego' MORE (R-Ky.) told The Washington Post in a recent interview that he believes the Senate is “absolutely” in play as Republicans look to defend their slim 51-seat majority.

McConnell named nine states that he thinks could determine which party controls the Senate majority. Those include six states where Trump won — Montana, North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia and Florida — as well as Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee where Republicans are on defense.