Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, defended the DCCC's strategic approach and argued that the midterm results could have been even worse without the committee's efforts.
"There is no sugar coating the election results," Van Hollen wrote in an internal memo Thursday, which was obtained by The Hill. "As President Obama said, we took a shellacking in federal, state, and local races across the county."
Democrats absorbed historic losses in 2010 as Republicans took at least 60 seats and regained the House majority. That number is likely to grow as Republican challengers are clinging to leads in several close Congressional races that are yet to be called.
The Maryland Democrat argued that big losses were ultimately unavoidable, noting that a tough playing field, high unemployment and heavy spending from outside groups "converged to create a political hurricane."
"We do take some solace in the fact that Members and independent political analysts have uniformly said that the DCCC did everything it could to prepare for and wage tough campaigns," Van Hollen wrote. "Indeed, while it may be small consolation given the magnitude of the losses, a review of the results finds that were it not for the efforts of our candidates and the DCCC, it could have been even worse."
Van Hollen credited the committee's strong fundraising and extensive field program with making a difference in several close races including those of Democratic Reps. Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.), Larry Kissell (N.C.), Jim Himes (Conn.), Mark Critz (Pa.), Sanford Bishop (Ga.) and Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyHow lawmakers aided the Afghan evacuation Overnight Defense & National Security — Congress begins Afghanistan grilling Connolly rips Wilson over 'you lie' during Blinken hearing MORE (Va.).
"To provide flexibility, the DCCC made some very wrenching and tough decisions regarding resource allocation," Van Hollen wrote. "While painful, these decisions ensured we had finances available to defend many Members from the onslaught of outside spending in the final weeks of the election."
In the final weeks of the campaign, the DCCC pulled resources from several Democratic incumbents in seats the committee decided were beyond saving. Van Hollen credited the late spending decisions with saving an addition 15-20 Democratic seats.