The outgoing chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee acknowledged Sunday that his party was hit by a "Category 3 political hurricane" on Election Day.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who was confident through the last poll closings on Tuesday, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that it "has been a very rough week — there's no sugarcoating that."

"You saw the convergence of a lot of events that created a perfect storm for Democrats," he said, adding, "we gave them all the support and resources they could possibly have."

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Sluggish economic recovery really killed his party at the polls, Van Hollen said.

"The American people were saying loud and clear the pace of the economic recovery is unacceptable," he said, adding that the economic stimulus saved jobs but failed to meet people's expectations "to come back on all cylinders."

"That was what the referendum is all about," he said.

Van Hollen said provisions of the healthcare bill could be up for debate in the next Congress, such as a 1099 provision that stoked particular ire. "The clear message is everybody [needs to] work together to get the economy back in full gear," he said. "...Republicans now have to share some of the responsibility for getting us out of the mess that their policies created in the first place."

Van Hollen said he supports Speaker Nancy Pelosi's bid for minority leader in the 112th Congress, saying that Tuesday's losses for Democrats, not just in Washington but in state houses across the country, were "a lot bigger than Nancy Pelosi."

In the race between Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for the minority whip position, Van Hollen said it would be a "very difficult" decision for the caucus as "both gentlemen bring an enormous amount to the job."

"We're going to look for a way that both of those members can stay in the Democratic leadership," Van Hollen said.