Top Senate Dem tempers expectations for retaking majority

Top Senate Dem tempers expectations for retaking majority
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenBiden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Lobbying world Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (D-Md.) said Sunday that Democrats maintain a "very narrow path" to retake the majority in the Senate, but conceded the party faces a difficult political map in Tuesday's midterms.

"This is the toughest political map any one party has faced in 60 years," Van Hollen, who chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."

"We do have a path, it is a very narrow path ... but the fact that we’re as competitive as we are is a real testament to our senators and our candidates," he added.


Pressed on whether Democrats are going to take the Senate back, Van Hollen said the early vote totals are encouraging, but there are "too many close races" to say definitively what will happen.

Twenty-six Democratic senators are up for re-election on Tuesday, compared to just nine Republican senators. Of the 26 Democrats, 10 are running in states President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE won in 2016.

Van Hollen pointed to Nevada, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas as states where Democrats could pick up seats to secure a majority. The nonpartisan Cook Political report rates each of those races as "toss-ups."

The Maryland senator said Democrats are making gains as they continue to focus on health care and issues important to voters in individual states. He argued that Trump's focus on immigration, meanwhile, has been ineffective.

"I don’t think it’s working because what the president’s doing is driving away independent voters, and swing voters and a lot of moderate Republican voters in swing states," Van Hollen said.

Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, meaning Democrats must pick up two seats to gain the majority. Democrats must gain 23 seats in the House to retake the majority there.