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January 19, 2010

Maryland pols react to GOP win in Massachusetts

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland was the first Democratic leader to react to Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown's victory Tuesday night in the special election for the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat from Massachusetts.

Van Hollen, of Montgomery County, chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which faces an uphill fight to maintain the current Democratic advantage in Congress. Early forecasts about the 2010 election project a loss of 20 or more Democratic House seats in November, and some analysts have said the Democrats could lose their majority.

The Maryland Democrat attempted to shift attention away from Democratic candidate Martha Coakley's failed campaign and accusations by some Democrats that party leaders and President Barack Obama should have done more to prevent the loss of their 60th vote in the Senate.

Instead, Van Hollen zeroed in on the problems that Obama inherited when he took office a year ago after eight years of Republican President George W. Bush.

"Bush and House Republicans drove our economy into a ditch and tried to run away from the accident. President Obama and congressional Democrats have been focused [on] repairing the damage to our economy," Van Hollen said in a statement issued minutes after Brown's victory became apparent.

“Elections are about choices and this year’s midterms will be a choice between continuing the economic progress and independent leadership that House Democrats are delivering for their districts versus Republicans who are eager to turn back the clock to the same failed Bush-Cheney policies that brought our economy to the brink of collapse," the Marylander said.

But Van Hollen also conceded the obvious: that Democrats face a "very challenging election cycle" in 2010. He said his committee, the party's main House campaign arm, is "not taking anything for granted."

The DCCC "is aggressively focused on ensuring House Democrats have the resources, strategy, message, and get-out-the-vote operation necessary to win in tough districts," according to Van Hollen, who also serves as a senior adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Republican National Chairman Michael Steele said Brown's "message of lower-taxes, smaller government, and fiscal responsibility clearly resonated with independent-minded voters in Massachusetts who were looking for a solution to decades of failed Democrat leadership. There is no doubt in my mind that Scott will provide the representation and leadership they have asked for and deserve."

The former Maryland lieutenant governor, picking up on a theme he has been pushing on national TV and in press statements, repeated his demand that the Senate "move quickly to seat Senator-Elect Brown so that the people have their chosen representative in the Senate as soon as possible."

Steele and other Republicans are concerned that Democrats may use the period between the election and official certification of Brown's victory to ram health care legislation through the Senate, before the 41st vote against Obama's agenda can take his seat. Democrats have said, however, that they have no plans to do that.

Steele, associating himself with recent Republican victories that figure to boost his own reputation, said that "independent voters in Virginia, New Jersey and now Massachusetts have made their voices heard by sending a clear message that they’ve had enough of the binge spending and government-growing agenda coming from Washington – Democrats everywhere are officially on notice.”

Posted by Paul West at 9:42 PM | | Comments (9)


The first thing the White House needs to do is muzzle Ms. Pelosi. For her to declare, as she did before Brown's victory, that she would push health care through Congress regardless of what happened in Mass. is the kind of arrogant disregard for the feelings of the electorate that will only push centrist Democrats and independents around the country away from the party.

As a former Massachusetts resident, I have heard and read a variety of journalistic assertions commenting on Scott Brown's victory in the US Senate race.

Lots of prognosticators and pundits are extracting small bits and pieces of the truth to make unsupported conclusions regarding the implications of this republican victory for the nation.

I believe Mr. Brown won because he ran a better campaign. Ms. Coakley sat on her hands for too long assuming that voters would automatically choose her to represent their interests in the Senate to continue the legacy of Ted Kennedy.

She forgot that most voters in the state are registered independents and insist on thinking for themselves.

Arrogance will beat you every time personally and professionally.

Gene Roman

Van Hollen saying that the GOP ' drove our economy into a ditch and tried to run away from the accident' may not be the best analogy to use when discussing the 'Kennedy seat' senate race. are these guys completely tone-deaf, or what?

and, oh, of course, this is all about W. the voter anger is George Bush's fault, as Howard Dean said tonight.

keep it up Dems. full steam ahead! see you in November!!

"House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) on Tuesday said that angst voters have expressed early this election year is the result of GOP obstructionism, not the Democrats agenda."

Talk about out of touch? Talk about not having a clue? Talk about denial?

If this tool was right, would Brown be winning in Mass? Would Virginia and NJ governor seats gone to R's?

Hey Marylanders who are "represented" by this idiot, PLEASE vote him out in November.

Maryland deserves better than Van Hollen. He's nothing more than a political carpetbagger - heck, he was raised outside of the US!

He's not bright; does he really want to discuss the election filling Kennedy's seat with discussion of running cars off the road? Hello, Chappaquiddick!

Blaming Bush is also stupid - Obama and the Dems own this economy now, in which we are all wallowing.

This should be a wake-up for our senators to remember who they were elected to represent and to stop being bobbleheads for Reid and Obama. If Massachusetts can elect a non-Democrat so can Maryland.

Van Hollen needs to quit using scare tactics and needs to quit blaming Bush.

I hope that the people of Maryland boot out everypone that is currently in office, We need to clean house. the current leadership is so out of touch with the people and have their own adgendas. Marylanders need to unite and kick them out

As President you did inherit an abyss of an economy but as Truman said "The buck stops here!"
Stop making excuses Barack..
I did vote for you but you are in the hot seat now.
As President the buck stops with you Mr. Obama..
Same goes for Governor OweMalley.
He is been in office now for three plus years and he still blames Ehrlich for everything.
Stop making excuses you lost liberals and right this ship.
Because if you liberal Dems dont, we the people will.
Run Ehrlich run.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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