Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said on Sunday he was "very confident" that there would be no more defections by House Democrats to the Republican Party between now and the 2010 elections.
The Maryland Democrat, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," was referring to the announcement this past week that Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith was joining the GOP. Van Hollen laced into his former colleague, calling Griffith an opportunist who was going to have trouble surviving inside the Republican tent. He even brought, to the set, a copy of Griffith's local paper, the Huntsville Times, which accused the lawmaker of operating out of "self-preservation, not conviction."
"He got coal in his stocking" for Christmas, Van Hollen said. "The fact is, [Griffith] did a poll showing he might be in trouble. My view is he miscalculated politically."
The DCCC chair also sought to allay concerns that the Democratic Party was slated to sustain huge losses come 2010. Saying he wouldn't be happy if the Democrats were to lose 20 seats (the average loss sustained by the party in power during the midterm election of a president's first term) Van Hollen stressed that the political landscape was vastly different now then in midterms past.
"Let's put these numbers in perspective," he said. "You said there are 11 Democratic retirements [this year]. There are 12 Republicans who are not running for their seats, including people like Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill) in very competitive seats for Democrats. Number two, we're not going to be surprised like in 1994, and we've been preparing from day one. And number three, Republicans... the public [view] of the Republican Party right now [is] very, very low. And that contrasts with 1994. So is this going to be a tough year? Yeah. We're ready to fight."