Andrea Mitchell   |  October 27, 2010

DCCC ad blitz targets 6 House districts

The DCCC has contributed nearly $21 million of campaign ads during the midterm elections. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., explains why Democrats are still struggling in districts one considered safe.

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>>> of dollars into defending seats once considered safe. trying to make sure that the republican wave doesn't turn into a tsunami. it is spending over $21 million to run attack ads like this one that just went up in virginia's 11th district in fairfax, county, outside washington. once thought to be safe for incumbent jerry connolly, it is now considered a tossup. even though it wasn't heavily democrat nick 2008 . with me now, chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee maryland's chris van hollen . how are you holding up?

>> just fine. if you look at many of the early returns around the country, they're coming in from vote by mail or early voting , it is very clear that the so-called energy gap is certainly not there at all in these early days . democrats are outperforming republicans in many of these early returns. so i think what is happening is as we get closer to election day , more and more voters are focusing on what's at stake and undecided voters who republicans had expected to rush against the democratic incumbents by now are actually taking a very good look at what the republicans are proposing and they don't like what they see.

>> well, although republicans put out the word yesterday that you should be careful for what you wish for, because some of those democrats were turning out early and could be democrats who are voting against you.

>> i think from the polling information it is very clear that the democrats and democratic leaning vo ining voters go into the polls and are voting for democratic candidates. voters across the country are seeing big money special interests pouring tens of millions of dollars into the races and they're connecting the dots. they're beginning to recognize that a lot of the big special interests who had their power reined in over the last 22 months are trying to get back to the days when they ran the show in washington. and the republicans have said they're going to repeal the wall street , you know, reform bills and allow wall street to run wild again at the expense of the american worker. that's the kind of thing people are beginning to see and those undecided voters , i think, will surprise people.

>> in term of campaign money, jean was on pointing out that the organized democratic committees and outside groups are spending more than the aggregate of the republicans and their outside groups. the difference is that more of the republican groups have the unspecified money and the secret money which you made such a big deal out of. you have the money, you have the buck and you're putting them now in 66 districts. what happened to save seats? you're now really defending this is your firewall. when you're out there spending money on connolly's seat in fairfax county , doesn't that say that the party is in trouble, and seats that really ought to be blue?

>> no. it does not. but you're right about the secret money. there is no doubt that the secret money is making some of these seats more competitive than they otherwise would be. that's why the people are making these investments. these are not contributions like people give to candidates. these are special interests that are trying to make an investment to buy a congress that will to their bidding. there is a huge difference between these big money special interests that are pouring money into races, and money that a candidate spends that is limited and transparent. that's what the voters don't like. they're, you know, wondering why these people are so embarrassed that they don't want to tell voters who they are and then when we do get a glimpse of who is behind them, it is very clear that they're folks who would benefit from the republican plan to privatize medicare, which the republicans voted on last year, they would benefit hugely from plans to privatize social security , a lot of the folk on wall street would do great even though it would be terrible for american seniors. so there is a clear distinction between all these big money special interests that are trying to keep their sources quiet so voters don't find out who is behind them, and the funds that are raised every day in a transparent manner.

>> congressman, let me take you to a couple of -- several of these bellwether districts that we have been looking at. first, let's talk about indiana, the ninth district, baron hill , whether you think you can hold that. i wanted to quickly take you to georgia and kentucky. baron hill , do you think you can re-elect him?

>> absolutely. baron hill has been fighting for the working people in that district for a long time. the middle class voters. and, look, he's been through this many times before. it is always competitive. and i'm confident that baron will prevail and in fact there was some public polling just today that shows him ahead.

>> and jim marshall in georgia.

>> jim marshall is another one who is, look, he always has tough races, he fights them out to the end. he has been as baron has an independent voice for that district and i think voters respect that, and they want people who are going to look at every issue on its own merits, talk to their constituents about that issue rather than the folk on the right who are just ideological purists not interested in solving problems, they're much more interested in just being a rubber stamp for the folk on the far right.

>> and ben chandler versus andy barr , another early closer. if ben chandler goes down, what will that tell you about the rest of your races?

>> win chandler is not going to go down. there are polls that indicate he's leading comfortably. but he's not taking anything at all for granted. he's fighting right through next tuesday. but, again, he's in good shape for the same reasons as the other two are.