DCCC chairman weighs in on 2nd District race

The head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee weighed in on Kentucky’s 2nd District race Friday, the day after state Sen. David Boswell was bumped to the top tier of Democratic candidates in this fall’s election. 

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen said in an interview with the Messenger-Inquirer that the race for the seat currently held by Republican Ron Lewis is “very much on our radar screen.”

“We think it’s one of the most competitive races in the country,” Van Hollen said by phone. “David Boswell is coming on strong. He’s got a great grassroots campaign and he’s got a great message.”

Boswell, a Sorgho Democrat, is facing Republican Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green in this year’s 2nd District congressional race, which is the first time the seat has been open since Lewis was first elected in 1994. 

The 2nd District race generated some talk during the Democratic National Convention in Denver last month, and Van Hollen said he sees some similarities between this contest and special elections districts in Louisiana and Mississippi that saw Democratic victories. 

In May, Democrat Travis Childers took the special election in Mississippi’s 1st District, which Van Hollen said is a conservative-leaning district. Childers has been described as a conservative Democrat, which is the description Boswell has used for himself. 

In the Mississippi campaign, opponents tried to link Childers to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, which has been part of the strategy for the Guthrie camp this summer. 

“It’s nonsense,” Van Hollen said. “I think people are a lot smarter than that. And they were smarter than that in Mississippi and Louisiana.”

In response to Boswell being named to the Red to Blue program, Guthrie campaign manager Brian Smith sent a statement in which he said Boswell is now “beholden to Nancy Pelosi” and “will be taking money from the most liberal donors in America as directed by Pelosi.”

Van Hollen said similar attacks on Childers didn’t stick in the Mississippi election, and he doesn’t see them gaining much traction in Kentucky’s 2nd District. 

“In David Boswell, you’ve got someone who’s a social conservative and that fits the values of this district,” Van Hollen said. “I think when people start focusing on bread and butter issues, the Democratic message in terms of the presidential race but also the congressional race will resonate more strongly.”

Read more about the Van Hollen’s take on the 2nd District race in Saturday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

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