In Red to Blue: Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Grassroots Politics, author Sanford Gottlieb tells the story of Chris Van Hollen’s successful grassroots campaign for Congress in 2002, and the lessons Van Hollen, and others, took away from that campaign in subsequent election cycles.
Van Hollen’s district
Van Hollen has brought this experience to bear in his subsequent work at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). And he was not the only one to go to school on that 2002 campaign. As Gottlieb puts it:
David Axelrod told Van Hollen in 2008 that he had learned some lessons from being on the other side of the 2002 primary. It was a really good grassroots campaign, Axelrod said, with the passion on Van Hollen’s side. Van Hollen carried the lessons learned in 2002 into the successful effort to build a House Democratic majority in 2006. Axelrod and David Plouffe may have applied those lessons in the 2008 50-state race for the White House. (Gottlieb, Red to Blue, 32)
Last week Van Hollen appeared with Gottlieb at a book event in Washington, DC and talked about his attempt to apply those lessons learned to his work with the DCCC. Van Hollen’s introductory remarks, plus the question and answer session that followed, are presented below.