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Kaine Says House Democrats Face Uphill Fight

Tim Craig

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said last night he thinks there is a 40 percent chance his party will pick up the six seats needed this fall to retake control of the House of Delegates.

In a wide ranging interview with Washington Post editors and reporters, Kaine conceded Democrats face an uphill task this year to retake the House but said the odds are not daunting enough to dissuade him from taking on the challenge. Kaine noted, at this stage of the 2007 cycle, few would have predicted Democrats would have been able to retake the state Senate. Democrats retook the Senate that year after they picked up four seats.

"What are the chances on the House side that we are going to win? I would say maybe 40 percent," Kaine said. "But that is a good enough percentage to say 'lets go after it and who knows, we might get a break or two with retirements. We might get a break or two in a primary'."

In order to the take the House, Virginia Democrats would likely have to win at least two of the three GOP-held House seats in Fairfax County, make gains in Hampton Roads and pull off one or two upsets in conservative southern Virginia. But House Republicans are vowing they will be on offensive this year and plan to work hard to try unseat several Democratic incumbents, including two newly Democratic delegates in Hampton Roads.

Kaine is more optimistic that Democrats can win this year's governor's race, but he expects a heated primary that may result in him playing the role of peacemaker.

By Tim Craig  |  February 26, 2009; 1:46 PM ET
Categories:  Election 2009 , General Assembly 2009 , Tim Craig , Timothy M. Kaine  
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