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Van Hollen victory shaped by careful tending of the homefolks

Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen
Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen
Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen
Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen

Chris Van Hollen’s victory party last night took on a festive glow long before positive results were more than just exit polls and wishful thinking. It might well be called a moment of affirmation after a bruising campaign. 

The Democratic race for Barbara Mikulski’s Senate seat had long been defined as a choice between the symbolic draw of replacing her with an African-American woman who has a compelling personal story--or choosing a white male with a far more impressive record. Thanks to what appeared to be a very strong turnout in VanHollen’scongressional district, his record overcame the lure of picking Donna Edwards to bolster the slim ranks of Senate women.

He promised supporters at an election night rally he would followMikulski’sexample of fighting forMarylanders.

“She understood that the job of a Maryland senator was, yes, to engage in the big battles at the national level,” VanHollensaid. “But she also understood you never forget the people back home in our neighborhoods and communities and deliver results on the ground.”

DianeBongiorni, a former constituent of VanHollen’sin Montgomery county, offered a story last night that was typical of many such tributes he received during this campaign.

“Two years ago when the MarylandObamacarerollout was so horrible, I was actually very ill and needed an operation and I could not get my health insurance,” she recalled. “And I called Chris VanHollen’soffice.”

She said a VanHollenaide bullied the Maryland people into giving her health insurance just in time for her to have open heart surgery.

But then she moved into Edwards’ Prince George’s County district. And now when she calls Edwards' office for service “nobody even returns my call.”

AsMikulskiproved, sometimes it’s the small gestures that are the most appreciated.

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