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New Tiger at the Helm of DCCC

Speaker-elect Pelosi has had her share of controversial appointments during the last month. But her choice for the new head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD), is drawing plaudits from donkeys of all shades. Naturally, WaPo has the best story on the Van Hollen appointment, since his congressional district borders on the capitol. As Ann E. Marimow reports:

Emanuel, who will chair the Democratic Caucus, praised his successor yesterday as a "political strategist and thinker of the first order" and said Van Hollen's recruitment of House candidates helped create the first Democratic majority elected in 12 years.

"Throughout this election, I sought his advice and counsel in every critical decision I had to make," Emanuel said in a statement.

Van Hollen knows something about how to beat popular Republican incumbents, having defeated well-liked Rep. Connie Morella to win his seat in Montgomery County. More importantly, Van Hollen is reputed to be a tireless and shrewd workhorse, as Marimow reports:

Maryland Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) called Van Hollen a hard-working go-getter who should never be underestimated. "He doesn't take no for an answer. He pursues his goals tenaciously..."

In the past year, Van Hollen worked closely with Emanuel as a leader of the campaign committee's effort to pick up seats in Republican strongholds. He spent months traveling from Pennsylvania to Ohio and Indiana to identify and mentor candidates, then helped build fledgling campaign and fundraising operations.

It would be hard to top outgoing DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel's run-of-the-table on November 7th. But Dems can rest assured that their '08 House campaign will be at full strength in a few weeks.