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Van Hollen: Maryland Democrats “asleep at the switch”

Lackadaisical Democrats are responsible for a gubernatorial contest that some pundits, on the eve of the election, say is too close to call, according to one Maryland congressman.

Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr., D-8th District, said Monday that Democratic voters in the state grew too comfortable with the built in 2-1 registration advantage over Republicans and “were asleep at the switch.”

“I think what happened, Peter, is a lot of Democrats took this race for granted,” Van Hollen said. “There was not a lot of excitement, a lot of energy and as a result of that, when you polled in Maryland and looked at voter intensity, Democratic voter intensity had been down, Republican voter intensity has been high. As more and more Democrats recognize that this is really a close race they are getting more excited about coming out to vote.”

Van Hollen made the comments during a morning interview with Peter Alexander on MSNBC.

But it’s not just Democratic voters who bear some of the responsibility for taking the election of Brown as a foregone conclusion.

In May, Brown told supporters that he himself saw the June primary election as  the bigger campaign.

“We take that hill, and then we’ve got a little bit of a mole hill to take in November,” Brown said, according to The Washington Post.

A number of polls and other political observers have said the race between Democratic Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Republican Larry Hogan is too close to call.

Over the weekend, the Cook Report changed its designation from leaning Democrat to toss up. Similarly, Real Clear Politics lists the race as a toss up.

Sabato’s Crystal Ball also changed the race from likely Democrat to leans Democrat. Politico lists the race as likely Democrat.

Meanwhile, a number of polls over the last month have showed the campaign tightening to single digit leads for Brown over the last month.

During the same time, both Brown and Hogan have attempted to energize voters by bringing in party luminaries.

Brown has received stump visits from President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton. First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to stop in Baltimore Monday.

Meanwhile, Hogan has received no less than four visits from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who also heads the Republican Governors Association.

The association has purchased television time for campaign ads in support of Hogan while Brown has been supported by similar ads paid for by the Democratic Governors Association.

Van Hollen said Tuesday that an energized Democratic base in Maryland will ensure a Brown victory Tuesday.

“Look, the only people that can beat Democrats in Maryland, Democratic candidates, are Democrats who stay at home,” Van Hollen said.