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Van Hollen is a former DCCC chairman and was Assistant to the Speaker before Democrats lost the majority in 2010. Now, he is carving out a niche as the party’s spokesman on fiscal issues. While colleagues praise his work on that front, they question the depth of his relationship with colleagues compared with other would-be leadership candidates. Still, allies say Van Hollen’s work on budget matters could help him bridge some of those gaps.
“You can’t be too presumptive around here. You have to also do your own job as well as you can and excel in your piece of the world,” a Democratic strategist said.