November 2nd, 2010
10:46 PM ET

White House spooked by Virginia losses

Washington (CNN) - Senior Democratic officials close to the White House are privately starting to express deep concern that the early signs suggest President Obama may be on the path to losing in the neighborhood of 60 seats in the House, which would easily hand the majority to Republicans and exceed the 52-seat battering then-President Bill Clinton suffered in 1994.

What has particularly gotten the attention of senior party officials is the fact that CNN has already projected that at least two House Democrats have lost in Virginia, freshman Rep. Tom Periello and veteran Rep. Rick Boucher.
Periello's defeat is a particularly big blow to Obama because just last Friday he headlined a rally for the freshman lawmaker in Charlottesville that drew just over 9,000 people. But Periello supported the stimulus package and health care reform and could not survive a tough challenge from Republican Robert Hurt.

"It looks like the House loss will be 60 seats," one senior Democratic official told CNN. "I'm not feeling good."

A second senior Democratic official said the numbers could turn out to be even worse than 60 seats because "the Virginia results are very troubling" in terms of suggesting a wave might be building.

The senior Democratic officials said that while they knew Boucher was in a tough race, the fact that he appears to be losing by such a large margin is causing heartburn within the party.

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