Category Archives: Congress

Endorsement and Announcement

First, EMILY’s List has endorsed Joseline Peña-Melnyk for the open Fourth Congressional District. EMILY’s List supports pro-choice Democratic women for elected office in federal and gubernatorial races. It has already weighed in strongly in the U.S. Senate race with a $1 million ad buy for Donna Edwards. It will be interesting to see the level of resources committed in the Fourth.

Second, Shebra Evans has announced her candidacy for School Board from the Fourth District in Montgomery County. Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Montgomery County is and will continue to be a great place for education as long as we keep our focus on classroom instruction. We should never forget that we are here to help all students achieve. Shebra wants the education community–students, parents, teachers and administrators–to excel.  The education community excels with the closing of “opportunity gaps” and the expansion of “education opportunities”.  Students excel when they are inspired by dynamic teachers.  Parents and teachers excel by listening and working together.  All excel with the hiring of and the retention of visionary administrators who view education through a lens beneficial to students, common to parents, compelling to teachers with a singular goal of making a Montgomery County education, the very best it can be.

Shebra has done and continues to do the work needed to advance the education community. She has served in a number of capacities within the educational community.

·         PTA member and PTA Officer
·         Board of Directors for Montgomery County Council of PTA’s
·         MCCPTA Vice President – Educational Issues
·         MCCPTA Vice President — Programs
·         MCCPTA — Recording Secretary
·         Member of the Delegate assembly
·         Coordinator Wheaton Cluster
·         MCPS – Operating Budget Review Workgroup
·         MCPS- Wheaton High Advisory Committee
·         MCPS- Math Exam workgroup
·         African American Student Achievement Group — Co-leader

In addition to her work with the local schools, Shebra serves in the Children’s Ministry at her church and is actively involved with Girl Scouts of America.

Shebra earned her Bachelors of Business Administration degree in Economics and Finance.

Though there is a residency requirement, all county voters will be able to participate in this election.

Evans had the support of the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) in her previous bid, which she lost narrowly to Jill Ortman-Fouse. As former MCEA President Bonnie Cullison tweeted her enthusiastic support, my guess is she will again.


Raskin Internal Poll Shows Lead

Sen. Jamie Raskin’s campaign has released an internal poll of 500 likely Democratic voters that shows him with a lead over his opponents:

  • Jamie Raskin, 30 percent
  • Kathleen Matthews, 21 percent
  • Ana Sol Gutiérrez, 11 percent
  • Kumar Barve, 5 percent
  • David Anderson, 3 percent
  • Will Jawando, 2 percent
  • Joel Rubin, 0 percent

Twenty-eight percent of voters remain undecided. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent, which means that the true values should be within that range in 19 out of 20 polls.

The Raskin campaign also claims that Jamie has higher favorable to unfavorable ratings than other candidates:

Raskin enjoys a 5:1 favorable: unfavorable rating, compared to 2:1 for Matthews, just under 2:1 for Sol Gutierrez, 1.5:1 for Barve, while the other candidates are unknown to voters.

According to the press release, Raskin leads Matthews by 43 percent in LD 20, which he now represents in the State Senate. He also leads Gutiérrez by 21 points in LD 18.


This is essentially a pre-campaign poll, as no commercials have been aired on TV. Little in the way of direct mail has been sent, though I’ve seen one well-done lit piece for former television broadcaster and Marriott Exec Kathleen Matthews.

Right now, it looks as if the race is shaping up largely as most expect with Raskin and Matthews in the lead but neither near being able to claim that they have the nomination locked down. Matthews will likely have the edge in money but Raskin has a strong pre-existing base of supporters and volunteers.

Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez benefits from her name recognition due her long service on the School Board and a delegate in LD 18. Right now, she looks like a solid bet for third place but will need to raise substantial sums of money or grassroots support to surprise the early frontrunners.

Del. Kumar Barve’s poor showing may surprise. It reflects that he has lower name recognition than the other state legislators in the race because his district–LD 17–is split between CD 8 and CD 6, so fewer voters have seen his name on the ballot.

The other candidates are unknowns. They are likely to remain so unless they can raise money and attract volunteers to assist their campaigns. They also need to win support from people who can validate their message and signal to voters that they merit consideration and deserve a vote.

Finally, as always, take campaign polls with a healthy dollop of salt. Inevitably, they focus on the cream rather than the lemons for their campaign. Moreover, it’s early, so most voters probably do not have fixed opinions.

Final Note

I am supporting Jamie Raskin’s campaign–not exactly shocking news as he is my colleague at American University. Beyond his generally active and effective work as a state senator, I appreciate  his hard work for marriage equality. Jamie will be an excellent advocate for the Eighth and liberal values in the U.S. House. I will still call it as I see it here but thought I should mention it.


Delaney Votes No on Syrian Refugees

Earlier today, Rep. John Delaney (D-6) voted in favor of Republican sponsored American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act. Passed by the U.S. House. that would make it make it significantly harder for Syrian refugees to gain admittance to the United States:

The Republican bill would require the FBI director to certify the background investigation for each Syrian or Iraqi refugee admitted to the United States, and Homeland Security and intelligence officials would have to certify that they are not security threats.

Delaney’s office issued a press release explaining his vote:

WASHINGTON- Congressman John K. Delaney voted for the American SAFE Act (H.R. 4038), which would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and relevant national security agencies to ensure that each refugee receives a thorough background investigation before U.S. refugee admission.  This legislation does not prevent the U.S. from safely accepting refugees that have been carefully screened

Delaney releases the following statement:

“Regarding Syrian refugees, we should not have an arbitrary cap of 10,000, we should expedite the screening of women and children, and the screening process should be of the highest standard. My vote today reflects that belief.”

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2) did not cast a vote on the legislation. The other five Democrats in the Maryland delegation voted no, while the sole Republican voted in favor.


Barve Touts Asian American Support

The following is a press release from the Barve campaign:


Members of Congress, Maryland Leaders Endorse Congressional Campaign

Rockville, November 5, 2015 – Kumar Barve for Congress announced today the endorsement of Asian Congressional and Maryland leaders for his campaign for Congress.

“Kumar Barve is a leader in the innovation and technology sectors and is a proven job creator. He is a fighter for the middle class and working families,” said U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA). “His family history is the American immigrant success story and I would welcome him as a partner in Congress”.

“The AAPI community is united behind Kumar Barve in Maryland”, stated U.S. Rep. Grace Meng. “Kumar is a fighter for social justice. AAPIs are underrepresented in Congress and Delegate Barve has been a long been a national leader in promoting and protecting the civic and political rights of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities”.

“Kumar Barve rose through the Montgomery County Public School system to become a groundbreaking leader in our community. His story – from his grandfather’s fight for citizenship to his historic election as the first Indian American state legislator – is our story” said Delegate Aruna Miller, who represents state legislative District 15 which is included with the 8th Congressional District. “Kumar has been a great mentor to those of us who have followed in his path”.

Barve is one the headliners tonight of the Maryland Democratic Party’s Mid-Autumn and Diwali Celebration in Gaithersburg that will gather AAPI leaders throughout the state. AAPIs, comprising about 8-9% of the population, represent a growing and increasingly active community within the 8th District of Maryland. Since his historic election in 1990, Barve has worked to increase the participation of the AAPI community in the civic and political life of their communities.

List of Endorsements
U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Madeline Bordallo (D-GU)
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA)
U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY)
Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Member of Congress
Maryland Delegate Mark Chang
Maryland Delegate Clarence Lam
Maryland Delegate Aruna Miller
Maryland Delegate Kriselda Valderrama
Virginia Delegate Mark Keam
Tufail Ahmad
Alan Cheung, former Member, Montgomery County Board of Education
Ed Chow, former MD Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Suresh Gupta
Rajan Natarajan, former MD Deputy Secretary of State
Farook Sait
Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Leadership PAC
Asian American Action Fund


Fundraising in Congressional District 8

Today, I am pleased to present a guest post by Adam Pagnucco:

Money talks and people are talking about money. That’s the vibe in CD8, which could turn out to be the most expensive congressional race in Maryland history. Bethesda Magazine’s Lou Peck and the Washington Post’s Bill Turque have written about the overall numbers and individual donors in the race. Today, I dig deep into the data to reveal more details of the Democratic candidates’ fundraising.

First, the top-line numbers through the third quarter reported by Kathleen Matthews, Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20), Delegate Kumar Barve (D-17), Will Jawando, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18), David Anderson and former Montgomery County Council Member Valerie Ervin (who has withdrawn). Much of this has already been reported and it shows Matthews first, Raskin a close second and Barve third. With almost $3 million raised and more than two quarters to go, this race looks like a record breaker.

CD8 Top LineUnlike state and county contributions, federal contributions must be designated for the primary or the general. Among primary contributions, Matthews’ lead over Raskin grows slightly.

CD8 Primary GeneralBurn rate is the percentage of money raised that has already been spent. Matthews’ burn rate (16%) is far lower than Raskin’s (25%) or Barve’s (35%). That reflects her strategy of saving up for television.

CD8 Burn RateMatthews leads in big contributions. Her average individual contribution is nearly twice the amount of the rest of the field. Almost half of her fundraising has come from maximum individual contributions of $2,700 each. So far, Matthews has received more maximum checks than the rest of the field combined.

CD8 Avg Individual ContributionWhile Matthews has raised the most money, Raskin has a big edge in money raised in Maryland. In-state contributions have accounted for half of Raskin’s total, much higher than Matthews’ 23%. Barve’s in-state 45% ranks second, though he has raised less than half of Raskin’s total in Maryland.

CD8 Contributions by StateHere’s a look at fundraising from individuals in selected communities. The top seven locations are the largest population centers in CD8. Matthews leads in Chevy Chase and (narrowly) in Potomac, but Raskin has the lead in most other places. The bottom seven locations are major sources of contributions outside CD8 and Matthews leads everywhere (including in D.C.). Interestingly, Matthews has raised more money from New York City than from Bethesda. Also, Matthews has raised more money from Los Angeles than from Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville and Kensington combined. That reflects her ability to tap into the Democratic establishment’s national donor network.

CD8 Individual Contributions by CommunityHere are a few takeaways from this data.

  1. Kathleen Matthews’ campaign was predicated on blowing away the rest of the field in fundraising. That is happening with the notable exception of Senator Jamie Raskin, who has so far remained close to her. One factor that could change that is if Matthews’ wealthy supporters open a Super PAC on her behalf. Super PACs are not supposed to coordinate directly with candidate campaigns, but they can raise unlimited contributions and spend them on both positive and negative communication. One can easily imagine twenty Matthews supporters each chipping in $100,000, thereby instantaneously bringing an extra $2 million into the race for their candidate.
  1. Senator Raskin’s strategy of community organizing is paying off big-time for his fundraising. He is leading or nearly tied in fundraising in every populous CD8 community except Chevy Chase and his relatively low average contribution rate leaves plenty of room for repeat contributions. His two biggest challenges are countering Matthews’ likely appeal to women and what happens to his campaign once he has to go back to Annapolis for session next January.
  1. The other candidates are either plainly non-viable or on the verge of getting there because they have not been able to keep up in the money race. That may have been a factor behind the Sierra Club’s endorsement of Senator Raskin. Delegate Barve is the Chair of the House Environment and Transportation Committee and that gives him enormous ability to shape state environmental legislation. He has been a serious player on a wide range of environmental issues that long predates Senator Raskin’s service in the General Assembly. The Sierra Club faced a tough choice between the two candidates from the perspective of policy and record, but they chose to jump in for Raskin. That’s not a knock on Barve, but more likely a judgment that Raskin is a stronger choice to take on Matthews. If more progressive groups make that kind of decision, the race will consolidate into a two-person contest between Matthews and Raskin.

And if that happens, here is the key question that will determine who wins. What will matter more? Senator Raskin’s large, enthusiastic and growing grassroots network? Or Kathleen Matthews’ fundraising prowess, media skills and membership in the electorate’s largest sub-component, white women? Your guess is as good as mine!


Joel Rubin Announces Bid for the Eighth

My neighbor, Joel Rubin, has announced his entry into the Democratic primary for the Eighth Congressional District. Above is his announcement video and below is his email:

Hi David,

It’s Joel. I’m excited to let you, my friends, and family know first – I’m running for Congress to represent Maryland’s 8th Congressional District!

My wife Nilmini and I are proud to call the 8th our home. It’s where we started our family, and we now have the privilege of raising our three beautiful daughters here.

I’m joining this race because this Congressional District needs someone to represent it who has strong progressive values and a proven track record of getting things done. That’s me. I’ve fought for these values my entire career – from my time in the Peace Corps to my work at J Street, the Ploughshares Fund, and in the Obama Administration at the State Department.

Help us send an effective progressive voice to Washington here.

It’s time to elect leaders who have the courage to confront our nation’s challenges. And that’s why I’m running. I’ll provide Maryland’s 8th District with the kind of unapologetic, effective, and progressive leadership that it deserves in Congress. I have a track record of success in taking on tough challenges and will do that again in Congress. And I won’t stop until we win!

Support our campaign for effective progressive values. Donate now.

Thanks for your support,

P.S. – Please share this email, visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to be a part of this important campaign.

(Disclosure: I’m supporting Jamie Raskin for Congress.)


Valerie Ervin Announces for the Eighth

Her announcement video and email announcement:

Your support has meant so much to me over the years. It’s because of you that I’ve been able to do the work I love, serving the working families of Maryland.

From raising the minimum wage to expanding universal pre-K and school breakfast programs, our accomplishments in Montgomery County are a testament to the power of community-based leadership.

But it’s not enough to stop there. If we want to make lasting change for Maryland’s working families, we need to take that kind of community-based leadership to the nation’s capitol.

I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Show your support by signing up on my website at and liking my Facebook page right away.

Thank you for your faith in me. Together, we are going to build a stronger community for all of us.

Valerie Ervin

Seventh State was the first to report on Valerie’s plans to run back in March. Welcome to the race!


Brown’s Announcement Email

Over the past two weeks, I’ve heard from many of you – my friends, neighbors and supporters who have urged me to consider running for office. It’s a humbling experience. I’m truly grateful for the confidence that you have in me.

I decided that I would run for office once again only if I believed in my heart that I still had something to give back to our community – the community where I’ve raised my children and dedicated my life to public service.

After serious reflection, prayer and discussion with my wife Karmen and our three children, we are very excited to announce my candidacy for Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District.

For my entire adult life, beginning with the years that I served on active military duty with the 3rd Infantry Division in Germany, I’ve gotten up and out of bed every day ready to serve my neighbors and our nation. From Germany, to a tour of duty in Iraq, to serving two-terms as a State Delegate representing Prince George’s County, to fighting every day for eight years as your Lieutenant Governor, I’ve seen the struggles, challenges, dreams and aspirations that are shared by families throughout Maryland and the 4th Congressional District.

The stakes are high in Washington, but they’re even higher for hard-working families right here in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties.

The dreams of owning a home, and the reality of declining home values, loss of equity and foreclosures; the aspirations of going to college, and the struggles of oppressive student loan debt; the hope of one day retiring comfortably, and the worry that Social Security might not be there when you do; the positive news of post-recession job growth, and the despair of the growing wealth gap and need for small, women and minority owned businesses to access the billions of dollars of spending at the federal level to grow our local economy and jobs; the desire to live and raise a family in a safe neighborhood, and the disturbing fact that too many young black and Latino men fear that they cannot freely walk the streets without profiling and excessive force by law enforcement.

Families in the 4th District have been fortunate to have a leader like Donna Edwards fighting for them every day. With your support, I’ll continue that fight.

For the past 16 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work for you while serving in public office. As a two-term State Delegate working throughout neighborhoods from Suitland to Lake Arbor, and during my eight years as your Lieutenant Governor working with communities from Laurel to Oxon Hill and throughout Anne Arundel County, we’ve worked tirelessly to improve our schools, reduce crime, expand access to healthcare, and create jobs. But our work is far from done.

Together, we’ll fight for every family, regardless of where you live and where you’re from, by ensuring economic security for all. Under President Obama’s leadership, we’ve made great progress, but it’s not enough until everyone who is willing to work hard can find a good job with a family-supporting wage. Our work continues until each of us has access to affordable housing and are protected against foreclosure, and our seniors can retire with the peace of mind that Social Security benefits will be protected and their pensions won’t be raided.

Together, we’ll make sure that every child, regardless of where you live and where you’re from, gets a world-class education. We’ll get it done by establishing universal pre-kindergarten, delivering on President Obama’s call for free community college and providing additional college scholarships, grants, and loans. We will eliminate the achievement gap in education.

Together, we’ll ensure our national security and safety in every neighborhood. We’ll provide the resources needed to ensure that our nation is strong and secure against foreign threats, while also providing our communities with the support needed to reduce crime with community-based and community-involved law enforcement strategies.

I’m running to represent you because I believe in a future where everyone has the opportunity to succeed, not just the privileged few.

I know this isn’t going to be easy, but nothing worth fighting for ever is.

Our best days are still ahead of us. I’m energized to continue the conversation with folks like you about how we can work together to create a better future for our families, our small businesses, our schools and all of our neighborhoods.

Thank you for your support and I hope you’ll stay in touch by following me on Facebook and Twitter.

Anthony Brown


Brown to Announce for Fourth on Thursday


Anthony Brown’s Concession Speech Last November

The Washington Post is reporting that former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will announce his candidacy for the Fourth Congressional District tomorrow.

Brown performed well in Prince George’s last year–gaining 76.7% of the vote in the primary and 84.2% in the general. But turnout was low in both contests. Moreover, he will face a very different field that will include other African-American and Prince George’s candidates, including former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey.

Brown undoubtedly has a great fundraising network after last year’s election. But it remains unclear how willing they will be to open their pockets again after last November’s stunning loss and how voters see Brown at this point. He will also have to retool his message for a federal rather than state election.

Still, many may admire a man who picks himself up after a big loss. And he has an admirable personal story of having served in Iraq while a member of the House of Delegates. Like President Obama, he is a Harvard Law School graduate.


Glenn Ivey is in for the Fourth

Interview with WUSA

 Here is Glenn Ivey’s announcement from his Facebook page. Ivey was a popular State’s Attorney in Prince George’s. His wife, former Del. Jolene Ivey, was a candidate for lieutenant governor last year. Edwards is unlikely to endorse Glenn Ivey, as he almost challenged her a few years ago.


After careful consideration, I have decided to run for Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District, which stretches from the shores of the Potomac River in Prince George’s County to Stoney Creek in Anne Arundel County.

For seven years, Congresswoman Donna Edwards has served this district with distinction. She’s been a real fighter for working families, I applaud her service, and I wish her well in her race for U.S. Senate.

I had the honor of serving Marylanders in the past, when the people of Prince George’s County elected me State’s Attorney in 2002 and again in 2006. Working with law enforcement, we fought hard for safe streets, safe schools and safe neighborhoods. We locked up killers, sex offenders and fraudsters. Crime dropped and those declines continue today.

We partnered with the faith community, schools and business leaders to launch programs – using no tax dollars – to fight domestic violence, to provide volunteer tutors to struggling second graders, and to create training and employment opportunities for ex-offenders.

And while I left public office in 2010, I never left public service. I volunteered to chair the Maryland office that provides free legal services to low-income clients, and I remain active in the community.

Now, the time has come for me to return to public life, but I need your support. Together, we can champion the struggle to improve our schools, build a new economy that provides good jobs that pay a living wage, continue to reduce crime, and address the mortgage foreclosure disaster that continues to threaten hardworking people.

My work throughout my career has prepared me for this moment. Over 25 years ago, I got started in public service as a senior aide to Congressman John Conyers, Jr., the Dean of the House of Representatives and a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. I later worked as a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C. under Eric Holder, then returned to Capitol Hill to work for Maryland’s legendary Senator Paul Sarbanes and Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. In short, I learned from some of the best. They helped to shape my understanding of how Washington could truly improve the lives of all Americans.

Maryland is my home – I’ve lived in Prince George’s County for over 27 years. I’m raising my family here and I’ve always taught my kids that the greatness of this state is its people – hardworking people from all walks of life who never give up and who come together to support one another.

That’s what you deserve out of your Congress.

The people of this district deserve a Congress that works for them – that spends less time fighting with each other and more time fighting for you. With your help, I would like to get back in the ring and continue the fight to help people improve their lives and achieve their dreams.

I ask you to help me build a grassroots campaign that reaches every corner of the Fourth Congressional District, in Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County. I will be making a more formal campaign announcement in the future; in the meantime, I look forward to traveling the district, listening to you and sharing my ideas on ways to spread opportunity to all corners of Maryland.

Thank you,
Glenn Ivey