MD-04 Battle Looms Large

Jolene Ivey, Doug Gansler

Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey at the Announcement of
Del. Jolene Ivey’s bid for Lieutenant Governor

Rep. Donna Edwards is announcing her Senate bid today, which means a slew of people are thinking of running for the open Fourth.

Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District, which stretches from Anne Arundel County and around the border of the District of Columbia to take in most of inside the beltway Prince George’s County, is the wealthiest, most highly educated African American majority district in the country. We can expect a lively, crowded primary for this heavily Democratic seat.

The Hon. Rev. Bishop Senator C. Anthony Muse
Perhaps the most flamboyantly colorful member of the Maryland Legislature (Delegate Oaks of Baltimore City is more sartorially extroverted but he lacks Muse’s flair for the dramatic in other regards) brings a large base of south County voters and will have support among the large community of African-American Evangelical voters in the 4th.

How he expands his base is an open question, as his fundraising. He can’t be counted out, though his noted conservative positions, particularly on social issues, will attract a rush of progressive money to any other candidate if it looks like he stands a chance.

Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey or Former Del. Jolene Ivey
Glenn Ivey is a very dynamic, well connected former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney with a wealth of downtown DC connections to lean on. It’s rumored that his wife, former Delegate Jolene Ivey is making calls soliciting support for a potential bid on his behalf.

While he was an immensely popular State’s Attorney, he’s in a less strong position than if this primary were happening closer to when he last held office. On the other hand, former Del. Jolene Ivey, his wife, just ran for Lt. Governor, and only continued to build upon on her already positive image. She too would be an excellent candidate. In short, both are terrific political assets to the other.

Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Joseline Peña-Melnyk looks potentially like the only Latino candidate in the race as it appears that State Senator Victor Ramirez will take a pass. However, there are fewer than 20,000 registered Latinos in district so this community only provides so large a base. Peña-Melnyk is Dominican, while most of the Latinos in the district are Salvadorian (as is Ramirez). Furthermore, much of District 21, which she represents, is in the Fifth District.

Mary Lehman
Mary Lehman is a term-limited Prince George’s County Councilwoman representing much of the Laurel area. She previously served as Chief of Staff to the last person to hold her current seat–Tom Dernoga. While well liked and respected by many in the community, she lacks to rolodex to raise the millions needed for a competitive campaign.

She would likely be perceived by many as the white candidate, although in a crowded field in a black-majority district that isn’t necessarily a bad place to be. Especially when even though the majority of residents are African American, a slight majority of registered voters are white.

Del. Erek Barron
He is a freshmen Delegate from Prince George’s County with a long resume that includes stints working for Joe Biden and as a high level prosecutor. Barron has deep ties into the legal community in Baltimore and the District of Colombia, as well as on Capitol Hill. He could likely raise more money than all other candidates except either of the Iveys. He has already impressed many in his brief time in the legislature and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Former Lt. Governor Anthony Brown
Mere months ago the idea that today Anthony Brown would be a heavy underdog candidate in a potential comeback for an open congressional seat would be so fundamentally bizarre and incongruous that it belied even a hint of plausibility. But, lo, how the mighty hath fallen

While Brown is currently largely persona non grata throughout Maryland, he is a very talented, fairly charismatic pol  with a sterling resume who did carry his home county very strongly. Far stranger things have happened (See: Sanford, Mark).  Don’t count him out.

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Mizeur Says Show Me the Money

heatherfunds

Heather Mizeur posted on her own Facebook page, as well as the Draft Heather page, the fundraising appeal shown above. This is a good fundraising and social media gimmick. While reminding us she’s in the mix, she’s also raising funds.

Her supporters love it, as the many likes, positive comments, and shares demonstrate. Since Heather’s own page has over 21,000 likes as opposed to the over 900 likes on the Draft Mizeur for Senate, I can see why she posted it to both. (There are currently only seven “likes” currently on the Draft page.)

The only negative wrinkle is that any doubt as to whether Heather Mizeur was behind the effort to draft Heather Mizeur has been dispelled. The draft page is also conveniently titled “Heather for Senate” for when she decides that it is formally time to jump in the race–or switch to a congressional run in one of the open seats.

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Ariana Kelly for Congress?

arianakellyDelegate Ariana Kelly (D-16)

Del. Ariana Kelly (D-16) is exploring a bid for Congress. Ariana has represented this district, centered on Bethesda, since 2011.

Career

Del. Kelly grew up in the area, attending Walter Johnson High School. Her political involvement long predated her successful bid for the House. She was the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the Environmental Health Campaign Director for MomsRising.org. Her past work as the producer for a PBS news program further adds to her communication experience.

In 2010, Ariana won the Democratic nomination for an open seat in the House of Delegates. Her closest competitor was Kyle Lierman, who was by far the best funded candidate in the race. In that race, Kelly benefited from being the only woman in the race. She performed well in a field with many strong candidates, garnering key support from Democratic interest groups.

As an incumbent in 2014, Kelly won the most votes of any House candidate not just in D16 but Montgomery County. This feat is all the more impressive because she was not unopposed for renomination. On the contrary, several strong candidates with good campaigns hoped to win an open seat.

Starting her second full House term, Del. Kelly was elected Chair of the Montgomery County House Democratic Caucus.

Policy

Ariana advocates strongly on women’s issues in the legislature. “Advocate” can sometimes sound like code for “someone who takes liberal positions but doesn’t really know or do a heck of a lot.” The opposite would be true in Ariana’s case.

People who speak with Ariana will quickly get a sense of her strong commitment to these issues backed by an intricate knowledge of how government does–and sometimes doesn’t–work. In short, Ariana often focuses on issues that are less eye-catching but make  a meaningful difference in people’s lives.

Last year, HB 1026 mandated six weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave for employees in small businesses. HB 963, also passed during last year’s session, requires hospitals to develop procedures to do rape kits–surprisingly many are not equipped to do this–so victims of sexual assault don’t have to be shuttled to another hospital.

Parents of kids with autism are no doubt very grateful that 2012 HB 1055 required autism therapy to be covered by insurance, saving many parents from financial ruin on top of having the extra responsibility of a child with special needs.

Opportunity and Overlap with Other Candidates

Ariana would be a likely candidate to gain support from NARAL since she has worked for their state affiliate and can claim a level of commitment greater than other pro-choice candidates. She would need the backing of EMILY’s List to gain access to the broader national fundraising network that could help provide the funds critical to what will be an expensive House race.

Both Nancy Floreen, and to a certain extent Kathleen Matthews, show the most potential for overlap with Ariana’s candidacy. While they have distinct profiles locally among people who follow politics, each has the potential to appeal especially to women, who will compose well over 50% (probably close to or around 60%) of Democratic primary voters. Ariana would likely try to set herself apart as more progressive but these distinctions can be very hard to get into the minds of primary voters.

Though Ariana has only been elected twice, she represents the legislative district with the most Democratic primary voters in the Eighth District. Moreover, voters in this affluent district with a large Jewish population vote at a high rate.

Backing from her state legislative colleagues would aid Del. Kelly’s campaign, particularly in the early stages as it would help convince big funders like EMILY’s List to give her campaign a serious look. In short, as with other campaigns, not just experience but having supporters who can validate it would help her gain traction should she take the plunge, and enter, rather than explore a bid.

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These are the Gaffes that Try Candidate’s Souls

I thought the Donna Edwards announcement video was great. She comes across as strongly progressive and completely in touch with real people. It was polished but didn’t have the “look, it’s a campaign commercial” feel. Using video instead of email also allowed Edwards to introduce herself to many new people.

But then there is silhouette of Maryland at the end that includes the Virginia portion of the Delmarva peninsula. Not a great way to introduce yourself to the Shore or, more generally, the State she wants to represent.

EdwardsDelmarva

And what will really tee Edwards off is that I am sure she had nothing personally to do with it even though she is still responsible for it. Even more irritating will be that I suspect few would notice unless some blogger some pointed it out and blew it up so you could see it when he should be doing his real job:

Edwardsblowup

UPDATE: She has fixed the logo on her campaign web page but the video with Accomack and Northampton lives on. Apparently, I am not the only one who noticed, as Sen. President Mike Miller mentioned it on the Senate floor. Will he begin recognizing Sen. Mathias as the gentleman from Accomack?

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Delegate Protective Order

 

Freshman Delegate Jay Jalisi (D-10) is getting an unusual level of media attention for all the wrong reasons:

A freshman Baltimore County state delegate agreed Monday to a yearlong protective order barring him from contact with his teenage daughter, and later in the day lost his seat on a committee that deals with domestic violence issues.

The 18-year-old daughter of Del. Hasan “Jay” Jalisi had alleged in court papers that her father slapped her during an argument last month. She sought a protective order against him that was granted by District Judge Sally Chester in Towson.

Baltimore County police were called to the family’s Lutherville home after the argument. No criminal charges were filed.

The order prohibits Jalisi from going into the house where his daughter, son and wife live, though he is allowed to drive to the house to pick up his son. Jalisi also must stay away from the local college his daughter attends.

Former Del. Luiz Simmons, who lost the Democratic primary for Senate to now Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17) in an election in which domestic violence was an issue, served as Jalisi’s legal representative.  The video at the top of this post shows Simmons arguing that Jalisi’s position on the Judiciary Committee that deals with domestic violence issues should be unaffected.

Wisely, Speaker Michael Busch thought differently and moved Jalisi to the Environment and Transportation Committee.

Even prior to this incident, Jalisi had been developing a poor reputation in the House of Delegates. A surprise winner in the Democratic primary, it will probably be less of a shock when he is not in the House in 2019–or sooner.

In the television interview, Jalisi characterized his failure to challenge the protective order as allowing an adult child to make a choice–like it’s akin to the first time she rode a bike without training wheels. However, it’s hard to imagine a politician just starting out consenting to a protective order unless he thought that the publicity resulting from challenging it would be even worse.

Del. Jalisi thinks it’s all good:

“It doesn’t affect my position,” Jalisi said. “There was no finding of fact. … I was not declared as convicted of anything.”

Obviously, he has never heard of the Court of Public Opinion.

 

 

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Kumar Barve Announces for the Eighth

Delegate-Kumar-Barve

Here is Del. Kumar Barve’s announcement of his bid for the Eighth Congressional District:

My family, like so many others, came to America for freedom and opportunity. As they left India and traveled across the Atlantic they knew they would face hardships but they were hopeful that they would succeed.

Now, that dream is in jeopardy for millions of American families. There is no longer confidence that working hard and playing by the rules means being able to provide for your family.

I am announcing today that I’m running for the open 8th congressional district of Maryland to help rebuild our middle class, restore hope in the American Dream, and grow our economy so that everyone has an opportunity to thrive and the freedom to live as they wish.

I made history in 1990 at the age of thirty-two when I was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates and became first Indian-American ever to serve in a state legislature.

For 25 years as a legislator, I have worked to earn your trust. As Majority Leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, I helped lead the effort to build the best public school system in America.  I worked to foster economic growth through investments in biotechnology and information technology.  I also fought to raise the minimum wage, expand health care to working families and keep college tuitions low.

Today, as Chairman of the Environment and Transportation Committee, I’m battling the Republican agenda to roll back environmental protections that make our families and communities safe.

In the private sector, I’m an accountant and the Chief Financial Officer of a local environmental and hazardous waste remediation company.  I know how to create jobs, promote the private sector and still protect the environment.

I am ready to take my experience working for economic growth and fighting for our middle class to the federal level. I will build on the legacy of my friend, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, who is seeking the open Senate seat.

When my dad crossed the Atlantic in 1958, wondering what America held for him and his family, he probably never imagined his son would ever get the opportunity to run for Congress. This isn’t going to be easy. Offering bold and innovative proposals to rebuild our middle class and grow our economy never is.

But with your help, we can do this together and make our country great again for everyone.

Sincerely

Kumar P. Barve

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Jamie Raskin for Congress?

Jamieraskin

Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20) is widely considered a lock to enter the race for Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District.

Getting Elected in District 20

Jamie Raskin was first elected to the Senate in 2006 in an impressive defeat of longtime incumbent, Sen. Ida Ruben. Though Raskin was a first-time candidate, he beat Ruben by 2-1 thanks to a strong campaign and grassroots organization.

It also didn’t hurt that Chris Van Hollen notably did not endorse Sen. Ida Ruben, who had not supported him in his original congressional bid in 2002. Since the 2006 Democratic primary, Raskin has been untouchable in this district.

Two of Raskin’s previous campaign managers, David Moon and Will Smith, have now joined him on the House side. Raskin remains very popular and a solid fit for this district, correctly perceived as the most progressive in Maryland.

In the Senate

Jamie made the transition from law professor at American University to politician in the Maryland Senate more smoothly than some likely expected. He worked well with his colleagues and  became a leader on the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Currently, Sen. Raskin heads the Executive Nominations Committee. He is also serves as Majority Whip and is a past Chair of the Montgomery County Senate Delegation.

His work has unsurprisingly focused more on issues related to his committee. Sen. Raskin was a robust supporter of marriage equality. In this session, he is focusing much of his efforts on campaign finance trying to make the system more transparent in the wake of the disastrous Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates of soft money into American politics.

One of the more loquacious members of the Senate, he is excellent at arguing for his point of view and parrying his opponents. Jamie’s passionate progressive views have also not prevented him in working with others to move forward even if the product is less than ideal from his perspective.

All of these issues and skills would transfer well to Congress, even if he would likely have to get used to operating as part of the minority instead of the majority. There is a reason that lawyers are not lacking in Congress or Washington even if Washingtonians can tell lawyer jokes with the best of them.

Campaign and Competition

Jamie cannot self finance but he is well-positioned to raise a lot of money. His profile extends beyond the local level–and not just because his spouse, Sarah Bloom Raskin, has served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve and is now Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.

Moreover, many of Jamie’s originals supporters are still very active in politics and eager to support his congressional bid. As he showed in 2006, he is quite capable of putting together an organized grassroots campaign.

District 20 has one of the richest pockets of Democratic voters in the State, though fewer than District 16 and similar in number to neighboring District 18. Raskin’s district would serve as a fine base for a congressional run.

Overlap with Other Candidates

Jamie Raskin will be a top-tier candidate. He shares a similar political profile with Rich Madaleno. Both are white males and strong progressives based in neighboring southern Montgomery County districts. They’ve worked closely together in the Senate on many issues. Either would benefit if the other does not run.

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John Delaney for Senate?

delaney

John Delaney is a two-term U.S. representative who founded two publicly traded companies focused on financial services. He may well be the only candidate able to point to significant private sector experience. While he not always the most charismatic, he’s very, very smart and is well-versed in economic policy in a way that is rare for an elected official.

Money, Money, Money

John Delaney is worth a cool nine figures and over the last few years has spent around $5 million dollars of his own funds on his U.S. House bids. Always nice to be able to drop more than most will see in a lifetime like it’s buying a nice meal out.

In contrast, Chris Van Hollen and all other candidates will need to spend months locked in windowless rooms begging lobbyists and national donors for $2,600 checks in hopes of funding broadcast media buys in the extremely expensive DC and Baltimore Markets.

For the record, DC Broadcast at saturation costs $450,000 per week. Delaney can put $10 million, $15 million, perhaps even $20 million dollars in his campaign account in five minutes,  freeing up his time for extensive retail politicking in far flung corners of the state.

Moreover, his money will buy a vast army of top tier hired guns and mercenary political consultants. As his campaign against Sen. Rob Garagiola showed in 2012, John Delaney knows how to hire good people and run an effective campaign.

John Delaney will bombard a microtargeted universe of likely Democratic Primary voters with glossy mailers and online advertisements. His (paid) canvassers will be at their doors daily. And, months before anyone else can afford to do so, his TV ads will flood living rooms from Silver Spring to Severna Park.

And frankly, that stuff works.

But Money Can’t Buy You Love

Chris Van Hollen will likely retain the loyalties of the northwestern Montgomery County residents he represented prior to redistricting (and are now) in the Sixth District–a real problem for Delaney as he  needs those voters.

Moreover, John Delaney doesn’t have CVH’s massive base of volunteers and true believers. Donna Edwards also has the potential to attract a lot of ground support. These canvassers tend to be more effective than those in it for the (small) paycheck because they actually believe in the candidate.

Delaney’s opponents may argue that he made a fortune as a predatory lender. Moreover, ss dozens of other self funders have taught us, all the money in the world can’t buy enough advertising to make voters change their minds if they decide they don’t like you or just prefer someone else even if you’re a good candidate.

Labor

Labor Unions across the board united to oppose John Delaney’s first congressional bid. He’s since returned the animosity through numerous votes on infrastructure issues, which has angered the more traditionalist factions like the building trades and the AFL-CIO. He has also cast pro-Wall Street votes on the Financial Services committee, which has angered the more movement progressive type unions like SEIU. It can be expected that they will put whatever clout they have into denying him a promotion to the Senate.

Overlap and Niche

As a white Montgomery County congressmen, Delaney and CVH share the most base overlap.

Delaney will also be the most centrist candidate. He has repeatedly touted his moderate proposals and ability to work with Republicans–an approach that looks better in general than primary elections. To the extent a centrist bloc exists in a statewide Maryland Democratic Primary, he largely has that lane to himself. This may give Delaney room for expansion in the Baltimore suburbs, the Eastern Shore, and Southern Maryland.

Delaney also shares several political advisors such as pollster Fred Yang, media firm SKDKnickerbocker and Chief of Staff Justin Schall who work with other potential candidates. They will have to pick a side when their clients challenge each other for higher office.

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Madaleno or Matthews for Congress?

madalenovic

Madaleno on the Night Maryland Became
the First State to Vote Yes on Marriage
Equality

Sen. Richard Madaleno, Jr.

Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18) has been flagged by Bill Turque in The Washington Post as a potential contender for the Eighth District seat:

Madaleno, 49, a onetime aide to former Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan, is vice chairman of the Maryland Senate’s budget and taxation committee and the body’s only openly gay member. He was a key player in passage of the state’s same-sex marriage and transgender rights laws.

If Rich runs, his campaign would likely gain very serious support from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which has backed his past state legislative campaigns. Madaleno first ran for the House in 2002, becoming the first openly gay man ever elected to that body.

When Rich ran for the Senate in 2006, he was unopposed in the Democratic primary and the general election. While he is better publicly known for his work on LGBT rights, Madaleno is recognized around Annapolis as one of the top budget experts, serving as the floor leader on virtually every major revenue initiative. Additionally, he played a central role in the passage of the Dream Act.

Rich has been consulting family and friends this weekend about whether he should jump in the race. His state legislative district is entirely located within the Eighth District. Moreover, along with neighboring D20, represented by almost certain candidate Sen. Jamie Raskin, D18 holds more Democratic primary voters than any other located within this congressional district. (Note: D16 has even more, though a snippet of D16 is outside the Eighth.)

Kathleen Matthews

Kathleen Matthews has expressed strong interest in the race and seems set on a bid though she has not spoken directly to the press. Though Matthews does not hold political office, she’s not a stranger to politics or the community:

Matthews, who lives in Chevy Chase, left WJLA in 2006 after 24 years. At Marriott, she became a rare high-level Democrat in a corporation where executive chairman Bill Marriott and family members are major GOP contributors. Matthews is credited with making the company more active on social media. She has served on the boards of several charitable organizations.

Her job at Marriott was very high level–Chief of Global Communications and Public Affairs. Moreover, her job likely provides her with a network of potential donors in the business community unmatched by other potential candidates, including GOP donors who would be unlikely to give to other Democrats.

The substantive nature of her work at Marriott would allow her to talk about how she was able to promote liberal goals even in a conservative corporation–not a bad skill for someone to have in today’s House of Representatives:

Matthews, who has long talked about running for office, advocated Marriott’s move toward more progressive policies, including sustainability and LGBT friendliness. She pushed the company to open a hotel in Haiti after the earthquake — Bill Clinton attended the opening last month.

She would be an interesting candidate in a field otherwise likely to be dominated by elected officials. On the other hand, this district is replete with people who work in government-related jobs. Rather than focus primarily on her business experience, I suspect she’ll use it to tout issue positions. She certainly will not lack the communication skills, though it will be a change for the former reporter to have to answer the questions.

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