Category Archives: Jamie Raskin

How Jamie Raskin Could Win

A guest blog by Adam Pagnucco.

Congressional District 8 has three strong Democratic candidates with a chance to win.  One of them is District 20 State Senator Jamie Raskin.

Strengths

Raskin has successfully established his brand as the effective, results-oriented progressive in the race, and he uses it as a contrast against two well-funded opponents who have never held office and have no local political history.  He started with a geographic base that accounted for roughly a sixth of the district and expanded it into other areas with a nearly year-long ground campaign.  His supporters are passionate, knowledgeable, loyal and numerous.  It would not be a stretch to say that he has wrapped up close to 90% of the district’s regular Democratic activists, the kind of people who play big roles in County Council and state legislative races.  His fundraising has been mostly local and is competitive with Kathleen Matthews.  His mail program has been second only to David Trone’s, although Emily’s List has been catching up in their advocacy for Matthews.

Weaknesses

As the third-ranking candidate in terms of finances, Raskin is running a more targeted race than either Matthews or Trone.  He has made a token investment in television in favor of a robust mail campaign, which can be targeted to regular voters.  There is good reason for this, but let’s remember that Rob Garagiola made a similar choice against John Delaney in 2012.  If turnout is high and jammed with low information voters who have not seen Raskin’s mail, he would be at a disadvantage.  Also, Raskin’s dispute with Delegate Kumar Barve over an inaccurate television ad has earned him negative coverage in the Post (twice), the Sun and Bethesda Magazine during the crucial final weeks of the race.

What Our Sources Say

Source: “Raskin has had the clearest message – that you should vote for him because he is the one who has actually passed bills that deliver on the progressive values all of the candidates say they support – but the question is whether he has put enough resources into TV ads to compete with the Trone-a-thon (and to a lesser extent the Matthews ads) that have blanketed the region with spots for his competitors.”

Source: “A hypothetical: If you could choose between a candidate who had a fantastic TV game but mediocre ground game, or a candidate with a fantastic ground game but mediocre TV game, who would you choose?  If you chose the latter, congrats, you’ve picked the winner of the CD8 race.”

Source: “Raskin isn’t a bad guy but the issues he’s advanced in the State Senate that he talks about frequently on the trail — a place with only 14 Republicans — have absolutely ZERO chance of happening in a Republican Congress. The key progressive battles in Congress won’t be waged in the near term on social issues, but as Chris Van Hollen showed, they’ll be fought on budget issues. That’s the effective progressive void CVH will leave in the House and Raskin simply doesn’t have the budget chops to fill it.”

Source: “He inherited Frosh’s very strong Montgomery County network which, along with his own record, gave him an instant third of the vote.  That’s an enviable position to be in.  On the other hand, he has a long voting record in a year of outsiders, is arguably to the left of Bernie Sanders, and doesn’t have a great deal of humility.  Still, if he wins it is a great victory for activism, involvement, and progressivism.”

Source: “Jamie’s candidacy is the test of whether there is value to being in the state legislature for people who aspire to higher profile office (offices on the top of the ballot that most voters learned about in civics class in high school – President, Senate, House). Hard working legislator, deep community connections, excellent reputation and undeniably brilliant. But, does he have any kind of advantage from having all of those elements in front of an electorate that does not follow Annapolis? Do the liberal party insiders who support him have as much electoral power as the state legislators and county councilmembers think they do? We’re about to find out!”

How He Could Win

Raskin supporters tend to be very liberal, know that Raskin is very liberal, and have lots of information about the race.  That message is reinforced through the grass-roots network that Raskin has built.  High information voters like these almost always vote and they will have an outsize impact on a low turnout election.  Turnout in Montgomery County has been trending downwards for years, and if that continues, it will favor Raskin.  Under this scenario, his people will stay with him and the remaining low information voters will be divided between Matthews and Trone.  Whether this will play out in the context of a competitive Democratic presidential primary is anyone’s guess, but Raskin’s base is the envy of the field and he has a good chance to win.

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Miller Touts Raskin, Disses Franchot in One Stroke on Opening Day

The Maryland Senate is just not a safe space for Peter Franchot.

On the opening day of session, many luminaries come before the General Assembly to say hello and give brief remarks. When Senate President Mike Miller introduced Brian Frosh, I’m told he said enthusiastically something along the lines of “Welcome to the Attorney General. He served in this body for many years.” followed by very welcoming applause from his former colleagues.

As Franchot rose to speak, Miller introduced him offhandedly as the “tax collector” to very scattered, tepid applause. However, the chamber gave a resounding round of applause when Miller next reminded the body that Franchot used to represent Sen. Jamie Raskin and touted Raskin as someone who was going to do a terrific job as the next congressman from the Eighth District.

Miller also compared Franchot to Trump in a television interview, so I guess it’s safe to say that they’re no longer BFFs. More dangerous for Franchot is the broader estrangement from the Democratic Party that the moment revealed.

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Raskin In for the Eighth, Madaleno Staying in MD Senate

A Photo from Three Years Ago that Works Even Better Today
(Photo: Edward Kimmel)

Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-18) mentioned to Kevin Gillogly (reported on his Facebook page) that he is not running for the Eighth Congressional District and will stay in the Maryland Senate, where he is Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

In the Baltimore Sun, Sen. Raskin said previously that he was loathe to oppose Sen. Madaleno who is “like a brother to me” but otherwise, “wild horses” wouldn’t keep him out of Eighth Congressional District race. As Madaleno is not running and the nearest wild horses in Chicoteague don’t seem likely to take up Raskin’s challenge by swimming to the Eighth, it seems safe to say Jamie is running for Congress.

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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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UPDATE: Raskin Statement on North Flyer

From Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20):

“I have had a number of calls from confused constituents and candidates about this piece, which I was totally unaware of. It quotes a statement I made in September of last year at Terrill’s kickoff for one of the at-large Council seats. But I have not endorsed Terrill for the District 5 seat and have made that clear to people who have called me about this.”

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