Tag Archives: Jamie Raskin

There is Still Time to Move to District 20 or 40

vacancy

Eighth Congressional District Democratic Nominee Jamie Raskin will presumably vacate his State Senate seat some time after the November elections. A number of people’s names are already being bandied about to fill the seat, including Heather Mizeur who  represented D20 in the House of Delegates until 2015 but now lives on the Eastern Shore.

Good news for Mizeur and any other potential Senate aspirants. There is still time to establish residency in D20 because Article III, Section 9 of Maryland’s Constitution requires that legislators live in a district for only six months in advance of the election. May 9th is six months before the day after Election Day.

Sen. Raskin could wait until being sworn into Congress to resign his seat, which would delay the appointment process. As the General Assembly session begins in January, I imagine he would want to start the ball rolling earlier, so that someone could be in the seat from the beginning of the session.

Of course, all of the above also applies to District 40, which can expect with equal certainty that now Sen. Catherine Pugh will become Mayor of the City of Baltimore after the general election. So watch for any moving trucks in these districts!

 

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Division at Unity Rally?

The Democratic Unity Rally may not have been the best way to demonstrate that Maryland Democrats are united moving from primary seats towards November.

On the good news front, Joseline Peña-Melnyk and Glenn Ivey both showed up and were gracious in their support of Democratic Fourth Congressional District Nominee Anthony Brown.

From the Eighth Congressional District, Kumar Barve and Joel Rubin came and lent support to Democratic Nominee Jamie Raskin. (UPDATE: Will Jawando was there too.) David Trone, Kathleen Matthews and Ana Sol Gutierrez were not there but I know that both Trone and Matthews have endorsed Raskin. No information on Gutierrez but I’d be surprised if she was not supportive of her colleague in the General Assembly.

The biggest rift remains from the U.S. Senate race. Rep. Donna Edwards was noticeably absent after her tough loss to colleague Chris Van Hollen. People in the Edwards camp believe she was badly treated by establishment Democrats and the Washington Post.

Frankly, I think these day-after the election events are a bit hard on the candidates. All are exhausted from lack of sleep and emotions are often understandably raw. I admire the people who didn’t win for showing up – it’s a good, gracious, and right thing to do.

But I can also understand those who just need a moment. Regardless, I look forward to moves in coming days by both Edwards and Van Hollen to help bring Democrats together.

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CD8: The Aftermath

A guest blog by Adam Pagnucco.

For the sake of posterity, here are a few thoughts on The Aftermath of the historic race for Congress in District 8.

Jamie Raskin

Senator (soon-to-be Congressman) Raskin is now the King of MoCo Progressives, a title he would have gained even if he had lost the election.  Raskin is the King because of the kind of campaign he ran, which mixed liberal issues with a record of accomplishment, a dose of passion and a lot of inspiration.  The fact that he had two well-financed opponents, one of whom was self-funded, played into his narrative.  For progressives, he appealed to both their hearts and their brains.  His vote percentage, currently about a third of the electorate, came from high-information voters, super-liberals and Downcounty residents, a desirable base for almost any MoCo candidate.  It would not be a stretch to imagine that he had the support of 90% or more of the party activists who often play outsized parts in deciding County Council and state legislative races.

All of this gives Raskin enormous potential influence over county politics.  Chris Van Hollen was the most popular elected official in MoCo during his tenure in the U.S. House, but he was rather cautious about using that asset.  He endorsed sparingly in primaries, and even then with great care.  Examples include safe picks like County Executive Ike Leggett in 2014 and the incumbent state legislators in District 18, where he served as a State Senator and Delegate.  Van Hollen never took chances on endorsing unknown or controversial candidates.  Raskin will soon be approached by many politicians, incumbents and non-office holders alike, seeking his support.  Will Raskin follow the Van Hollen model and stay out of most races?  Or will he actively try to get very progressive candidates elected down the ballot?  Lots of politicians and activists would like to know the answer to this question!

David Trone

Ninety days ago, few voters had any idea who David Trone was.  Many millions of dollars later, Trone finished six points behind Raskin, a margin that could tighten a little bit as absentee ballots are counted.  As David Lublin has noted, Trone ran a competent, professional campaign that put batters on all the bases – advertising, mail and field.  He bested Kathleen Matthews, who had been running for many months, and smoked the rest of the field.

Trone should be encouraged by his showing in Carroll and Frederick Counties, where he finished with 53% and 52% of the vote, respectively (and that is before absentee counts come in).  If Congressman John Delaney runs for Governor, Trone’s performance in the two Western Maryland counties suggests that he has potential in Congressional District 6.  If Trone would like to run for office again – and he is considering it – one weakness that he should consider addressing is the allegation that he has not been involved in local affairs.  Trone would be a great champion for the local business community, and he could also be a patron for Democratic Party activities and institutions.  Projects like these would shore up his hometown credibility and set him up well for Round Two, whatever that might be.

Kathleen Matthews

Along with U.S. Senate candidate Donna Edwards, Matthews was the biggest disappointment of the night.  She ran a well-funded, female-oriented campaign against two leading opponents who were men.  She had great fundraising and solid TV ads.  The electorate is sixty percent female.  Hillary Clinton won the presidential primary in Maryland by thirty points.  And yet Matthews finished third with 24% of the vote.  How does that happen?  One theory is that Trone won over many of the more moderate voters who might have found Matthews appealing, and there is something to that.  Another theory is that Matthews’s campaign, along with that of Donna Edwards, illustrates the limitations of pure identity politics.  And finally, her generic campaign had little local dimension to it and did not create sufficient distinction from her opponents.

Ana Sol Gutierrez

Trailing badly in fundraising, mail and television, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez still finished fourth.  When the precinct results come in, she will probably have significant vote totals in Wheaton, Long Branch, Glenmont and areas near University Boulevard, all places with significant Latino populations.  This will firmly entrench her as the Queen Mother of MoCo Latinos and also shows the latent political potential of that community.  That’s not a bad consolation prize.

Will Jawando

When is it a candidate’s time, and when is that time past?  That is the key question with Will Jawando.  His talent, charisma, intelligence and presentation skills are undeniable.  He’s a very good fundraiser and came close to winning a District 20 Delegate seat two years ago.  And MoCo needs more young leaders of color.  But Jawando was never going to win this race and now he has two losses on his record.  Yes, candidates can come back from that – Marc Elrich, for example, lost four times before being elected to the County Council.  But Elrich is an exception and repeated losses tend to reduce both support and fundraising capability for most candidates.  Our hunch is that Jawando has one more good election in him that he would very much need to win.

Another factor is the upcoming District 20 appointment process.  The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will appoint a successor to Jamie Raskin’s Senate seat when he vacates it.  The appointee will most likely be one of the two freshman Delegates, David Moon or Will Smith.  That will then open a Delegate seat vacancy.  Jawando, who finished fourth in the House race in 2014, would have had a significant claim to that appointment.  But running unsuccessfully against the King of MoCo Progressives – a man who has been the undeniable King of District 20 for a decade – hurts his chances.  This was a missed opportunity all around.

Kumar Barve

If voters voted on resumes, Delegate Kumar Barve would have won.  He has been in office since 1990 and has adroitly climbed the Annapolis ladder to House Majority Leader and standing committee chair.  He has been involved in every major policy debate at the state level for many years.  And he’s whip-smart, well-spoken and funny as hell.  But Barve couldn’t get traction in the race as he was drowned out by the better-funded candidates.  Barve didn’t get what he wanted, but MoCo residents will get something valuable as he goes back to Annapolis: a dedicated, substantive leader on environmental and transportation issues.

That’s about it for now.  We will be following up with data on this election as it becomes available.  In any event, one thing is sure: this race will be remembered around here for a long, LONG time.

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Updated: Broadcast TV Spending in CD8

The following is a guest post by Adam Pagnucco.

We are now at the end of a record-breaking, historic and extremely expensive Democratic primary for Congress in District 8.  The leading category of spending in the race is television advertising.  Broadcast TV contracts for political ads are available on the Federal Communications Commission’s website, but they are not readily searchable or crunchable.  We tracked and broke down candidate spending on 127 contracts through noon, April 4 three weeks ago.  The updated data below pertains to 218 contracts uploaded as of Saturday afternoon, April 23, and should cover almost all broadcast TV spending in the primary.

First, let’s look at the number of spots and gross spending for each broadcaster.  This data does not include production costs for the ads, only payments to broadcasters to run them.

Broadcast TV Spending by Network

WRC-TV, the Washington NBC affiliate, has been the leading network here for years and accounts for roughly a third of spots and more than 40% of gross spending.  Its news programs, including the Today Show, the local news shows and NBC Nightly News, are among the most desirable – and most expensive – programs for political advertisers.  Three Baltimore broadcasters appear in our dataset because Total Wine co-owner David Trone is advertising on them to reach Carroll County voters.

Television spending has increased steadily since January 26, when Trone kicked off the CD8 2016 ad season.  Former WJLA anchor Kathleen Matthews began advertising on February 8.  Senator Jamie Raskin joined in on March 24 and Delegate Kumar Barve followed on April 6.  April has been a lucrative month for Washington broadcasters, especially WRC.

Broadcast TV Spending by Month

David Trone is the king of TV spending, accounting for the majority of spots and 75% of gross payments.  Trone heavily targets national and local news programs for his ads, considered by many to be solid places to reach voters.  Barve prefers these programs too.  Matthews keeps her costs down by mixing in cheaper daytime television like The Meredith Viera Show, Days of Our Lives, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, CBS Soaps and The Insider.  Raskin runs 15-second spots, half the length of his competitors, and that’s why he has the lowest cost per spot.

Candidate and Cost per Spot

Trone has been on TV the longest and has spent the most money by far, but the entrance of other candidates has cut into his dominance a bit.  Still, even in April when all spigots were opened, Trone had a 68% market share.  Trone spent almost as much on April broadcast TV as Matthews has spent on all items in her entire campaign, and more than Raskin has spent in total.

Candidate and Month

Despite his unprecedented TV spending, Trone’s campaign is not the most TV-intensive as a proportion of total funds.  That distinction belongs to Matthews.  Her broadcast TV spending accounts for 48% of the money she raised through April 6.  Trone’s TV spending accounts for 43% of his resources (including two late contributions through April 15).  Barve and Raskin trail on this measure.  Matthews is able to put more of her money into TV, an area in which she excels, because Emily’s List has basically taken over her mail program.  This is a significant advantage for Matthews.  Aside from the authority line, voters likely cannot distinguish between Emily’s List mailers and anything they have seen from the Matthews campaign.

Percent Spent on Broadcast TV

If spending alone determines the outcome of the race, Trone is going to win.  However, about sixty percent of the electorate is female and that will help Matthews.  And Raskin’s grass-roots support has been second to none.  We are headed towards an exciting finish!

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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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Updated: Fundraising in Congressional District 8

This is a guest blog by Adam Pagnucco.

Last October, we summarized fundraising in Congressional District 8 through the third quarter of 2015.  Today, we present updated numbers incorporating campaign finance reports through April 6, 2016, which are the last reports due before the primary.

First, let’s look at the top-line numbers by category.

Total Wine co-owner David Trone stands out.  His $12.5 million in resources, almost entirely self-funded, accounts for 67% of all money in the race.  Trone has set the all-time nationwide record for self-funding in a U.S. House primary and his financing approaches the range of recent major candidates for Maryland Governor.

Former WJLA anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews and Senator Jamie Raskin have both done well.  At the beginning of the race, many observers were predicting that it would take $2 million to win, and both Matthews and Raskin are roughly at that mark.  If it were not for Trone, their financial performance would be attracting more comment.  The other candidates combined have accounted for 9% of the election’s funding and face steep challenges to be heard.  (Dan Bolling’s report has not been filed as of this writing, so his numbers are not included here.)

Top Line

Unlike state and county contributions, federal contributions must be designated for the primary or the general.  The candidates have collected relatively little general election money and their budgets are almost entirely available for the primary.

Primary vs General

Burn rate, which is the percentage of money raised that has been spent, is not a terribly meaningful statistic at this point.  Most of the candidates’ money is gone now with the exception of Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, who can afford some late mailers if she wishes.  But Trone and Matthews have additional self-financing capacity, and even Raskin can self-fund to a limited extent.  (So far, he has given himself just $2,700.)  Additionally, this statistic is affected by the timing of bill payments.  Candidates who pay late look better on cash-on-hand than those who pay early.  Note: Trone’s raised figure includes the two self-funding contributions he made last week, but his cash on hand applies to April 6.  That makes his data not strictly comparable to the other candidates, but at this point, he and the others are spending as fast as they take money in.

Burn Rate

The maximum allowable individual contribution is $2,700 per election, both primary and general.  Matthews leads in this category.  Thirty percent of her fundraising has come from maximum checks and her average individual contribution is the highest in the field.  Raskin has the smallest average individual contribution, but that does not include his lead in unitemized contributions of $200 or less.  There’s no way to tell from the campaign finance reports how many of those small contributions he has received, but they total over $300,000.  Raskin is the race’s small dollar leader.

Avg Max Individual

In terms of geography, large amounts of out-of-state cash have been flowing into CD8.  Excluding self-financing and unitemized contributions, only Raskin has received a majority of his contributions from Maryland while Delegate Kumar Barve is close at 47%.  Nearly half of all money from Marylanders in this race has gone to Raskin.  Matthews, Gutierrez, Will Jawando, Joel Rubin and Dave Anderson have all received less than a third of their contributions from Marylanders other than themselves.  Rubin’s take from California is more than double his receipts from Maryland.  Matthews’ number one location of contributions is the District of Columbia and she leads in receipts from the District, Virginia, New York, California and Massachusetts.

By State

Here’s a breakdown by locality, both inside and outside the district.  Matthews leads in funding from Potomac and is basically tied with Raskin in Chevy Chase, while Raskin leads in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, Kensington and Takoma Park (the latter by light years).  Matthews dominates in fundraising from large localities outside the district.  She has raised more than three times as much money from New York City as she has from Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Rockville and Kensington combined.

By City

This data makes clear the fundraising strengths of CD8 candidates.  Trone is self-funding A LOT.  Matthews has tapped into a large monetary base combining national level Democrats, PACs and business money.  Raskin has national and PAC money too, but most of his financing is local and much of it is small dollar.  All three have the resources they need to win.  Given the fact that these three account for 91% of the funding in this race, it’s hard for the other candidates to break through.

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Three Strategies for Winning CD8

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

With roughly ten weeks until early voting begins in the 2016 primary, candidates for Congress in District 8 are entering the home stretch. Three candidates are leading the field, and each of them has a different strategy for winning. Whichever one of these strategies is best suited for the race will play a major role in determining the winner.

And these strategies are:

Spend

Roll Call recently reported that Total Wine co-owner David Trone made a $900,000 ten-day TV and radio ad buy in early February. Bethesda Magazine’s Lou Peck wrote, “The Trone campaign is making what is known in TV ad lingo as a 600-point buy: The aim is to ensure that 80 percent of adult viewers see an ad seven times or more.” And since Trone has nearly limitless resources and has vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to win, we should expect to see more of this.

Let’s put Trone’s opening bid in context. First, in ten days, he spent more than Senator Jamie Raskin’s entire cash on hand ($869,000) and almost as much as Kathleen Matthews’ entire cash on hand ($1.1 million). Second, this one expenditure is almost equal to Chris Van Hollen’s total spending in the 2002 primary ($1.1 million). Third, it’s more than half of what Congressional District 6 candidate John Delaney paid SKD Knickerbocker for media production and ad buys ($1.7 million) in the entire 2012 primary. And there’s still three months to go.

Trone must find Delaney’s success encouraging. And he certainly has a success story to share. But this year’s CD8 race is different in many respects from the CD6 race in 2012.

  1. CD8 is jam-packed with liberal Democrats in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington and Wheaton, while half of CD6 is located in considerably less liberal Western Maryland. The latter district is indisputably more hospitable to self-made businessmen like Trone and Delaney.
  1. Delaney’s principal rival, then-State Senator Rob Garagiola, did not have an aggressive grassroots operation as does Senator Jamie Raskin.
  1. The 2012 campaign did not feature a prominent female candidate like Kathleen Matthews.
  1. Delaney was endorsed by Bill Clinton and the Washington Post. Trone has no obvious connection to the Clintons and we will see what the Post chooses to do.

Trone definitely has the attention of the other candidates, with Delegate Kumar Barve sending out an email titled “Fighting Big Bullies” and Raskin stating, “Public office is something you earn, not something you buy.” Trone seems likely to break local race spending records. The big question is how CD8 Democratic primary voters will respond.

Organize

Jamie Raskin has built what is probably the biggest grassroots organizing operation in the county since Van Hollen’s 2002 race. Unlike most candidates who hide their internal campaign measures, Raskin puts them out for all to see. He has adeptly grown from his Takoma Park/Silver Spring base and tapped into activist networks all over the district, aided by his legions of local elected endorsers. He has responded to Kathleen Matthews by assembling a voluminous “Women for Jamie” group. And there is little question that a huge majority of the precinct-level liberal activists are with him.

The big question about Raskin is whether the time he is spending in Annapolis will impede his campaign’s ability to grow. Raskin is a superb one-on-one and small group campaigner. No one is better in a backyard full of progressives. Unlike many people with his level of intellect, Raskin comes across as both smart AND likable – a great talent for a politician. But with Raskin tied up in the Mike Miller Senate Office Building through early April, those assets are not as deployable and they don’t transfer quite as well to television or mail.

Another question about Raskin’s network is how far it penetrates into the community. He definitely has the activist liberals who are critical for winning State Senate and Delegate races. But what about PTA officers and volunteers, civic association leaders, faith leaders and small business people? Raskin is going to be outspent by both Trone and Matthews and his network must be big enough to offset that. If it is, Raskin can corral the progressive vote and win.

Stand Out

Three, maybe four, candidates will have the resources to compete. All of them will have a progressive message. All of them will talk about standard Democratic issues that are also being raised in the presidential campaign. But only one of them is a woman and only one of them has 25 years of experience on television. That’s Kathleen Matthews.

Let’s understand that nearly 60% of Montgomery County’s electorate is female no matter how you cut the data. The Matthews campaign certainly gets that. Below is the cover of the eight-page foldout lit piece that is currently being distributed by their field operation. You don’t need to see the rest of it; the cover says it all.

Matthews Door Cover

Here’s the reaction of the regular female voter who received that piece. “It’s a nice brochure. I haven’t thought about the race. But she is certainly hitting all the right marks for me as a female Dem. I have to admit that the thought of getting another woman in Congress, particularly someone with her knowledge and high profile, is tempting.”

That’s music to the ears of the Matthews campaign.

Matthews has a quiet, but growing field operation that is now roaming the district. Unlike Raskin, the campaign does not advertise its statistics. Her real strength is going to be on television. Trone can run all the ads he wants, but none of these candidates can match Matthews’ abilities on camera. Her campaign’s weakness is that it has not had much of a local dimension to this point. But one TV ad on a hot local issue like Metro could go a long way towards remedying that. No one is better equipped than Matthews to do a film shot at a Metro station with frustrated riders, and then pivot to the camera declaring, “Metro riders deserve better. When I am elected to Congress, I’ll fight to fix Metro!” Then the riders will shout, “We’re Metro riders and we approve this message!

Folks, these are all competent campaigns and this race is turning into one for the ages. It’s going to be a great three months until the end. Enjoy the ride!

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Confused Candidate Alert: Vogt Attacks Raskin–Who is Running in a Different District

Sixth District Republican Candidate David Vogt appears to think he is running against Eighth District Democratic Candidate Jamie Raskin. Yesterday, he issued a press release attacking Raskin for “dangerous political correctness”:

“Senator Raskin’s letter is evident of how dangerous and disturbing political correctness can be,” Vogt commented.  “As representatives, we owe it to our constituents to place their safety and security above all else.  Senator Raskin’s irresponsible approach would instead make Maryland a more dangerous place.”

“Until we have an effective and secure vetting process, Maryland should close its borders to anyone with potential terrorist ties.  That’s the only way we can be sure that we are keeping Marylanders safe,” Vogt concluded.

Vogt attacked Raskin for this letter, which Raskin authored and many Maryland legislators signed, to express support for Syrian refugees in the face of the fear incited by Gov. Larry Hogan and many other Republicans:

It’s easy to pick on Syrian refugees. They’re Arab. Most are Muslim. Understandably, many Americans fear terrorism and turmoil originating in that part of the world.

As Vogt likes to remind us–it’s mentioned twice at the beginning and twice again at the end of this short press release–he was a decorated marine who served this country well in Afghanistan. That honorable service and risking of life in our country’s defense deserves to be honored.

But it also takes guts to stand up in support of an unpopular and highly vulnerable group. Raskin isn’t being politically correct here. He’s standing up in support of the very ideals that we’re grateful to Vogt for defending even as I disagree with his stance here.

I’m no fan of political correctness–it’s often overbearing and tiresome. Moreover, it makes it easier for bigots like Donald Trump to brand Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals in the name of fighting political correctness.

Real leadership, however, is often not about whipping up fear but promoting calm. As John Oliver has pointed out, this country has an extensive vetting process for Syrian refugees–a fact that somehow never seems to get mentioned in these calls to keep them out.

Whatever you think of Raskin’s stance, it’s a principled one. It’s easy for leaders to go along with the majority but we should also admire when they’re willing to defend passionately and cogently a minority view. It shows a lot more political courage than Vogt’s press release.

 

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Will David Trone Take the Plunge?

Washington Post Reporter Bill Turque has confirmed that David Trone is “mulling” a bid for Congress. The news that Trone had a poll in the field testing messages about himself and two opponents was “first reported” here at the Seventh State.

Turque’s report concurs with my assessment that a Trone run “might cut more” into Kathleen Matthews’ support:

Should Trone decide to run, it would not be good news for Matthews, who is courting the kind of business community support that Trone could also claim. Trone would also likely diminish Matthews’ fundraising advantage (more than $1 million through Sept. 30), which she has accumulated through the network of corporate and political contacts developed in tandem with her husband Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Indeed, several think Trone is considering the plunge precisely because of concerns regarding Matthews:

 Some District 8 political insiders speculate that Trone is weighing the race because private sector leaders are not confident that Matthews, also a political novice, can beat Raskin, a popular incumbent state lawmaker from Takoma Park[.]

Trone is wealthier than Matthews, so he would be able to spend even more money on his own campaign. Other than that, I don’t know why Trone would be a better candidate than Matthews, who brings oodles of media and public relations experience to her campaign.

Women compose a disproportionate share of the Democratic primary electorate, so Matthews might have the advantage there as well. Matthews is one of two women in the race along with Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez (D-18).

No doubt Trone’s poll may provide some private illumination to help him assess his chances. The filing deadline is February 3rd, so we’ll know if Trone is in or out within eight days.

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Game of Trone? David Trone Tests Waters in Eighth District

David TroneDavid Trone

David Trone of Total Wine is thinking about becoming a late entry into the Eighth Congressional District Democratic primary. Trone has never held or run for elective office previously but is wealthy and could self finance a campaign.

Trone is currently conducting a poll that tests general opinions about candidates as well as the impact of messages regarding Kathleen Matthews and Jamie Raskin. So what is Trone’s game?

Messages Tested about Trone

The positive messages tested about Trone include information that he has never been involved in politics, grew up on a farm and then grew a family business, gave millions to liberal causes, and will self-fund rather than take money from special interests.

Trone’s nascent campaign also tested concerns regarding messages that he has been involved in numerous business and private lawsuits, given money to politicians who could affect his business, and failed to vote several times. Kind of Trone to do the opposition research for his potential opponents.

Messages Tested about Matthews and Raskin

The negative messages tested about Kathleen Matthews are that she said she didn’t know anything about business and was just a PR person for Marriott. Additionally, the poll mentioned that she made the maximum allowed contribution to Missouri Sen. Blunt, who is very anti-choice and tried to remove birth control from Obamacare.

The poll looked at the effect of telling voters that Jamie Raskin once represented Ross Perot and defended Ralph Nader’s participation in the 2000 presidential debate. Additionally, Raskin was characterized as an Annapolis insider endorsed by Mike Miller and the Annapolis establishment.

Analysis

It’s very late to get into the game and build a campaign organization but Trone certainly has the money to conduct a good media campaign. I imagine Trone could also hire a bunch of people to help with the ground campaign but hired door knockers and phone callers are just never nearly as good as volunteers.

Trone appears to want to present himself as a savvy business outsider–the same appeal as Donald Trump only presumably without the outrageous racist baggage. Matthews is currently seen as the candidate with stronger business ties, so his entry might cut more into her potential support.

None of the potential attacks strike me as particularly effective. The attack on Matthews’ business skills strikes me as one that provides her with a major opportunity to come out swinging and plays to her well-honed media skills. I suspect it would rebound on Trone. Why a candidate who has made many campaign donations would want to highlight a single one by Matthews is also a bit of a mystery.

The attack on Raskin for defending debate participation is dated and arcane. Though Mike Miller has been Senate President since the time of James Monroe, I suspect few voters are truly aware of the powers he wields. Among Democrats, the Annapolis establishment hardly inspires terror in any case.

Remember that many Eighth District voters work in Washington and live inside the Beltway, so these attacks may just not resonate here. If this is the worst Trone can conjure up, both Matthews and Raskin have little to fear.

I imagine Trone hopes to be another John Delaney who comes in and sweeps more established candidates aside. The problem is that Matthews is not a long-time politician and Raskin has always run as a progressive change candidate. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutiérrez have ties to voters and their own forms of outsider appeals.

Trone’s money nevertheless gives him the potential to shake up the race. If nothing else, his entry would highlight the issue of liquor control in Montgomery County. Total Wine is based in Montgomery County but cannot open one of its stores here.

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