Tag Archives: Jamie Raskin

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!

Share

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.

Share

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.

Share

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!

Share

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.

 

Share

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.

Share

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.

Share

All Politics is Local . . . Right?

Today, I’m pleased to present a guest post by Adam Pagnucco.

“All politics is local” according to the famous quote by former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Moreover, any occasional viewer of Hardball, the MSNBC politics show featuring his former Chief of Staff Chris Matthews, can probably hear the host’s voice repeating it over and over. In fact, he actually titled an entire chapter of one of his books with that phrase and explored its meaning in detail.

So who would disagree with this hallowed political wisdom? Apparently, none other than Chris Matthews’ wife and current candidate for Congress in District 8, Kathleen Matthews.

Kathleen Matthews is a formidable candidate with many strengths. She has name recognition from her long-time career as a local news anchor that would make most candidates green with envy. She’s great on TV and radio. She’s smart, well-spoken and attractive. She raises all the resources she needs to win. And she is a female candidate running against a group of mostly men, which is a plus in a Democratic primary tilted heavily to female voters.

But her campaign is so generic that it would be equally applicable to someone running in California, Massachusetts or New York.

Check out her issues page and her Facebook page. Almost everything her campaign discusses is a national issue. There’s nothing inherently wrong with talking about national issues.  Congress is a federal institution and deals with national and international matters. Gun control, the environment, education, the Middle East, women’s health and more are all important and she’s right to discuss them

The problem is that there’s almost no locally relevant content to go along with it. It feeds the vibe that her campaign is planned and executed by national-level, D.C.-connected operatives with no understanding of Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick Counties. And this is particularly surprising given the fact that Kathleen Matthews covered local issues as a journalist for twenty-five years.

Want to go local? Here’s how.

1. Metro

It’s impossible to understate the frustration that Metro riders have with WMATA. And how can one miss the drumbeat of local press coverage–assuming that one actually READS local press coverage? Riders want a fix and Members of Congress can play a big role. But Metro is buried in the Environment section of Matthews’ issues page.

Delegate Kumar Barve, one of Matthews’ opponents, gets it. Here is one of his many statements on Facebook about it. “METRO NEEDS TO BE FIXED!” blares Barve, echoing a sentiment with which few CD8 voters would disagree. Freshman Delegate Marc Korman made WMATA arguably his number one issue in 2014 and defeated a better-funded opponent with the Apple Ballot in Bethesda, an area where Matthews needs to do well. (Does any member of Matthews’ campaign staff know what an Apple Ballot is?)

Barve WMATA

2. Other Transportation Issues

Transportation and education have been the two most important issues in Montgomery County since, well . . .  no one here remembers when they weren’t the Big Two. But Matthews’ issues page has no transportation section. All of the key transportation solutions on the table required big federal bucks: the Purple Line, getting money for the Corridor Cities Transitway, remedying congestion on I-270, dealing with the American Legion Bridge and getting financing for Montgomery County’s proposed bus rapid transit system are all appropriate issues for federal involvement.

3. Immigration

This issue is both national and local and it is another no-show on the Matthews issues page. Many CD8 communities, including Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Wheaton, are filled with first- and second-generation immigrants of many nationalities. Barve and Delegate Ana Sol Gutiérrez are talking about this a lot and most CD8 candidates are addressing it. Is Matthews?

4. Localize National Issues

There are ways to talk about national issues while rooting them firmly in local affairs. Take a look at Senator Jamie Raskin’s issues page. He touches on many of the same matters as Matthews, but he discusses them in Maryland-specific terms while touting his specific accomplishments. Here are two more examples of Raskin discussing education and the environment employing a local frame. Whatever one may think of Raskin, he is definitely running in Maryland!

Raskin schools

Raskin environment

5. Meet the Neighbors

This is Raskin’s great strength. His campaign has deployed one of the best local field operations in recent memory and openly brags about its success. Raskin’s supporters extend beyond the establishment types (who can sometimes be a mixed blessing) and go down into the ranks of grass-roots activists–the kind of people who provide ground energy for campaigns. Some of his solicitations have so many names on them that even the most diligent reader can’t make it to the end. Does the Matthews campaign have lists of precinct officials, PTA officers, civic association board members and religious leaders to contact? How many of these local leaders have been asked to meet the candidate? Matthews is by many accounts an impressive person capable of making a good impression. How much is that strength being utilized?

6. Know Our History

The Annapolis establishment is mostly with Raskin, and the rest of it is with Barve. That’s not necessarily a problem for Matthews, as there is a certain segment of the electorate that dislikes political “bosses” and they respond well to perhaps her most important supporter, Comptroller Peter Franchot. So what does her campaign do? It lumps in news of Franchot’s endorsement with endorsements by two U.S. Senators with no connection to Maryland as well as former Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

Anyone with any knowledge of Maryland politics would know that Townsend was responsible for one of the most humiliating defeats in state Democratic Party history, the loss of the Governor’s seat to Republican Bob Ehrlich, and it all began when unknown retired retail clerk Bob Fustero got more than 20% of the vote in the Democratic primary. The Franchot endorsement is a big deal.  It can be used to good effect with fiscally moderate Democrats, especially in Carroll and Frederick Counties, and it can be used to fuel a similar anti-establishment narrative to the one used by now-Congressman John Delaney in 2012. But announcing the Townsend endorsement at the same time sent a signal to anyone acquainted with state politics that Matthews’ campaign has little understanding of our history or current political scene.

One more thing. Where  is former County Executive Doug Duncan?  He may be Matthews’ most prominent local supporter other than Franchot and he has a sizeable following in Montgomery County. He was a key early backer of John Delaney. But he is not mentioned at all on Matthews’ website.

7. Come Out Strong on a Hot Local Issue

Speaking of the Comptroller, he has a knack for latching onto hot local issues that help him build his base. For example, what do air conditioners in Baltimore County Public Schools have to do with the Comptroller’s core duties of tax collection and regulation of alcohol and tobacco? Absolutely nothing. But Franchot and Governor Larry Hogan are using the issue to bedevil a common adversary, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, and are fortifying their support in one of the state’s key jurisdictions.

The counterpart issue in Montgomery County is the county’s notorious liquor monopoly, on which the Comptroller has been a resolute opponent. David Lublin has written of the substantial opportunities available to any politician who dares to challenge the county employee union and call for open competition. Even if you disagree with me on the issue (and I am its organizer), consider three facts:

First, a substantial number of Democrats want the alcohol laws to be reformed. Second, if just one candidate in a multi-candidate race agrees with that position, those voters will flow towards that one candidate and away from the others, creating an advantage. And third, the monopoly’s principal defender, the county employee union, would never endorse Matthews no matter what since there are several other candidates in the field with long pro-labor voting records. So Matthews has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Why not call for Ending the Monopoly and pick up some votes?

Look, folks.  Kathleen Matthews is a top-tier candidate and she could definitely win. But if she doesn’t, this is why: so far, her campaign does not believe that All Politics is Local. Or really, that Any Politics is Local at All.

Share

Franchot Endorses Matthews

From the press release:

“As a proud resident of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, I am happy to announce my support of my friend, Kathleen Matthews, in her campaign for Congress,” said Peter Franchot.  “Having known Kathleen for many years, I believe she will bring to Congress a fresh perspective, new talent and a sensible approach to the challenges facing our state and country. She is a proven advocate for equality and social justice, and one who is also capable of reaching across the aisle to achieve meaningful results at a time when toxic partisanship has crippled Washington and alienated countless Americans from our political process.”

This is a nice endorsement for Kathleen Matthews. Franchot used to represent the same territory as her leading opponent, Jamie Raskin. He is the probably the most well-known in-state official to endorse Matthews.

Over the years, Franchot has tacked from being seen as one of the stronger progressive leaders to a leading voice for fiscal restraint. This endorsement should help Matthews continue to consolidate support from business and fiscally moderate Democrats.

On the other hand, this endorsement helps set up the primary as one of Jamie Raskin and the progressive wing versus Kathleen Matthews and and more centrist Democrats. As the progressive wing has been increasingly ascendant in Montgomery Democratic primaries, this provides opportunities for Raskin.

Raskin’s current problem, however, is that he will be tied up in Annapolis for the legislative session, while Matthews is free to campaign aggressively. Dels. Kumar Barvé and Ana Sol Gutiérrez, who are also in the mix for this seat, face the same challenge.

 

Share

Congressional Progressive Action PAC Endorses Raskin

PAP

Sen. Jamie Raskin has just gained a valuable endorsement from the Progressive Action PAC, the political arm of the 72-member Congressional Caucus, in his bid for the Democratic nomination in the Eighth Congressional District.

Why is this good for Jamie Raskin?

Validation. Jamie Raskin has campaigned as the progressive leader in the race. This endorsement provides important validation for his message from national leaders. It’s fine to have have a message but candidates need other leaders to vouch for it.

Spotlight. Other candidates in the race are also trying to position themselves as strong progressives. This endorsement sends the message that Jamie Raskin is the progressive choice. Put more bluntly, progressives should rally around this candidate.

Money. While the Progressive Action PAC will undoubtedly provide some money directly to the campaign, the endorsement is even more useful as a signal to donors. It reinforces the endorsements from other progressive groups and leaders.

Effectiveness. The endorsement makes clear that Jamie Raskin is the candidate with whom other progressives in Congress want to work. The established relationships indicated by the endorsement suggests that he would find more doors already open.

Beyond an Identity Group. Del. Kumar Barve has won support from Asian Americans in Congress while EMILY’s List has gotten behind Kathleen Matthews’ effort. No question that support from these groups is extremely valuable in multiple way. Not having them would send a negative message. But endorsements from issue-based groups allow a candidate to build beyond an identity constituency.

From the press release put out by the Raskin campaign:

SILVER SPRING, MD – Progressive Action PAC, the political arm of the 72-Member Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced today that it has endorsed State Senator Jamie Raskin in his campaign for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District.

“Jamie is a passionate progressive, has a proven record of legislative accomplishment, and has put together an impressive grassroots campaign that engages in serious policy discussion about the critical issues of our time, including gun safety, criminal justice reform, and environmental change,” said Congressman Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “I am endorsing Jamie because I know he will be an effective progressive leader for the people of Maryland when he comes to Congress.”

“I’m honored to endorse Jamie Raskin for Congress. He’s not just a progressive activist but a national thought leader and a seasoned legislative actor who gets things done,” said Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“With Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrats have the chance to send to Congress one of the country’s most effective progressive leaders,” said Congressman Mark Pocan, First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Whether it is voting rights, campaign finance reform, gun violence prevention, environmental progress or civil rights and liberties, Jamie has delivered time and again as a Maryland State Senator and a respected professor of constitutional law. I’m endorsing Jamie because we need him to stand up in Congress for the American people against big-money special interests and to defend the Constitution and Bill of Rights against the Tea Party.”

The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus and consists of 72 Congressional members. Founded in 1991, the CPC is a diverse and powerful caucus that advocates for a strong progressive agenda. Progressive Action PAC is the political arm of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and endorses candidates for Congress across the country who champion progressive change in America.

“What an honor,” said Senator Raskin. “I want to thank the Progressive Action PAC and Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for their support.  I’m inspired and fortified by great leaders like Congressman Grijalva, Ellison and Pocan, and I will work with all the Members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to go out and elect a Democratic Congress and a progressive agenda.”

Senator Raskin added: “I’m running on a decade-long record of effective progressive leadership in Annapolis. I want to go to Congress take on the NRA to pass common-sense gun reform, to combat climate change and break from the carbon barons, and to address the striking economic and political inequality in America that is eroding the middle class and thwarting opportunity for millions of people.”

Share