Tag Archives: Chris Van Hollen

Van Hollen to Endorse Baker for Governor

Sen. Chris Van Hollen is set to endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker for governor tomorrow.

During the 2016 Democratic primary, Baker took heat from some corners for endorsing Van Hollen over then-Rep. Donna Edwards in the hotly contested Senate race. Like Baker, Edwards is African American and from Prince George’s. Baker’s bet has now paid off handsomely with Van Hollen returning the favor and endorsing him early for governor in a large field.

This is a big endorsement for Baker, as it gives him an entry to new areas of the state. Critical to making use of any endorsement, however, is an ability to take advantage of it by communicating it to voters along with other reasons to vote Baker. Putting that together will require money and a good campaign team.

They seem off on the wrong foot. I don’t know why they’ve chosen to go big with this major endorsement on the Friday before the Virginia elections. Still, Baker will have plenty of time to tout Van Hollen’s support, which will be more valuable if Van Hollen is game to introduce him publicly, cut commercials, or connect him with major donors to political campaigns.

Here is the Baker campaign’s press release:

TOMORROW: U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen to Endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III to be Governor of Maryland

Upper Marlboro, MD –  Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen will announce his endorsement and support of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III for Governor of the State of Maryland at 11:00 a.m. during a media event at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, 8001 Sheriff Road, in Landover, MD.  During this endorsement event, Senator Van Hollen and County Executive Baker will also address the impact and consequences of Republican attacks on and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I am proud and honored to have the endorsement of Senator Van Hollen for my candidacy as Governor,” said Baker.  “I have known and worked with Chris for nearly 30 years and am proud to call him not only a colleague but a friend.  Chris’ sterling reputation as a budget and policy wonk is only matched by his compassion and dedication to his constituents in Maryland.  Chris was an incredible Maryland State Delegate, Maryland State Senator,  Congressional Representative, and, now, as our U.S. Senator, he is fighting every day on Capitol Hill for the issues and concerns of every Marylander.  I thank him for his endorsement and am confident that as Governor of Maryland, we will accomplish so much for the residents of this great state.”

WHAT:
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen Endorses Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III to be Governor of Maryland

WHEN:
Friday, November 3, 2017, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD

Note: I have mentioned it previously but wanted to remind readers that I am supporting Rich Madaleno for governor.

 

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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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The State of Play Before Primary Night I

The Presidential

Maryland was made for Hillary Clinton. She has done very well among African-American voters, who form 30% of the State’s population and will comprise a higher share of Democratic primary voters. The exit polls from 2008 indicated that women composed a staggering 62% of the primary vote, another good demographic for Clinton this year.

Finally, Bernie Sanders is running as an anti-establishment candidate in a State where many primary voters literally live inside the Beltway. While the Obama campaign swept many of these same areas in 2008, there is no remotely parallel wave for Bernie Sanders.

On the Republican side, I suspect Trump will have a good night. Class dynamics are unusually inverted in Maryland with many upper class Democrats and working class Republicans, who have provided the backbone for Trump’s support elsewhere.  Will Gov. Larry Hogan end up having to explain whether he’ll support Trump to the same Republican coalition that elected him?

The U.S. Senate

In Maryland, the presidential primary has ceded marquee status to the hard fought battle between Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen. It has become a battle between the uncompromising progressive and the person who gets progressive results.

EMILY’s List upped the octane in this race by dumping millions on the side of Edwards, providing the bulk of her campaign funding. No doubt this has been a unpleasant surprise for Van Hollen, who likely expected to dominate due to his fundraising prowess and has enjoyed strong support from women’s groups in the past.

Lately, however, these advertisements have become a mixed blessing, as bizarre attempts to characterize Van Hollen as opposed to gun control or campaign finance provoked a backlash from the White House and critics. See Jonathan Shurberg’s excellent summary.

Edwards has been hoping that her compelling personal story, ability to bring some diversity to the Senate, and strong progressive credentials will help her unite progressive white and African-American voters into a winning coalition.

However, after months of a tight race, polls indicate that Van Hollen is pulling ahead but the voters will have the ultimate say tonight. If he does become the Democratic senatorial nominee, commenters will likely point to several factors.

First, I don’t think Edwards has convinced voters that she is more progressive than Van Hollen in any meaningful way. Van Hollen has also managed to sell the argument that he is not just progressive but accomplishes progressive goals more compellingly than Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.

Next, Edwards has not obtained support from key African-American officials, like County Executives Rushern Baker and Isiah Leggett. The silences from Rep. Elijah Cummings’ office and the Congressional Black Caucus are also deafening. Edwards has nonetheless done an impressive job uniting black support across the State, particularly in light of these gaps in her support base.

As she goes into the final stretch, Edwards has hammered home her personal story and that she would be only the second black woman in the Senate. No one could seriously argue against the desirability for more diversity in the Senate.

But the dominance of this argument risks reducing her campaign to only identity politics. It needs leavening with other elements to sustain substantial cross-racial appeal even though the Black Lives Matter movement gives it a natural energy that could still make this a close race tonight.

I know too little about the Republican race to comment.

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Sierra Club Endorses Van Hollen

From the Press Release:
Bladensburg, MD — Today, Sierra Club’s Maryland Chapter announced the endorsement of Representative Chris Van Hollen for election to the US Senate in 2016. In response, Chair of the Maryland Chapter, Baird Straughan, released the following statement:

“The Sierra Club endorses Congressman Van Hollen because he has the proven ability to transform an environmental vision into effective legislation. If we are to meet the environmental challenges of the 21st Century, we need legislators who have the knowledge, commitment, and leadership skills documented in Rep. Van Hollen’s record.

“More than 15 years ago, State Senator Van Hollen led the successful fight to pass the Maryland Clean Energy Incentives Act of 2000. That leadership has continued unabated ever since. He won a ban on drilling in parts of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He was the lead sponsor of the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. He co-chairs the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change and the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus, and is a member of the Safe Climate Caucus. And now, he is now a leading sponsor of “Frack Pack” legislation that would close oil and gas loopholes and responsibly regulate fracking at the Federal level.

“We’re endorsing Congressman Van Hollen because today’s environmental crises have reached a breaking point — not just for the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland, but for our country and the world. Rep. Van Hollen has proven his ability to work through the gridlock of the U.S. Senate, and pass legislation that creates the solutions that are so critically needed today.”

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Analysis: Van Hollen Wins Rural Straw Poll

Chris Van Hollen received 80% support in a straw poll for the U.S. Senate primary held at a summit of rural Democrats. So far, only Van Hollen and his colleague in the U.S. House, Donna Edwards, have jumped in the race for the Democratic nomination.

In heavily suburban Maryland, how important are rural voters in a Democratic primary? The following table shows the share of all Democratic primary voters in Maryland’s three rural regions in the 2008, 2012, and 2014 Democratic primaries:

RuralPDemFor purposes of this table, Western Maryland includes Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll Counties. Southern Maryland is Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties. The Eastern Shore includes the nine counties east of the Bay. (Of course, these counties also include some urban and suburban areas.)

Together, these three regions hold approximately one-sixth of Maryland’s Democratic primary voters. Despite their reputation as mostly Republican turf, no candidate will want to ignore this many voters. Moreover, the media market centered on Salisbury is also far cheaper than the other Maryland markets.

Democratic primary turnout in rural Maryland has differed by 2.1% or less than the State as a whole and has not been consistently higher or lower than the rate for all Democrats:

RuralPDemTOThe difference hasn’t varied that much regardless of the overall level of turnout. However, the 2012 results suggest that, perhaps, rural voters are slightly less likely to stay away in low turnout contests. In that race, rural turnout exceeded the rest of the State by 1.5%. In contrast, rural Democratic primary turnout was lower than the State as a whole in the higher turnout 2008 and 2014 primaries.

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Elijah for Senate?

Elijah-Cummings-AP-Images-hearing

A US Senate race between Rep. Elijah Cummings and Rep. Chris Van Hollen would be an epic and historic race to behold, and might  reduce Donna Edwards–who has the least seniority of the three and is the weakest fundraiser by far–to the role of spoiler.

A Regional Candidate
Congressmen Cummings could be expected to carry the City of Baltimore by a bone crushingly large margin. A similar margin could be expected in suburban Howard County, where he is popular. Elijah would also likely win Baltimore County–he already represents a large swath of it.

Elijah might also challenge hometown heroine Donna Edwards in Prince George’s County. Many local leaders are not close with Rep. Edwards and might lend their support to Rep. Cummings. Regardless, if Reps. Van Hollen and Edwards split the suburban DC vote, Rep. Cummings could emerge as victor based on unified support in the 410 area code.

Overlap
No question about it, if Elijah enters the race, he causes serious problems for Donna Edwards. She would no longer be able to hope to claim a base of African American voters in Baltimore City and would face serious competition in her own home base of Prince George’s.

At the outset, a split black field would seem to help CVH. But natural areas of expansions outside of Montgomery for Chris from Ellicott City to Towson would be cut off. On the whole, I’d see Elijah’s entry into the race as a win for Chris, but I think he’s a lot more likely to lose to Elijah than Donna.

 

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Jamie Raskin for Congress?

Jamieraskin

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

Getting Elected in District 20

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

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

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

In the Senate

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

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

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

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

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

Campaign and Competition

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

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

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

Overlap with Other Candidates

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

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John Delaney for Senate?

delaney

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

Money, Money, Money

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

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

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

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

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

And frankly, that stuff works.

But Money Can’t Buy You Love

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

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

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

Labor

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

Overlap and Niche

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

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

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

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Analysis: Decisive Van Hollen Jumps In the Race

Chris Van Hollen Takes on FOX News

I had wondered if Chris Van Hollen might play Hamlet and have a tough time making a decision on whether or not to enter the Senate race. After all, he ranks high in the House Leadership and was tipped as a strong candidate for Speaker. But I didn’t have to wonder for long. Rep. Van Hollen acted decisively and entered the race.

He brings a lot of major advantages to his candidacy.

Strong Montgomery Base

Chris Van Hollen’s base in Montgomery is strong and large. Thanks to redistricting, he has represented most of it at one time or another. While we have many well-liked pols, Chris is the most widely popular and respected. Put another way, his is the endorsement that most state legislative candidates in the County want on their mailers.

He will have a large army of loyal and excited volunteers, including many who worked on his congressional campaign. Equally important, he already has very smart advisers such as Joan Kleinman and Karen MacManus. Like so many originally from Louisiana, Karen has very quick political sense and a formidable ability to organize and get things done.

Money

Van Hollen’s campaign will be very well funded. The Sun reported that he already has $1.7 million cash-on-hand. As a former head of the DCCC, his network could hardly be more extensive. Having raised so much money for many his colleagues, he may benefit from their support is well.

Record and Skill Set

But the most important advantage held by Van Hollen is that many see him as the full package: a policy wonk who can also strategize and communicate. He has always been fast on his feet challenging Republicans on the floor or on television. Equally important, he conveys the Democratic message in an appealing and completely understandable way.

And Rep. Van Hollen doesn’t do this by temporizing. He is unafraid to stand up for progressive priorities, such as when he opposed the CROmnibus. Just watch one of many examples in the above clips in which he wins the debate not just intellectually but in terms of communication even on FOX.

Like Sen. Barbara Mikulski, he is good at looking after the home team as well. For example, he worked to secure at $15 million federal grant that allowed 14 Maryland community colleges to train workers in cyber security. Another $300K federal grant helped to provide “technical training to veteran-owned businesses seeking federal procurement opportunities.”

Challenges and Overlap with Other Candidates

Some fear that he may suffer from the same problem as Mike Barnes did when he ran for Senate in 1986. Rep. Barnes carried Montgomery handily but failed to make inroads elsewhere. A key difference from 1986 is that Mikulski had already run for Senate in a general election. Though she lost that uphill race against Sen. Mac Mathias, she gained both credibility and name recognition. No sitting representative in Maryland has that advantage.

Nonetheless, Chris will have to break out of Montgomery. He has represented portions of other counties. His connections from his days in the state legislature may also help these efforts. It will also aid the Van Hollen campaign if other Montgomery based candidates like John Delaney and Heather Mizeur stay out of the race.

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Chris Van Hollen is in for Senate

vanhollen

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-8) announced in an email to supporters and Facebook posts today that he in for the 2016 Senate race. Arelis Hernández at The Washington Post and John Fritze at the Baltimore Sun already have stories up. Here is the post from his Facebook page:

I am excited to share that I have decided to run for the United States Senate from our great State of Maryland. I am very grateful to the citizens of Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District for the opportunity to represent them and want to thank the many Marylanders who, over the last 48 hours, have called, sent text messages, or emailed to urge me to run for the United States Senate. A more formal announcement will come later, but I wanted to let you know of my plans.

I am very much looking forward to the upcoming campaign and a healthy exchange of ideas. In my very first election for Congress I believed that people were tired of politics as usual, and I ran a campaign based on key issues and ideas that matter to our future. The same is true today.

The promise of America is that every individual — regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation – will be given an equal opportunity to succeed and prosper. We have fallen short on that promise. I believe that one of the key challenges of our time is the struggle to make sure that America works for all its citizens, not just the wealthy few.

I am committed to working every day, as I have in my years in the Congress, for policies that ensure equal access to quality education, provide good paying jobs, a strong middle class, and a healthy state, country, and planet for future generations.

In January, I put forward an economic Action Plan to generate more growth in our economy with more shared prosperity. Despite important economic progress, too many hard working families across Maryland and around our country have been struggling to make ends meet. For the last 20 years, as the productivity of our workforce has increased dramatically, paychecks have remained flat. We must unite to promote a tax system that rewards hard work, instead of one riddled with loopholes and special deals for the super wealthy and well-connected. We need to make sure that every individual in our state and our country has a chance to climb the ladder of opportunity and build a successful and fulfilling future.

We must sharpen our competitive edge and invest strategically — in education, cutting-edge scientific research, and modern infrastructure — to ensure that every American is equipped to compete in the 21st Century. We must create opportunities for more Americans to save and benefit from the wealth creation that is currently concentrated at the very top of the income ladder.

It is also important that we grow our economy in a way that protects our environment, including our national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay. As the Co-Chair of the Congressional Chesapeake Bay Watershed Caucus I have been honored to work with Maryland’s farmers and conservationists to protect the Bay and preserve it for future generations. I have also been pleased to Co-Chair the Bicameral Task Force on Climate Change, which is committed to addressing the threats and costs to our communities from the disruptions created by massive carbon pollution and climate change.

Even though our nation is politically polarized today, I continue to believe in the power of ideas to bring people of goodwill together for the common good. I’ve had the opportunity to work across the aisle to get things done on a variety of issues, from funding for the Chesapeake Bay, to expanding research on pediatric cancer, to leveling the playing field for families with children with disabilities by providing equal access to tax-free savings accounts to provide for their children’s future, to protecting federal whistleblowers who take action to ferret out waste, fraud, and abuse.

For 5 long years, I fought to gain the freedom of my constituent, Alan Gross, from a Cuban jail cell and I was honored to travel to Cuba in December to finally bring Alan home. I have also been proud to lead the fight to reduce the influence of secret money and ensure greater transparency and accountability in our electoral process.

I have always believed in the power of the democratic process to further strengthen our nation, to build on the progress we have made, and to create an ever more perfect union. I look forward to hearing your views in the coming days and weeks on how, together, we can achieve these goals and continue the fight to get things done for our great State of Maryland and our country.

Thank you,

Chris Van Hollen

 

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