Scratch two possible candidates — state Sen. Richard Madaleno of Kensington and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro of Colesville—from the still-expansive field of potential Democratic contenders eyeing the 8th District congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Madaleno, who said he was “seriously considering” the congressional race after Van Hollen announced late last week for U.S. Senate, confirmed this afternoon that he has decided not to run for the 8th District seat. “I really enjoy what I’m doing — there are a lot of interesting issues that I’m involved in, and didn’t want to give that up,” Madaleno said of his current position, while adding, “I don’t know if I’d get the same sense of satisfaction serving in” Congress.
Madaleno’s move appears to all but ensure that his Montgomery County colleague, Sen. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park, will run in the 8th District Democratic primary. Raskin earlier this week told the Baltimore Sun that he was reluctant to run against Madaleno, who he said “is like a brother to me.”
Reached this afternoon for comment, Raskin said via text message that he has won the blessing of his wife and children to enter the race. “I won the family primary over the weekend, my constituents are telling me to run, and I’m thrilled by the encouragement I am receiving from my colleagues, both present and past,” Raskin said. “I’m very fired up to run and will make an announcement as soon as I put the basic campaign structure in place.”
Pending Raskin’s entry, there is so far one formally announced candidate for the 8th District seat: Del. Kumar Barve of Gaithersburg, who chairs the House of Delegates’ Environment and Transportation Committee. In addition, at least nine other candidates are still eyeing the Democratic nomination in a district that is centered in Montgomery County but also includes portions of Carroll and Frederick counties.
Meanwhile, Navarro—whose District 4 Council seat includes the county’s northeastern section—said in an email that she has decided against pursuing a run for Congress. “I have an ambitious agenda for this term on the council, and I want to focus on bringing that to fruition,” said Navarro, who was re-elected last year after first winning a seat on the County Council in a 2009 special election.
Madaleno’s decision to stay put also appears to reflect a desire to focus on his current responsibilities: In the General Assembly, he is vice chair of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee and an influential figure on state fiscal policy. There has been speculation that Madaleno, the Senate’s only openly gay member, could eventually be in line for a top leadership position, once long-serving Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller retires.
Navarro was said to have been urged by leaders in the Latino community to run: Hispanic-Americans now make up about 17 percent of Montgomery County and 13 percent of the 8th District.
The Sun reported this week that one of the county’s few other Latino officeholders, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Kensington, is the latest potential contender to pass the word that she is considering running for the 8th District congressional seat. Gutierrez could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gutierrez’s age — she turned 73 in January — could put her at a disadvantage in trying to move to Capitol Hill. So could her well-known dislike of campaign fundraising: Insiders suggest that a campaign treasury of $1 million to $2 million, if not more, will be required to be competitive in what is expected to be a crowded primary in the predominantly Democratic district.
The list of other Democrats known to be considering the 8th District seat includes, in alphabetical order:
- Former County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who represented a district in the county’s eastern section for seven years. She is now executive director of the Center for Working Families, an arm of the Working Families Party.
- County Councilmember Nancy Floreen of Garrett Park, who holds an at-large seat on the council and has run countywide four times.
- Del. Bill Frick of Bethesda, although Frick has been passing the word to colleagues that he would strongly prefer to run in the neighboring 6th District if the incumbent there, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, D-Potomac, joins Van Hollen in the U.S. Senate primary. Frick’s residence is in the 8th, but about a mile from the 6th District boundary.
- William Jawando of Silver Spring, a former Obama White House aide who finished a close fourth in the primary race for three delegate seats from a Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based district in 2014. Jawando and Ervin are the two African-American contenders eyeing the contest.
- Del. Ariana Kelly of Bethesda, a former executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland who shares a Bethesda/Chevy Chase-based state legislative district with Frick.
- Sen. Roger Manno of Silver Spring, another 8th District resident who might also run in the 6th District. About one-third of Manno’s state legislative district overlaps with the 6th.
- Kathleen Matthews, a Chevy Chase resident who is an executive at Marriott International and a former news anchor for WJLA/Channel 7.
- County Councilmember Hans Riemer of Takoma Park, an at-large member of the council elected to his second term last year.
- Del. Jeff Waldstreicher of Kensington, who since 2006 has represented the same state legislative district as Madaleno and Gutierrez, stretching from Chevy Chase to Silver Spring.
Whether there might be an opening in District 6, which extends from Montgomery County through western Maryland, as well as District 8 may become clearer Thursday when Delaney is scheduled to meet with members of the county’s Senate delegation in Annapolis.
Barve, a former House of Delegates’ majority leader who announced this week for the 8th District slot, has actually lived in the 6th District since the lines were redrawn three years ago, prompting speculation he could switch and run there if Delaney runs for Senate. His Rockville-Gaithersburg state legislative constituency is split between the two congressional districts.
Raskin boasted Wednesday afternoon that he had just received the endorsement of former state Sen. Jennie Forehand, who served in the General Assembly for 36 years until her retirement at the end of 2014. Forehand represented the same state legislative district as Barve.
“…It is hard to think of a more beloved figure in Rockville than her, and I am eager to campaign with her there,” declared Raskin in a pre-announcement incursion of sorts on Barve’s home turf.