UPDATED – 11:45 a.m. April 17 –State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-District 20) will formally announce his plans to run for the U.S House of Representatives this weekend.
Raskin is scheduled to launch his campaign for the District 8 seat at 3 p.m. Sunday at Takoma Park’s Republic restaurant. Raskin, who has served in the Senate since 2007, will become the second candidate to formally announce plans to run for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Raskin will join state Del. Kumar Barve (D-District 17), who was the first to announce—on March 9—his intentions to run.
Raskin highlighted his work in the state legislature on issues such as medical marijuana, anti-drunk driving legislation, repealing the death penalty and marriage equality in a press release announcing the event. Sunday’s event will feature several Montgomery County state legislators, members of the County Council, local mayors and “several other surprise guests,” according to a press statement.
Raskin previously told Bethesda Beat in mid-March he had received his family’s support 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,” he said. “I’m very fired up to run and will make an announcement as soon as I put the basic campaign structure in place.”
U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski set off a political domino effect when she announced at the beginning of March she would step down from her longtime position. Two days after Mikulski’s announcement, Van Hollen announced he would pursue the Senate seat, leaving his District 8 seat open.
Other candidates considering entering the District 8 race include Dels. Ariana Kelly of Bethesda and Jeff Waldstreicher of Kensington; Marriott International executive Kathleen Matthews; former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin and Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Chevy Chase. Only one Republican is said to be considering the race so far—businessman Frank Howard.
The potential field of candidates for the 8th District seat narrowed a bit late Thursday, when former Del. Bill Bronrott, D-Bethesda, said he had decided against running.
“This would be a dream job for me. But now is not the time to spend the next year and a half on the phone, every day, having to beg for money,” said Bronrott, who was an aide to then 8th District Rep. Michael Barnes before serving almost 12 years in the House of Delegates from Bethesda-based District 16.
Given the expense of the Washington area TV market, insiders have suggested it will take at least $1 million for a candidate to be competitive in the forthcoming race, with some estimates of the cost of a campaign running into the $2 million to $3 million range.
“Three million bucks just to get elected, and then to be on the phone every day after that just to stay elected, is just not something that I really want to do at this stage of my life,” said Bronrott, 59, who recently resigned as deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration after almost five years in that post.
Referring to what he sees as an imperative to reform the current system of campaign finance, Bronrott added: “I hope the next congressperson from the 8th District will take this on as a priority project and work with those on the outside as well as colleagues on the inside to do everything they can to cut out this cancer in our political system. It is serious, and it’s corrosive.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include information about Bill Bronrott, who had been considering a run for the Congressional seat, but has decided not to pursue it.