Notes: Waldstreicher Running for Senate; Edwards Moves Closer to County Exec Bid
By Ana Faguy and Josh Kurtz
With state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D) now officially running for governor, Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D) plans to tell his supporters on Wednesday that he is running for Madaleno’s Senate seat.
In an email due to go out Wednesday and obtained by Maryland Matters, Waldstreicher said he plans on running on three principles: standing up for his constituents, being their champion for justice and always being accessible and available to help.
“I’ve been incredibly humbled by the outpouring of emails, texts, and phone calls from constituents in the last 48 hours urging me to run,” the email reads. “I’m in 100% and will be hosting a formal announcement shortly.”
Waldstreicher, who grew up in Silver Spring, has spent the past 10 years representing District 18 in the Maryland House of Delegates.
He plans to endorse Madaleno in the race for governor, appearing with him, along with another Dist. 18 delegate, Al Carr (D), at Madaleno’s announcement on Monday.
Madaleno will be leaving his seat to join the ever-growing list of contenders for the Democratic nomination for governor.
The list includes Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, tech entrepreneur Alec Ross, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, and attorney Jim Shea. Rep. John Delaney and former Attorney General Doug Gansler are still deciding whether to enter the race, and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is expected to join the field in the fall.
Waldstreicher may not have the Democratic field to himself. While he is the only candidate who has formally announced his intention to run, others are toying with the possibility.
Carr is one of those people. After spending the past 10 years in the House, this election season could be time for him to move on to the next venture.
“At this point I have really not ruled anything out,” Carr said. “Definitely by February. It’s still relatively early, there are still a few moving parts out there. I’m on this journey of public service and I’m proud of the work I’ve done and there is a lot more that needs to be done. “
Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) is in the same boat. With four more years of legislative experience than her two House colleagues, Gutierrez has yet to make a decision — saying she hopes to decide in early September. Gutierrez, who will be 76 next year, has also publicly contemplated running for the open Montgomery County Council seat in District 1.
Through mid-January, Waldstreicher had an overwhelming advantage on the fundraising front. He reported $165,000 in his campaign account at the time, compared to $27,000 for Gutierrez and $19,000 for Carr.
Potential Senate candidates may not be limited to current legislators. State Senate openings are rare, and ambitious Democrats may come out of the woodwork in the Kensington-based district.
Waldstreicher’s decision to run for Senate should produce a flurry of House candidates as well.
All candidates will have to make their final decision by the Feb. 27 filing deadline.
EDWARDS GETTING CLOSER
While most of the Maryland political community turns its attention Wednesday to the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in Crisfield, another significant event will be taking place Wednesday morning in Landover.
The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 is hosting a meet-and-greet breakfast for former Rep. Donna Edwards (D), who is inching closer to running for Prince George’s County executive in 2018. Union members who have been supportive of Edwards in the past and community leaders are among those who have been invited.
Valerie Ervin, a former Montgomery County councilmember who is a lifelong friend of Edwards, said the former congresswoman is likely to update the group on her deliberations over whether to seek the county executive job next year – and her desire overall to remain in public service after losing the Democratic Senate primary in 2016. State Sen. Anthony Muse (D) has already declared his candidacy for the seat being vacated by term-limited County Executive Rushern Baker (D), and State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks (D) has been preparing to run.
Edwards, whose interest in possibly running was first reported in The Washington Post in late April, revealed in a dramatic and emotional Post op-ed earlier this month that she has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The article was an appeal to her former congressional colleagues not to raise health insurance costs.
“I don’t know what I will do next or whether I will run for public office again,” Edwards wrote. “I do know that my MS will not stop me. But not having health-care coverage because of my MS could stop me permanently.”
Ervin said that a poll and two focus groups have been conducted on Edwards’ behalf in recent months, and that the results have been highly encouraging.