Roll Call Assesses The CD8 Race

Bright and early this 100th morning before the primary, Roll Call has an assessment of the CD8 race. If you didn’t know better, you’d think there were only two candidates running. Even if you believe that Jamie Raskin or Kathleen Matthews is likely to win (which you should believe at this point), I suspect you’d also want to know what impact the other five candidates might have on the two frontrunners. You won’t get any such analysis from the Roll Call piece.

What you will get is a pretty good take on the approaches of Matthews and Raskin. At this moment, it’s hard to argue that Raskin doesn’t have the better voter outreach (a point the author completely misses), but as he does note, Matthews is gearing up while Raskin is slowing down – at least his own personal campaign activity – because from now until April 11 (three days before early voting starts and fifteen days before the primary) Raskin will be in Annapolis for 8-10 hours a day, four days per week (and more as session draws to a close in late March and early April).

How will this play out?

For about four days a week, from now until April 11, a major obstacle will be out of Democrat Kathleen Matthews’ way as she runs for her party’s nomination in Maryland’s 8th District, a primary contest that could well decide the successor to outgoing Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

That is because state Sen. Jamie Raskin – the Democrat who polling and Maryland Democratic operatives say is her chief rival among six others running for this open seat – will be spending more and more time in Annapolis during the 90-day legislative session that ends only two weeks before election day.

“I was obviously aware from the beginning of the race that I’d be going back to Annapolis,” Raskin, the Maryland Senate’s Democratic whip, said in an interview with Roll Call. “I will not be able to knock on as many doors as before, but I’m spending every free minute in the evening and on the weekends out campaigning.”

During the legislative session, Raskin said he has “turned down a lot of smaller bills” this session to focus on his campaign and on issues of larger policy consequence, particularly one that would prevent terror suspects from purchasing firearms in Maryland and another that would require the use of ignition interlock devices in all cases of drunk driving.

With her opponent partially off the field, Matthews said she plans to spend every free minute of her own free time connecting with voters — and then some. On Saturday, she re-launched a door-to-door operation, starting in voter-rich Bethesda, with just 101 days until primary day. The district, which Van Hollen is vacating to run for an open Senate seat, runs from Montgomery County’s border with D.C. north to the Pennsylvania line.

How well will the early Raskin organization hold up while its candidate is off in Annapolis for three months? How diligent and effective will Matthews be in her winter campaign? Raskin has touted his “grassroots” connections and organization from the outset, and there’s no question that he’s reached a lot of voters. Matthews has to prove that she’s up to the task of countering that outreach, if not voter for voter, then at least sufficiently for her to bring her financial advantages to bear in direct mail and particularly television ads.

What role will money play in the end? Matthews already has a $200,000 advantage in cash on hand, and that’s likely to grow. While money might not be able to buy you love, it can help reach a lot of voters in a short time, particularly in a congressional race in a presidential election year.

Finally, there’s another duel playing out that doesn’t always get noticed in the contrast of the two leading candidates: Annapolis versus Washington. Roll Call highlights the contrasts.

“I’m an effective progressive legislator with a decades worth of proven experience,” [Raskin] said. “Nobody has to guess what I stand for.”

In his view, that “proven” record is why he has earned the endorsements of prominent county leaders and many of his fellow state legislators. No one from the state’s congressional delegation has endorsed anyone in the race.* Matthews, meanwhile, has secured support from national groups, including EMILY’s List, as well as a number of federal lawmakers. In her campaign’s fundraising report, which will be released at the end of the month, Matthews said she has received contributions from California Sen. Barbara Boxer and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.

“The endorsements that Jamie has are not the people who have experience in this Congress,” she said. “There are certainly prominent Maryland politicians behind him, but to get endorsements from people who know how to be effective in this Congress says something.”

Raskin said his time in Annapolis over the next several weeks will say something, too.

“This is another way to reinforce my policy values and commitments with my constituents and the broader public,” he said. “They know that I am an intensely effective legislator who gets the job done.”

* This is incorrect. CD3 Congressman john Sarbanes has endorsed Raskin, his former Harvard Law School classmate.

None of these debates are unique to CD8 – what makes this so interesting is that there are so many interesting duels all unfolding in one congressional race. In 100 days, we’ll know the answers, but I’m looking forward to seeing the different fault lines play out from now until April 26.

Matthews Up On The Radio

For anyone with doubts about the intensity of the artillery barrage about to rain down on the unsuspecting residents of the Eighth Congressional District, just stop for a minute and listen. You hear it? That distant thunder of the guns? That’s the sound of Kathleen Matthews’ first radio ad going up on the air.

Kathleen Matthews, the former television news anchor running for Congress in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, is focusing on gun regulations in a new radio advertisement her campaign released on Tuesday.

The radio spot, which the campaign said will air on WTOP, quotes President Barack Obama arguing that the gun lobby is “holding Congress hostage,” a statement he made earlier this month while announcing steps his administration is taking on guns through executive action.

“President Obama is right,” Matthews says in the ad, which was announced on the day of Obama’s final State of the Union address. “The U.S. Congress is frozen with fear.”

Matthews says that she would “fight the NRA” for more restrictive background checks on guns and ammunition and would also push for a ban on assault weapons. The ideas largely mirror a policy paper Matthews released on the issue of gun regulations last month.

You can hear the ad at the Sun link.

You like the way I made a metaphor about guns out of her radio ad about guns? I am so, so pleased with myself.

Putting aside my weirdness, get used to Matthews ads like this being a regular presence on radio, in the mail, and eventually on television for the duration of the campaign (105 days – 15 weeks – from today).

BREAKING: Matthews Endorsements

Big news from the Matthews campaign. Franchot, Townsend, Boxer, and Markey all endorse Kathleen Matthews.

Top Maryland and National Politicos Endorse Kathleen Matthews for Congress

As the race for the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District nears the final 100 days, Kathleen Matthews kicked off a new round of national and local endorsements. Two of the country’s progressive heroes, Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) and Senator Edward Markey (MA) are announcing their support for Matthews. Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot and former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who will headline events in Takoma Park and Bethesda in the coming weeks, have also announced they will endorse Matthews in the April 26 primary.

Senator Boxer, who has served in the House and Senate since 1982, and is the country’s leading pro-choice advocate for women said, “Having served in the House of Representatives for 10 years, I know that starting on day one, Kathleen Matthews will have the clout, passion, and effectiveness to deliver on the issues that matter, which is what the people of the 8th district need and deserve.”

Senator Markey, who is Congress’ leader on clean energy and environmental policy said, “Having known Kathleen for 30 years, I have long admired her deep and enduring commitment to her local community as a journalist and through her service on many charitable boards. For the past 9 years as a global business executive at Marriott International, she has been a transformational progressive leader and effective advocate for the environment as she lead the company’s efforts to combat climate change.”

“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.”

“I’ve known Kathleen since her early days as a news reporter for ABC-7 where she kept politicians honest, advocated for better schools and safer communities,” said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who was Lieutenant Governor from 1995-2003 and is a co-chair of Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for the U.S. Senate. “She’s been a tireless advocate for working women and working families as a journalist, and in her business career at Marriott International, where she was a powerful voice for women, minorities and the LBGT community.”

Matthews On Gun Control 

Kathleen Matthews writes in the Huffington Post on her support for President Obama’s gun control executive orders yesterday.

This is the issue that now animates my campaign for Congress in Maryland, where I am running for the open seat vacated by Congressman Chris Van Hollen, who is running for the U.S. Senate. My 8-point plan includes a national registry on gun and ammunition sales, requiring a universal 7-day waiting period on background checks on ammunition and gun sales, banning assault weapons, backing public safety campaigns and child safety education, and supporting state-based solutions such as Maryland’s ban on semi-automatic handguns and semi-automatic rifles. We also need to provide the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms with the personnel to enforce the law and put more money into mental health care, since two out of three gun deaths are from suicides. Many of these ideas were embraced by President Obama today in his executive action. But he also said Congress must act, too, to ensure that we reclaim our streets for law-abiding citizens and make sure we protect people who might turn guns on themselves.

The president is absolutely right when he says this is a political choice we have made to allow these horrendous and tragic events to happen. It is in our power to save thousands of lives. We have the technology and legislative ability to do so. But Congress has lacked the backbone and political will to stand up to the gun lobby and say “no more.” Fortunately, we have a president who, with tears in his eyes, has said “no more” Sandy Hooks. No more Auroras. No more Navy Yards. No more Charlestons. No more San Bernardinos. And, in 2016, we need to elect people to Congress who will do the same. Let’s get it done!

The Year Of The Woman

One day into the New Year, and the branding has already begun. It’s the Year of the Woman in Maryland politics. 

Women voters in Maryland are being targeted with television ads about the two candidates running in the state’s Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, underscoring the battle underway for a demographic that will play a key role in choosing a successor to Barbara A. Mikulski, the pathbreaking dean of the Senate women.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County began airing a new commercial this week promoting his record on women’s issues. The spot comes as a powerful national women’s group with a history in Maryland politics is running $1 million in advertising for his primary opponent, Rep. Donna F. Edwards of Prince George’s County.

In races across the state, candidates are working aggressively to reach women, who typically account for about 60 percent of the turnout in Maryland Democratic primaries — and who observers believe will be energized by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to vote in larger numbers this year.

“There are many women who are looking at her candidacy as historic,” said Steve Raabe, president of the Annapolis-based polling firm OpinionWorks. “That certainly isn’t going to hurt the turnout among women.”

And it’s not just the Senate race, either. It’s happening in both open House races as well.

In the 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties, former television news anchor Kathleen Matthews focused her first position paper on what she described as women’s issues, including paid family leave and equal pay.

State Sen. Jamie Raskin, also running for the Democratic nomination in the 8th District, announced a group of female supporters early in his campaign that will help organize other women to back the campaign.

Several women’s political organizations, meanwhile, have endorsed state Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk in her bid in the 4th Congressional District, which includes Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. Another candidate in the 4th, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, launched a group of women supporters in December.

Given the statistics on turnout, appealing to women is critical. Moreover, there is a natural fit between certain issues that matter  to women – pay equity, family leave, child care – and economic justice issues generally that are of critical importance to the increasing progressive left wing of the party’s electorate. If you’re a candidate with a real and meaningful track record on these issues, then you’re in the game.

But let’s be brutally honest in a way that John Fritze perhaps can’t be: being a female candidate in 2016 is an advantage. It’s Donna Edwards’ calling card – if she wins, it will be because she argues that she brings a unique perspective as a black woman (race isn’t exactly relevant, either, prtixularly in the Senate contest). Kathleen Matthews and Joseline Pena-Melnyk are surging because they’re working hard and running good campaigns, but part of their appeal is that they’re women.

It’s a fine line. Nobody should be elected solely because of their identity: race, gender, ethnicity, generational, etc. But it is a factor. 

“Vote for me because I understand what it’s like to be a woman.”

“We need more voices that will speak to women’s issues and concerns.”

If being a woman is all you’ve got, then you’re not going to succeed. But the women in all three races have extensive and impressive track records, and being women only enhances that appeal. How it all plays out in the end will be one of the key story lines between now and April 26.

Matthews Endorses Clinton

Yes, it would be more newsworthy the other way around, but here’s the press release from Matthews:

MD-8 Democratic Congressional Candidate Kathleen Matthews Endorses Hillary Clinton

Today MD-8 Democratic candidate Kathleen Matthews publicly endorsed Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. Praising Clinton’s foreign and domestic policy experience, in addition to her record as a lifelong advocate for America’s working families, Matthews said Hillary Clinton would be the best possible President for our time. Matthews and Clinton have both been endorsed by EMILY’s List, the national organization dedicated to electing more pro-choice Democratic women.
Here is Matthews’ full statement:
“In 1920, this country ratified the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Nearly a century later, America has the opportunity to break down another barrier to full equality and respect by electing Hillary Clinton President of the United States.
I say this with the total conviction that Hillary Clinton, regardless of her gender, regardless of the significant history we can make next November, would be the best possible President for our time.
I ask you to have the courage to share this decision with me. There is no other progressive out there today running for President on a record such as Hillary’s: eight years as First Lady, eight as a U.S. senator, four as Secretary of State. Not only does she bring the most extensive experience in foreign policy and national security matters, Hillary Clinton has spent a lifetime championing the progressive causes of healthcare, education, child development, and, of course, gender equality.
I have been fortunate to work with Hillary Clinton on State Department initiatives to enhance economic opportunity for women around the world, to create jobs in Haiti following the devastating earthquake, and to promote youth employment here in America with the Clinton Global Initiative.
And as a reporter and later in my business career, I’ve seen she has the talent, the commitment, the seriousness of mind and emotion to be not only the first woman President but one of the great Presidents. It’s up to us to make it happen.
I endorse Hillary Clinton for President of the United States and expect to be forever proud that I did and did so now.”

BREAKING: Matthews Endorsed By EMILY’s List

One of the biggest shoes in the endorsement closet dropped early this morning. Matthews press release:

Today, EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, endorsed progressive Kathleen Matthews, who’s running to continue her work fighting for women and families in Congress in Maryland’s Eighth District.

“Kathleen Matthews is a lifelong advocate for women and families and a dynamic leader who will fight for progressive change in Congress,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List. “As a news anchor at WJLA-TV, she put a spotlight on issues affecting women and families – jobs, education, health care, and equality in the workplace – and as an executive, she spearheaded efforts to advance women’s careers and women-owned businesses around the world. Maryland’s Eighth District has never elected a Democratic woman to Congress, and the EMILY’s List community is thrilled to endorse Kathleen Matthews: a pro-choice leader fighting for Planned Parenthood and deeply committed to helping Maryland working families get a fair shot.”

EMILY’s List has raised over $400 million to support pro-choice Democratic women candidates – making it one of the most successful political organizations ever. Since it’s founding in 1985, they have trained over 9,000 women to run for office and helped elect over 100 women to the House and 19 women to the Senate, including Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski.

“I have long admired EMILY’s List and the women candidates they have promoted, like Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, who was the first woman the organization helped elect in 1986. I share their values of putting women and families first and will fight to protect a woman’s right to choose, ensure equal pay for equal work, and protect Planned Parenthood funding,” said Kathleen Matthews. “I am honored by their support and confidence in my candidacy, and this endorsement adds tremendous momentum to our campaign six months before the primary election.”

The big question: how much money comes with this endorsement? Not all EL endorsements are created equal. We’ll have to wait and see, but my sense is this one is going to come with a lot of money.

Seventh State Follies [UPDATED]

[UPDATE] An astute reader points out that per Seventh State (still not linking), the post was actually a guest blog by Adam Pagnucco. I will say two things: first, the email sent out to subscribers made no mention of Pagnucco but credited the story solely to David Lublin. So my assumption was understandable, I submit.  

Second, in case it’s not clear, I do not have a great deal of respect for David Lublin as a blogger. I think he has undisclosed agendas (in his near-obsession with the Town of Chevy Chase elections this year he never once disclosed his status as the former mayor of the town and his having been a leading opponent of the Purple Line.

I also don’t like him because he smeared me in 2014, both on his own and by bringing on John Gallagher, who appeared to have been hired solely to attack me and a few others. I find that kind of blogging obnoxious and sleazy, and I don’t engage in it. My one consolation is that Lublin appears to be just as much of a hack as ever in 2015.

I don’t have as much of a beef with Adam Pagnucco. While we’ve had our share of disagreements over the years, I generally find him to be a first rate researcher and a good analyst of data. What I do believe, based on some of his recent work, is that he seems loath to give his readers enough information to replicate his analysis. I wish he’d do more of that, but otherwise I think his work is good.

Needless to say, I don’t think that about today’s piece. Quite frankly, it’s crap. But I wouldn’t have written what I wrote in the same tone if I knew it was Pagnucco rather than Lublin behind it. I would have been less snarky and less pissy, to be honest, for the above reasons. And I have no axe to grind with Pagnucco, and I hope he recognizes that. I know he usually writes the “data” pieces for Lublin, but this one was so bad it made it easier for me to believe that Lublin wrote it and more importantly here, that Pagnucco didn’t. Maybe that’s both self-justification and piling on Lublin, but it happens to be true. I don’t know when Lublin updated his post to refer to Pagnucco, so I don’t know that even if I checked I would have gotten the right information. But I didn’t check, and I should have.
So taking everything into account, I’m not going to amend what I wrote. That wouldn’t be honest, and I pride myself on that. But I’m putting this update right up on top so people know exactly what’s what and all that. And I’ve made my biases as clear as I can. Read the rest with this update in mind. Thanks for reading.

ORIGINAL POST FOLLOWS:

Maybe if David Lublin stopped pretending that Maryland Scramble didn’t exist, he might have written a better CD8 fundraising story this morning (no links, I don’t steer traffic to bloggers who won’t acknowledge my existence). Instead, he’s written a story that any reader here could have told him was poorly reasoned and weakly sourced, and that much of his data had been previously published by me, among others. Moreover, by the time Lublin’s story came out, new developments rendered some of his key assumptions inoperative, which he would have known had he read the several posts I wrote over the past two days about Mayday. Overall, a pretty poor performance, Professor. I’d give it a C-.

Data: much of his top line data is repetitive of my October 16 post, and the spreadsheet accompanying it is, I would not so humbly suggest, more informative with far fewer numbers on the page. With multiple quarters of data, it’s better to show the progress of the candidates over time, which in this case shows the major changes that took place in the third quarter. Lublin’s use of only aggregate data masks the importance of the most recent quarter in trying to project out future trends. It also may be why he persists in calling the $200,000 margin between Matthews and Raskin “close,” when in fact it was generated completely during one quarter, which means if that trend continues, it won’t be close at all by the end of the campaign. My data shows this very clearly. Similarly, Lublin aggregates burn rate data for the entire year, when the quarter by quarter data shows that both Matthews and Raskin geared up substantially in the third quarter. It was Q2 when Matthews spent very little, which makes sense considering that she did not enter the race until June 3, less than a month before the end of the quarter. In Q3, her donations went up, Raskin’s went down by $175K, all while he spent more money than she did. All of this gets ignored by Lublin – I have to admire his ability to ignore facts which don’t suit his preferred narrative.

Lublin has a chart claiming to represent average donations, but it’s not one that I could replicate. How many donations did each candidate receive? Which ones is Lublin including? We don’t know.

Lublin has a chart looking at contributions for the general election, which can’t be used during the primary campaign. He fails to note, however, that such contributions are always from max-out donors who want to give more than the $2700 allowed for the primary. So when he notes that Raskin has $67K in “general election” money to Matthews’ $50K, that means that his super big donors gave more than Matthews’ did. Which Lublin doesn’t mention, presumably because it doesn’t fit his preordained narrative of rich Kathleen versus grassroots Jamie. I also think that it would be far more informative to show general election “dead money” as a percentage of cash on hand, not as a percentage of a concocted number that doesn’t include unitemized individual contributions. Looked at this way, 5.7% of Matthews’ cash on hand is dead money, while dead money constitutes 9.8% of Raskin’s COH – 72% higher than Matthews.

I’ve written extensively about how I believe the fixation with in-state versus out of state campaign contributions is not an argument that is going to persuade anyone other than already zealously committed partisans. Lublin doesn’t begin to try to counter my arguments – a problem when you ignore the fact that I’m here, chirping away on a daily basis – but again proceeds from the preconception that out of state money is bad, bad, bad. Hence the multiple charts harping on this non-issue. Question for Lublin and like-minded partisans: if out of state money is so bad, why does Raskin take it? He knows how to draw such lines – he doesn’t take corporate, PAC or partnership money. So the fact that he takes out of state money at all means that he sees it very differently from other categories of donations. Which means that both Raskin and his supporters like Lublin should really stop harping on this issue, because it’s just not a good argument they’re making.

Where things really fall apart for Lublin is in his “takeaways from the data.” The first two paragraphs have to win some kind of prize for wrongness – every single assertion is either unrelated to the data, not supported by the data, or demonstrably wrong. Let’s go through it.

“Kathleen Matthews’ campaign was predicated on blowing away the rest of the field in fundraising.” There’s nothing in the data to show this, and Lublin doesn’t bother to even attempt to source it. It’s an assumption – an assumption that gives Lublin away as a Raskin fanboy. Money bad, Kathleen has money, Kathleen bad. Not exactly deep thinking there. I think many people believed at the outset that Raskin would raise all the money, that Matthews would get a few big contributions from her rich friends, and that she would be exposed as a weak candidate. So much for the conventional wisdom, hmmmm?

“That is happening with the notable exception of Senator Jamie Raskin, who has so far remained close to her.” As I said above, a $200,000 COH gap generated in one quarter is not “close.” Raskin raised $175,000 less in Q3 than Q2, and still spent more than Matthews. Not good. I wrote in my October 16 post that Raskin could turn this around, but there is no data to suggest that this will happen. Or that it won’t. That’s why I said that the fourth quarter is critical. Lublin thinks all is well, which is just more preaching to the converted.

“One factor that could change that is if Matthews’ wealthy supporters open a Super PAC on her behalf. Super PACs are not supposed to coordinate directly with candidate campaigns, but they can raise unlimited contributions and spend them on both positive and negative communication. One can easily imagine twenty Matthews supporters each chipping in $100,000, thereby instantaneously bringing an extra $2 million into the race for their candidate.” Here, Lublin stops trying to base his “analysis” on the data and drops any pretense of objectivity. He spins a purely conjectural vision of a Matthews super PAC coming in and having an impact on the race. Hey, Dave, I’ve got a different vision: “one can easily imagine a pro-Raskin campaign finance reform super PAC blundering into CD8 parroting precisely the arguments of the Raskin campaign, raising the specter of illegal coordination and outside influence, while simultaneously undercutting arguments about out or state money and damaging if not destroying the carefully crafted image of Raskin as a good government, grassroots, campaign finance reform advocate kind of guy.” Oh, wait, mine already happened. My bad, sorry. Maybe if you read my stuff . . . oh, never mind.

“Senator Raskin’s strategy of community organizing is paying off big-time for his fundraising. He is leading or nearly tied in fundraising in every populous CD8 community except Chevy Chase and his relatively low average contribution rate leaves plenty of room for repeat contributions. His two biggest challenges are countering Matthews’ likely appeal to women and what happens to his campaign once he has to go back to Annapolis for session next January.” Paying off big time? In what universe? He’s $200,000 behind. Oh, wait, I forgot, only in-state contributions count, cause those other ones are icky and have cooties. News flash: out of state dollars spend precisely the same as in-state. So to say Raskin is “leading or nearly tied in fundraising” is delusional. Money is money, no matter how distasteful the inside baseball guys like Lublin might see it.

To be fair, the last sentence is actually accurate: Matthews is likely to receive the endorsement of EMILY’s List, which will bring in – oh dear – more outside money. Of course, it’s hard to criticize that source of money without further alienating a crucial chunk of voters, so Lublin doesn’t go down that road. And the challenge of simultaneously being a candidate and a legislator is a real and important issue that has so far not received much public attention. I have my views on the subject but this post is already long enough, so I’ll save that for another day.

Bottom line: just because someone puts up a bunch of charts with numbers doesn’t make the “analysis” any better. Suspect numbers, errors and omissions, and a conclusion that has almost no relationship to what has come before but which strips away any pretense of objectivity that “Professor”Lublin clearly aspires to. That’s MY takeaway, and on second thought, I think my grade of C- was very, very generous.

CD8 Heats Up

The candidates and the super PAC have been boating away at each other all afternoon. John Fritze in the Sun assesses the impact of the Mayday super PAC ad on behalf of Jamie Raskin in CD8.

Kathleen Matthews’ campaign for Congress fired back Tuesday at a super PAC supporting state Sen. Jamie Raskin, arguing the group focused on campaign finance reform was making “outrageous false claims.”

Noting Raskin’s record on campaign finance as a member of the state legislature, Mayday PAC held an event in Takoma Park on Monday to back his candidacy. The group was founded as a “super PAC to end all super PACs,” supporting candidates who embrace changes to campaign funding.
But as the group worked to lift Raskin up, it also took several hard swings at Matthews. In a web video released Monday, Mayday CEO and former New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout said Matthews “has been a corporate lobbyist in D.C.”
Matthews was never a registered lobbyist for Marriott. The former WJLA-TV reporter and anchor did oversee the division at the Bethesda-based company that handled both communications and government affairs.
“This week supporters of Jamie Raskin launched the first negative attack of the campaign,” the Matthews campaign wrote in an email to supporters. “Hiding behind an out-of-state super PAC, they’re distorting Kathleen’s record and making outrageous false claims.”
Matthews’ email to supporters focuses its ire at Raskin but, by law, super PACs operate independently of the campaigns they are supporting. Another proof Raskin wasn’t coordinating his message with the PAC: His camp was trying to pitch a story about a different endorsement — that of Montgomery County Del. Kathleen M. Dumais — to reporters on the same day.

The Raskin campaign blasted right back.

 Raskin’s campaign said it was not involved with the attacks.

“Senator Raskin, as the Matthews campaign knows, has nothing to do, and will have nothing to do, with this or any other super PAC in America,” campaign manager Marshall Cohen said in a statement. “But Jamie welcomes the opportunity to have a public discussion with Ms. Matthews about his extensive record as a campaign finance reform advocate and his proposals to abolish corporate dark money in our elections, as well as any new ideas she wants to present.”
The back-and-forth represents a break from the mostly genteel tone that has dominated the 8th District race so far — and it underscores the impact outside groups can have, even in primary elections. Mayday raised $11 million in the 2014 cycle, and it has committed to raising at least $100,000 for Raskin.

There’s some stuff in the middle about Mayday, which inaccurately referred to Matthews as a lobbyist, then tried to defend it, then brought up the months old “but, but she gave to Roy Blunt” silliness. When the arguments of the super PAC begin to become indistinguishable from those being made by the candidate, voters in Democratic primaries tend to get really aggravated. As to the rest of this “delicious irony,” I said what I had to say, and I stand by it. No good will come to Jamie Raskin from this group’s “help.”