[UPDATE]: Just after I posted this, my email pinged with a link to Bill Turque’s description of David Trone’s Monday comments, and Turque also includes responses from Jamie Raskin. I’ve added both to this post at the bottom.]
We heard from Bill Turque yesterday. Today, Lou Peck of Bethesda Magazine gives his account of the Sunday fun (the headline calls it “nasty”), and also adds some extraordinarily pointed comments from David Trone at a Monday morning breakfast meeting in Silver Spring.
A League of Women Voters candidate forum in Frederick Sunday made apparent to the voting public what has been clear in party circles in recent days: With six weeks to go until Primary Day, the gloves are off in the nine-way race for the District 8 Democratic nomination to succeed Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Much of the sniping at the debate involved state Sen. Jamie Raskin of Takoma Park and Total Wine & More co-owner David Trone of Potomac—whose campaigns privately are increasingly viewing each other as the major roadblock to victory April 26. The result was pointed exchanges on issues ranging from gerrymandering—escalating a topic discussed in debates earlier this month—to illegal street signs.
Trone turned up the criticism of Raskin even further Monday in an appearance before the District 18 Breakfast Club in Silver Spring, as he joked, “I know I’m in Raskin Land here.” The breakfast is regularly attended by about two dozen local party activists, a sizable portion of whom appear to be behind Raskin’s candidacy.
While saying that he and Raskin “agree on most progressive issues,” Trone asserted, “Jamie will be a polarizing figure from the left, and I honestly don’t think he can work with the middle.” Added Trone, “It’s not about holding a lot of press conferences and talking about I, I, I. It’s about we, working together as Americans—Republicans and Democrats—and not this cult of the I.”
Strong, strong language. And from what I’m hearing, it’s going to get stronger. I’d be surprised if the campaign ends and there haven’t been several overtly negative mail pieces or TV ads. Which will require responses – the only thing worse than negative mail or TV is unanswered negative mail or TV. Nobody’s said this, mind you, it’s just the sense I have from conversations over the past few days and weeks
42 days to go. Do not change the channel, people. You won’t want to miss a minute of the action in this race.
TURQUE/RASKIN UPDATE below:
Democratic congressional hopeful David Trone has sharpened his critique of state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery), one of his primary rivals, calling the longtime lawmaker “a polarizing figure from the left” who would be unable to build coalitions with House Republicans.
Speaking to a breakfast gathering of Democrats at the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring on Monday, Trone called Raskin “a good man” with whom he agrees on most issues — except the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Trone, who is co-founder of Total Wine & More, supports the trade agreement; Raskin says the pact lacks adequate protections for labor and the environment).
But Trone went on to accuse Raskin — who in recent internal polls has emerged as the leader in a crowded Democratic primary field — of being out of touch. Trone noted that Raskin has only one employee in his state senate office, while Trone’s national chain of 130 big box stores employs 5,000.
Raskin, never shy with a retort, fired back.
Raskin responded to the critique by recounting his legislative record, which includes passage of the Second Chance Act, designed to help those with nonviolent misdemeanor convictions return to the job market. Raskin co-sponsored the measure with Sen. Michael J. Hough (R-Frederick).
He also cited medical marijuana legislation, which he introduced with then-senator David Brinkley (R-Frederick), who, like Raskin, is a cancer survivor.
“The only thing bipartisan Mr. Trone has told us about his own forays into politics is more than $150,000 given to right-wing Republicans all over the country to buy what he calls ‘access,’ ” Raskin said in the email. “Look, I work with Republicans, I brainstorm with them, I negotiate with them, and I happen to like some of them a lot. But I don’t give them campaign money all over America to beat Democrats. . . . Bipartisan means you find principled common ground. It does not mean that you try to buy both parties.”
Just in thr less than an hour since I posted this originally, the war of words has escalated even more dramatically.