More Van Hollen Endorsements

Four members of the Baltimore County Council endorsed Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for US Senate Monday, reports the Sun.

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen on Monday picked up endorsements from four Baltimore County officials in his bid to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

County Council members Vicki Almond, Cathy Bevins, Julian Jones and Tom Quirk — all Democrats— offered their support to Van Hollen during an event in Towson.
Van Hollen is competing with Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the Democratic nomination in the race to replace Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who is retiring. Van Hollen is from Montgomery County and Edwards hails from Prince George’s County.
“I think he’s not only a leader for the state, I think he’s a leader nationally,” Quirk said of Van Hollen. Almond praised Van Hollen’s work on education issues, while Bevins said she thinks he is the best choice to help bring more jobs to the region.

New Van Hollen Ad In Baltimore

Chris Van Hollen has a new ad running in the Baltimore media market targeting women. It’s his third ad airing in the Baltimore market. John Fritze reports:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for Maryland’s open Senate seat went back up on television Wednesday with a new ad targeted at women, a key demographic both campaigns are hoping to court.

The ad, running on broadcast and cable television in Baltimore, notes Van Hollen’s high score from groups like Planned Parenthood, and his work on women’s health care as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee.

The new ad comes as an influential women’s group is airing a separate spot supporting his opponent, Rep. Donna Edwards. Emily’s List, the Washington-based group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, launched a $1 million advertising campaign for Edwards at the end of November.

Throughout her campaign Edwards, of Prince George’s County, has discussed the importance of diversity in the Senate. Both candidates are running to succeed Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the first woman elected to the Senate without the benefit of a father or husband preceding her.

And yet Van Hollen has refused to cede the ground to Edwards. A Baltimore Sun/ University of Baltimore poll in November found Van Hollen beating Edwards by seven percentage points among women, and the Montgomery County lawmaker has received more endorsements from elected females in Maryland.

One of them, Sen. Delores G. Kelley of Baltimore County, is featured in Van Hollen’s latest ad.

“A lot of people can talk, but they can’t deliver,” Kelley says, referencing a narrative pushed by the Van Hollen campaign that he has been more effective in Congress than Edwards. “Chris can.”

Here’s the ad:

EMILY’S List Complaint About Van Hollen

The tensions between EMILY’s List and Chris Van Hollen are heating up fast. The Post reports this morning that EL has filed an FEC complaint regarding Van Hollen’s communications with EL donors.

A powerful Democratic women’s group says Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has been targeting its donors to peel away support from his primary rival, Rep. Donna F. Edwards, for Maryland’s open Senate seat.

In a complaint to the Federal Election Commission filed Monday, Emily’s List said that Van Hollen illegally used the group’s financial disclosures to send out a fundraising solicitation to its donors.
“We are taking action to protect you from actors willing to abuse the system,” Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock said in a letter to donors who have supported Edwards.

The “abuse” turns out to be a letter responding to an earlier EMILY’s List email that among other things  referred to Van Hollen as a Republican.

Supporters in at least eleven states got a letter and solicitation from the Van Hollen campaign. The campaign letter, by former NARAL Pro-Choice America board chairman Rosalyn Levy Jonas, refers to an email in which Emily’s List identified Van Hollen incorrectly as a Republican.

“Sadly, Emily’s List, which I have always supported in the past, has become a party to . . . deception,” Levy Jonas said.
Emily’s List says that the email was an honest mistake sent only to a test audience of 5,000 people and that it immediately offered to send a correction.
In her letter, Levy Jonas touts Van Hollen’s credentials on women’s issues, saying he helped elect female candidates when he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is a close ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and has the backing of a co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.).

Things are getting so out of hand that NARAL, hardly a group of shrinking violets, is scrambling (😜) to stay out of the crossfire.

Given the explicit organizational affiliation by our former board chair in a letter on behalf of Chris Van Hollen, we want to be clear that we had no knowledge of the letter prior to its dissemination,” NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement. “We feel lucky to have two solidly pro-choice legislators in this critically important race.”

That last bit is actually the takeaway for me. Both candidates have great records on choice and other issues. So EMILY’s List is making a mistake trying to demonize Chris Van Hollen on this basis. They’re free to support whoever they wish but it becomes very problematic when they start trashing a a candidate with such a pro-choice, pro-woman record and agenda. There was no chance that Chris Van Hollen could get endorsed by EMILY’s List (they only endorse women), but they’re treating him like a Republican - in the larger sense, it’s no accident that an email went out with that epithet in it, because that’s usually who EL is attacking. But they really, really ought to be more aware of who they’re dealing with here. It makes them no friends - it’s terrible coalition building to be attacking Van Hollen like this.

I’d go so far as to say they should have thought about all this before they endorsed Donna Edwards. But having done so, they’re not helping either their candidate or their larger purposes by acting in this manner. NARAL’s approach is the right one here, but I suspect that the rhetorical war between EMILY’s List and Chris Van Hollen is just getting started.

Two More Women For Van Hollen

Yawn. From the Sun:

Two Baltimore-area lawmakers — Dels. Shelly L. Hettleman and Brooke E. Lierman — have endorsed Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for Senate.

The two state lawmakers made the announcement at an event Thursday night organized by Democratic women supporting Van Hollen. The Montgomery County lawmaker is running against Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the Senate seat that will be left open in 2017 by Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s retirement.

Van Hollen To Hogan: Close The Gun Loophole

Press release tonight from the busy beavers at the Van Hollen press office:

Van Hollen Urges Hogan to Take Action to Close Terrorist Gun Loophole  

 Washington, DC – Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen sent a letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan urging him to explore executive action to protect Marylanders from gun violence and close the loophole that allows individuals on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing deadly weapons.

 “Despite repeated efforts in Congress to prevent people on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist from buying guns, Republican leaders prevented us from even having a vote,” Congressman Van Hollen wrote. “While Tea Party obstructionism and the NRA keep Congress from moving forward to protect Americans from gun violence and terrorism, I call on you to explore every possible State action to prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns in Maryland.”

 He continued, “As Governor, your leadership can protect Maryland communities and our many high-profile assets like national security installations by prohibiting the transfer or sale of a firearm to anyone on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist.”

 Congressman Van Hollen has long supported efforts to prevent those on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing guns, fighting liability exemptions for gun dealers back in 2005 and consistently supporting legislation to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. He also supports legislation to restore the ban on assault weapons.

 According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, since 2004, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist have successfully purchased weapons in the United States. More than 90 percent of all suspected terrorists who attempted to purchase guns in the last 11 years walked away with the weapon they wanted, with just 190 rejected despite their ominous histories.   

And the letter itself:

Dear Governor Hogan,

 Gun violence and mass shootings plague our nation every day, and the horrific attacks in San Bernardino and Paris have renewed concerns about terrorism here and abroad. We should be doing everything possible to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who seek to kill innocent Americans.

 Despite repeated efforts in Congress to prevent people on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist from buying guns, Republican leaders prevented us from even having a vote. While Tea Party obstructionism and the NRA keep Congress from moving forward to protect Americans from gun violence and terrorism, I call on you to explore every possible State action to prevent dangerous individuals from purchasing guns in Maryland.

 Across the country, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist were permitted to buy guns over the past 11 years. At the same time, gun violence continues to terrorize our communities on a daily basis, as those who seek firearms to carry out crime find them all too easy to obtain. As Governor, your leadership can protect Maryland communities and our many high-profile assets like national security installations by prohibiting the transfer or sale of a firearm to anyone on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist. In Connecticut, Governor Dan Malloy is pursuing executive action. In New Jersey, which has a permit-to-purchase program that is similar to Maryland’s, Governor Chris Christie signed a state law to prohibit persons on the FBI Terror Watchlist from receiving a gun permit. I urge you to work with your Administration and the State Legislature to enact similar protections for Maryland residents. 

 I will continue fighting in Congress for common sense gun safety measures that will protect every Marylander, including law-abiding gun owners, and I look forward to working with you in that effort. 


 Chris Van Hollen

 Member of Congress

More Baltimore Pols For Van Hollen

It’s becoming more clear that Elijah Cummings is not running for Senate. If we need more evidence on this front, John Fritze in the Sun brings it to us.

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young said Monday that he has spoken with Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and was assured that the popular Democrat is not running for Senate.

Young joined with other prominent Baltimore African American elected officials in Mount Vernon to endorse Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign to succeed Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, who will retire in 2017. State Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden and Del. Talmadge Branch, the House Majority Whip, were among those also backing Van Hollen on Monday.
* * *

“I personally spoke to the congressman, and he told me he was not running,” Young said during the press conference Monday when he was asked about Cummings.

“He and I are very close, but he’s not in this race,” said McFadden, adding that he did speak with Cummings before coming out in support of Van Hollen.

McFadden, Branch and Young are key Baltimore leaders in the Democratic machine. They’re not going to endorse Chris Van Hollen if there’s even a chance Elijah Cummings is getting in the race. That’s the big story, and the secondary story - which will become bigger moving forward - is that every big Baltimore pol who has endorsed in the Senate race has gone for Van Hollen. The wind is blowing only one way in Charm City, hon.

BREAKING: The Scramble Nails It

The story is out, and I was right. Nobody reads tea leaves or tarot cards like Maryland Scramble. John Fritze:

One of the state’s most influential coalitions of local labor unions will endorse Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s campaign for Senate on Thursday, despite a deep history of supporting his primary opponent, Rep. Donna F. Edwards.

Seven local SEIU unions, representing more than 40,000 members in Maryland — including hospital workers, teachers and security guards — will throw their weight behind Van Hollen, the Montgomery County Democrat running for retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s seat.

The endorsement is significant in part because SEIU is known for its organizing prowess on behalf of Democratic candidates, providing a deep well of volunteers and advertising money. But it is also noteworthy because the unions have long been associated with Edwards, and were a major player in her 2008 primary campaign that toppled incumbent Rep. Albert R. Wynn.

Van Hollen “has a record of standing with labor and workers,” said Ricarra Jones, with 1199 SEIU. “We’re going to go with a person who is going to best represent our interests in the Senate.”

All the locals are in on this endorsement, as is the state council. This is the most significant endorsement of the race thus far. SEIU abandoning Edwards is a huge blow, symbolically as well as tangibly.


The polls have just closed, but based on our exclusive Maryland Scramble exit polling, the tea leaves and a session with a divination professor from Hogwarts, the Maryland Scramble Rumor Network (MSRN) is prepared to call the race, at 10:29 p.m., and to state our very assured opinion that Chris Van Hollen will be endorsed by SEIU tomorrow afternoon in Baltimore.

We’re gonna look like idiots if we’re wrong, but MSRN is pretty certain. Way more certain than Karl Rove was in 2012, anyway.


Another endorsement for Van Hollen, this one from the state’s leading immigration rights group:

The political arm of the immigrant advocacy organization CASA of Maryland announced Tuesday that it is endorsing U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in the U.S. Senate race to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D).

The endorsement comes one day after Emily’s List, a national abortion rights women’s group, said it would spend $1 million in media advertisements for Van Hollen’s primary rival Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.).
“Having worked closely with Chris since 2001, I know he is ready to challenge the status quo to advance justice,” Gustavo Torres, president of CASA in Action, said in a statement.
The region’s largest pro-immigrant group said that, though it recognizes the strengths of both candidates, Van Hollen’s “deep engagement in several high profile immigration relief cases” and record advancing immigrant rights weighed into backing the longtime Maryland lawmaker.

More artillery fire is definitely coming in this race.