Upsets, he knows, do happen. Just look at how financier John K. Delaney beat Maryland Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (Montgomery), who had the party’s backing, in the Democratic primary this year.
Plus, Murray thinks Moran’s time has come.
“If I thought Jim was doing a good job,” Murray said, “then I wouldn’t be running.”
It’s a message he sought to drive home at the recent Clarendon Day street fair, where he, his campaign manager and a handful of volunteers spent the afternoon passing out yard signs and talking with potential voters.
“It’s still an uphill battle,” Murray told two 20-somethings who seemed eager to chat. “But we can do it.” With a mascot in an elephant costume dancing behind him, he said that although the 8th District leans blue, redistricting has helped, and his campaign is working hard to pick up votes in new neighborhoods.
“Really,” Murray said, “this is about getting someone in office who can do better for the people of this district.”
Not everyone was interested, though. Some pretended not to hear him when he said hello. Others said they were Democrats and kept moving. One grumbled dismissively, “Good luck.”
Murray seemed unfazed as he wiped perspiration from his brow.
“It’s a tough business,” he observed.
He said his decision to run a second time was not made lightly. He looked to friends, family members and advisers and deliberated for months, choosing to try again only after becoming convinced that he could win.
Among the biggest factors that convinced him are the parallels being drawn between 2012 and 1980, when Ronald Reagan unseated President Jimmy Carter and Republicans made huge gains in Congress. One person who argued the similarities and encouraged him to run again, he said, was his friend Frank R. Wolf, Virginia’s 10th District congressman.
A fact that Murray has been careful to point out: It took Wolf three tries before he won.
Some candidates simply won’t admit how long the odds are and focus on how anything is possible, especially in the digital age, when even the most seasoned candidates can implode quickly.
Kristin Cabral, Wolf’s latest Democratic challenger, is a former federal prosecutor who has never run for elected office before. Her opponent has been vanquishing challengers since he was first elected in 1981, the year Reagan took office as president. Wolf crushed his last challenger by 28 points, and as of June 30, his campaign had $456,000 in the bank, about eight times what Cabral had on hand.
Still, she fervently believes that career politicians such as Wolf aren’t doing right by the country and that bringing in non-politicians is the answer.
“Congress is broken,” Cabral said.
Asked why she believes she’ll beat Wolf, she said flatly, “Because he’s out of touch.”