State Sen. Jamie B. Raskin is the most liberal of the nine candidates running for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 8th congressional district and, according to the few polls that are out there, a frontrunner. Here are some little known facts about him:
1) Political Bloodlines: Raskin’s grandfather, attorney Samuel Bellman, was Minnesota’s first Jewish state legislator, elected in 1935.
2) Early influence: Harvard political theorist Judith Shklar, Raskin’s undergraduate thesis adviser, whose book “Ordinary Vices” warned against the dangers of cruelty, hypocrisy, snobbery, betrayal, and misanthropy.
3) Early Job: General counsel for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow coalition, 1989-1990.
4) First Big Quote: In March 2006, testifying at a legislative hearing on a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriage, Raskin responded to state Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R), who said the Bible reserved marriage for a man and a woman.
“Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution,” he said. “You didn’t put your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”
Raskin won his first election later that year, unseating incumbent Sen. Ida Ruben in the Democratic primary.
5) The play’s the thing: Raskin works with Silver Spring’s Lumina Studio Theater, which adapts Shakespeare for young casts. He’s co-written productions of “Measure for Measure”and “Henry V.”