Ripples from Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s impending retirement continued downstream in Maryland politics Thursday, as Marriott executive and former news anchor Kathleen Matthews and state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery) signaled interest in the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
Matthews, 61, Marriott International’s executive vice president and chief global communications and public affairs officer and wife of MSNBC host Chris Matthews, was out of the country on business and did not respond to phone and e-mail messages.
Scott Pastrick, a former Democratic National Committee treasurer and a longtime friend of the couple, said he spoke to the former WJLA (Channel 7) anchor Wednesday and described her as “very interested” in entering the race.
“She’s been pondering this on and off throughout her time in Washington,” Pastrick said. “From the way she talked to me about it yesterday, it was pretty clear she was heading in that direction.”
“I am seriously considering this unexpected opportunity,” Madaleno told the Blade. “Right now, my primary focus remains representing the people of District 18 in the Maryland Senate as the General Assembly session continues through early April.”
Matthews and Madaleno are part of what is shaping up as a packed field in Maryland’s 8th District, which starts in southern Montgomery’s D.C. suburbs and threads north into Frederick and rural Carroll counties. Because 2016 is not an election year for state and county legislators, they can pursue the seat without giving up their current posts.
Those who have already publicly expressed interest are state Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery), former Montgomery school board and council member Valerie Ervin and former state delegate candidate Will Jawando.
Matthews, who lives in Chevy Chase, left WJLA in 2006 after 24 years. At Marriott, she became a rare high-level Democrat in a corporation where executive chairman Bill Marriott and family members are major GOP contributors. Matthews is credited with making the company more active on social media. She has served on the boards of several charitable organizations.
Madaleno, 49, a onetime aide to former Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan, is vice chairman of the Maryland Senate’s budget and taxation committee and the body’s only openly gay member. He was a key player in passage of the state’s same-sex marriage and transgender rights laws.