Kathleen Matthews, who lost the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District last month, says she has not ruled out another run for office and thinks she would have defeated state Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (Montgomery) if wine mogul David Trone had not entered the race.
In her first interview since the election, the former news anchor and Marriott executive said Wednesday that “all options are on the table,” including local offices that will open up in 2018, such as county executive and seats on the County Council in Montgomery.
“I believe the skills and issues that I’m passionate about would be effective in whatever office I run for,” Matthews said.
But Matthews did take one potential opportunity off the table. She said she would not seek to represent Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, where the incumbent, Rep. John Delaney (D), is widely expected to run for governor in 2018.
“I believe you should live in the district,” she said.
Congressional candidates are allowed to run in districts where they do not reside. Delaney lives in the 8th District, as does Trone, who has not ruled out another congressional bid if Delaney’s seat opens up.
Matthews finished third among the nine candidates in the 8th District primary, receiving 23.9 percent of the vote. Raskin won with 33.6 percent, and Trone — who spent a record $12 million of his own money on advertising and field organizing — drew 27.1 percent.
Before Trone entered the race in late January, both Raskin and Matthews were considered front-runners for the Democratic nomination. Her years on television meant her name and face were known throughout the district, and her extensive connections among top Democrats and party donors throughout the Washington area positioned her to raise more money than the opposition.
Matthews, who is supporting Raskin in the general election, said she believes her campaign was mortally wounded by Trone’s candidacy, which gave primary voters — especially moderates — another alternative to the liberal state senator.
“Had David Trone not decided to get into the race, I would have won the nomination,” she said.
Raskin won Matthews’s home 18th Legislative District (she lives in Chevy Chase Village) with 36.3 percent of the vote. She came in second (24.1 percent), and Trone was a close third (21 percent). Had Matthews gotten a strong share of Trone’s vote, she might have edged out Raskin there.
But Trone’s wall-to-wall advertising may have drawn to the polls voters who would not have come out otherwise. So, it is difficult to know just how much of the “no-Raskin” vote Matthews would have had to work with.
The numbers suggest that Matthews’s highly focused pitch to female voters fell short. Data from prior elections showed that women constituted 60 percent of the Democratic primary electorate in Montgomery County (home to 80 percent of District 8’s primary voters). Matthews’s share of the total vote indicates that she did not dominate among women as she had hoped.
“I think you can make the argument that she got less than 50 percent of the women,” said Seth Maiman, campaign manager for Del. Kumar Barve, one of the other Democratic candidates.
Matthews said her immediate post-primary focus is to help other women candidates, including Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. She is also active in Vital Voices, an organization founded by Clinton and former secretary of state Madeleine K. Albright to mentor women aspiring for office in other countries.