As Democratic women from across the state of Maryland, we are proud to support Kathleen Matthews for reelection as chair of the Maryland Democratic Party. We’ve gotten to know Kathleen in different ways: as fellow candidates when Kathleen and Joseline ran for Congress in 2016, as members of the Emerge Maryland board working to elect more women to office, during the gubernatorial campaign, and over the past 21 months, as we admired her tenacity and effectiveness as chair of our Democratic Party.
Most importantly, Kathleen understands the importance of inclusive and diverse leadership. She’s a listener, an independent and courageous thinker who is not afraid to challenge leadership when she thinks the interests of Marylanders can be better served.
There are many fair criticisms that can and have been made about the Democratic Party — there are many we’ve made ourselves. But much progress has been made here in Maryland over the last two years to create a more energetic party that reflects the diversity of our state, and there is no one who put more hard work and energy into that — or who did more to get Democrats elected to office in Maryland in 2018 — than Kathleen Matthews. We can think of no one better to keep working to move our state and our party forward. Kathleen’s accomplishments include:
- Launching the party’s first ever off-year statewide field program that contributed to sweeping historic victories in Annapolis and Frederick in 2017, while building grass-roots momentum and honing the Democratic message for 2018.
- Raising $4.6 million to be able to fund the robust, 80-staff coordinated campaign effort to turn out the Democratic vote statewide that supported overwhelming victories in three statewide races, seven of eight Congressional races, winning the four most competitive county executive races this cycle (Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Frederick, and Howard Counties), increasing the Democratic majorities in the House of Delegates, and flipping numerous seats on county councils, school boards, and other local offices.
- Overseeing a Democratic coordinated campaign effort in partnership with numerous progressive groups that grew Democratic turnout to 60 percent in 2018, up from 47 percent in 2014 and besting the midterm turnout during the 2006 and 2010 O’Malley campaigns.
- Hiring a diverse Maryland Democratic Party staff and moving into a 21st century headquarters.
- Increasing the party’s focus on digital organizing and developing Democratic messaging resources for candidates and supporters.
- Acquiring 1 million new cell phone numbers for the Maryland Democratic voter file.
- Working at the national level with Tom Perez at the Democratic National Committee to pass the Unity Reform Commission and creating a working group to in Maryland to make recommendations to make our party more open and transparent.
These are just a few of the party’s many accomplishments this cycle. Kathleen is a relentlessly hard worker who has ambitious goals to continue to improve our party’s outreach, communications, and organizing strength, and she has the record to show that she can deliver.
Some of us are also friends with Maya Rockeymoore Cummings. She is a champion of Democratic values and contributed to the governor’s race by focusing on the need for a more inclusive economy that works for all Marylanders. Even after her race was over, she helped get out the vote and supported numerous candidates in partnership with United for Maryland. We hope that she will be part of the team working with Kathleen to take the party to new heights.
There is no doubt that much work remains. We must aspire to make sure that our elected leadership reflects the full, beautiful diversity of our state. We must build more power at the grass-roots level, build our bench of diverse candidates, staff and volunteer leaders, and increase communications efforts. We believe that Kathleen is the right person to take on these issues and we look forward to working with her to make our party stronger and more inclusive than ever.
Senator Joanne Benson
Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk