Kathleen Matthews, the former Maryland Democratic chair and longtime broadcaster and businesses executive, is backing former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez for governor.
In an email obtained by Maryland Matters inviting associates to a fundraising event that she is hosting for Perez on Dec. 11, Matthews says she had originally intended to stay neutral in the Democratic primary for governor.
“I have several good friends and political allies in the 2022 Maryland gubernatorial race, and would be pleased to have any one of them as our Democratic nominee and future governor,” she wrote. “I had originally planned to sit on the fence until after the primary, but have decided Tom is the best prepared and energized to move Maryland forward after the COVID crisis, and I am committed to helping him win the nomination.”
Matthews also called Perez “a powerful advocate for racial equity and social justice.”
Matthews, whose tenure as state Democratic chair overlapped with Perez’s years heading the DNC, said he was tremendously attentive to Maryland, even as he held national positions at the national party and in the Obama administration.“Tom regularly checked in with me, and green-lighted DNC grant money to help our get-out-the vote, which enabled us to pick up state legislative seats in purple districts, and flip county executive seats in Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County,” she wrote. “…Even while on the national stage, he practiced the cardinal rule that ‘all politics is local,’ and has remained engaged in his local Takoma Park community and Maryland issues.”
Matthews for years was a popular news broadcaster in the Washington, D.C., market, then became an executive at the Marriott Corporation. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Maryland’s 8th District in 2016, then served as state party chair in 2017 and 2018.
“We are lucky to have many good Democratic candidates in this competitive race,” Matthews said in her email. “Hopefully voters will elect the candidate best prepared to take back the governorship from the Republicans to move Maryland forward, and I think that’s Tom Perez.”Matthews said her cocktail-hour event on Dec. 11 would be co-hosted by Elizabeth F. Bagley, a diplomat in three Democratic administrations, philanthropist and Democratic activist.