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Matthews inches closer to run for House

Matthews inches closer to run for House
Kathleen Matthews

Kathleen Matthews, the longtime television news anchor and former executive at Marriott, will make an announcement on Wednesday about her plans for Maryland's 8th Congressional District -- the latest indication she is gearing up to run for the seat.

Matthews will announce her decision in Silver Spring.

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Matthews, a 61-year-old Chevy Chase resident who is married to MSNBC personality Chris Matthews, has the potential to shake up the contest for a couple of reasons.

After 15 years as an anchor at WJLA-TV, she may be as well known as some of the state elected officials who have already announced campaigns. And both Kathleen and Chris Matthews are presumably well connected to a wide swath of Democrats -- and Democratic donors -- both in Montgomery County and nationally.

On the other hand, Matthews has never run for office before -- and she has yet to speak publicly about why she's interested in the seat or how she would distinguish herself from other candidates with a known track record in Annapolis.

In a rare circumstance, particularly for Maryland, the 8th District is being left open in 2017 because of Rep. Chris Van Hollen's run for Senate. The district is based in Montgomery County but also includes portions of Frederick and Carroll Counties.

The seat is widely considered safe for Democrats, though it was redrawn by state lawmakers in 2011 to include more GOP voters. Still, Van Hollen beat Republican Dave Wallace in the 2014 general with more than 60 percent of the vote.

Last month, Marriott International executives announced Matthews' departure from the Bethesda-based company, noting she was leaving to "seek a challenging new role in public service." She has already retained SKDKnickerbocker, a well-known, Washington-based political consultant.

Matthews, who was chief global communications and public affairs officer at Marriott, would join Sen. Jamie Raskin, Dels. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutierrez as well as former White House aide Will Jawando in the race for the Democratic nomination.

Matthews' name has been floated for months as a possible candidate. In March, Chris Matthews disclosed to his viewers on MSNBC that she was considering the contest. The disclosure was made in the interest of transparency for the network, but it also didn't hurt her in terms of generating some attention for the possible campaign.

"She's been involved with public issues her entire career," Chris Matthews said at the time. "I know her commitment runs truly deep...I'm proud of her and support her...If she does indeed decide to run for Congress than we will make sure we continue to fully disclose my relationship -- which I've never denied -- with her."

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