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Kathleen Matthews, a former television anchor in Washington, has elected to head the Maryland Democratic Party.
Kathleen Matthews, a former television anchor in Washington, has elected to head the Maryland Democratic Party. (handout / Baltimore Sun)

Maryland Democrats chose Montgomery County businesswoman Kathleen Matthews, who had the support of party leaders, on Saturday to lead their party through the 2018 election.

Matthews, who had been acting chairman since March 1, defeated party activist Tony Puca, 471-33, in a vote of the party's state central committee in Greenbelt.

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She succeeded D. Bruce Poole of Washington County, a former House majority leader who had served as chairman since shortly after the Democrats lost the governorship in the 2014 election.

Matthews, a former television journalist, came in third place last year in the Democratic primary to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who would be elected to the U.S. Senate. State Sen. Jamie Raskin of Montgomery won that contest.

The new chairman promised to capitalize on the heightened activism among Democrats resulting from the election of Republican President Donald J. Trump.

Matthews, 63, is the wife of Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" news program.

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