Josh Kurtz: Del. Waldstreicher Won’t Run for Congress

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Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D), a three-term Montgomery County lawmaker, is telling supporters today that he will not run for Congress in 2016.

Waldstreicher was one of several legislators who considered seeking the 8th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), who is running for Senate.

But in an email to supporters being delivered later today, Waldstreicher, a 35-year-old attorney, suggested that he is more enamored with the prospect of trying to solve local problems, rather than some of the more global issues facing Congress. In his missive he talks in personal terms about overcrowded schools and Washington’s broken-down Metrorail system, and concludes, “I have too much work to do locally.”

“For me, now is the time to double down on making Montgomery County better: investing in our local schools, fixing our local transportation system, and fighting for an economy that works for local families,” Waldstreicher writes.

Had he run, Waldstreicher would not have entered the Democratic race as one of the frontrunners. But he’s a scrappy campaigner who would have carried a populist economic message into the contest, and he might have attracted significant union support. In his message to supporters, he leaves the door open to a future congressional bid.

The declared Democratic candidates for the 8th District seat are Del. Kumar Barve, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, former Obama White House official Will Jawando, former broadcaster and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews, and state Sen. Jamie Raskin. Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin has signaled her intention to join the fray, but has so far not made a formal announcement.

Yesterday was the close of the second quarter fundraising period for congressional candidates, and reports are due to the Federal Elections Commission by July 15. Those fundraising numbers will be among the first barometers of where the Democratic race stands.

Josh Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily, a Capitol Hill publication. He can be reached at . Follow him on Twitter -- @joshkurtznews

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Josh Kurtz has been writing about Maryland politics since late 1995. Louie Goldstein, William Donald Schaefer and Pete Rawlings were alive, but the Intercounty Connector, as far as anyone could tell, was dead.

But some things never change: Mike Miller is still in charge of the Senate. Gerry Evans and Bruce Bereano are among the top-earning lobbyists in Annapolis. Steny Hoyer is still waiting for Nancy Pelosi to disappear. And Maryland Republicans are still struggling to be relevant.

The media landscape in Maryland has changed a lot, and Kurtz is happy to write weekly for Center Maryland. He's been writing a column for the website since it launched in January 2010.

In his "real" job, Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily down on Capitol Hill. But he'll always find Maryland politics more fascinating.

Kurtz grew up in New York City and attended public schools there. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University. He's married with two daughters and lives in Takoma Park, Md. He hopes you'll drop him a line, or maybe go out for a meal with him, because he's always hungry -- for political gossip.