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Maryland Update: New Democratic Party Chair & Republicans "Drive for Five"

Mon, May 8, 2017

New Democratic Party Chair

Maryland Democrats elected Kathleen Matthews, the former Marriott International executive and onetime congressional candidate, on Saturday to lead their state party. 

Matthews had been interim party chair since March 1, when the previous chair stepped down. The state party chair traditionally leads fundraising and candidate recruitment efforts.   

Republicans “Drive for Five”

Republicans are targeting six seats representing Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Frederick counties and the Eastern Shore, all areas Governor Hogan won by wide margins in 2014. 

An increase of five GOP seats in the 47-person chamber would mean Democrats would lack the 29 votes needed to override vetoes, which are one of the main ways a Republican can influence lawmaking in a deep-blue state with strong Democratic majorities in both legislative chambers. 

Party leaders have dubbed the effort “Drive for Five” and are recruiting candidates, raising money and counting on Hogan, who plans to seek a second term, to campaign in down-ballot races as well.