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Van Hollen’s Former Staffers to Host Fundraiser

A number of Van Hollen's former staffers are contributing to his campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
A number of Van Hollen's former staffers are contributing to his campaign. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated, June 9, 7:30 a.m. | Along with congressional leadership experience and some high-profile endorsements , Rep. Chris Van Hollen has another source of funds for his U.S. Senate campaign: some influential former staffers.  

The “Van Hollen Alumni and Friends” are hosting a fundraiser at Sonoma Bar & Restaurant on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening to benefit the seven-term Maryland Democrat’s campaign, according to a fundraiser invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.  And the host committee list reads like a who’s who of former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffers from Van Hollen’s tenure as chairman for the 2008 and 2010 cycles. Van Hollen announced he was running for Senate shortly after Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., said in early March that she was retiring. He currently faces Rep. Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary for the seat, which the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rates as Safe Democratic .  

According to the fundraiser invitation, a number of Democratic heavy hitters are on the host committee, including Democratic lobbyist C.R. Wooters, Van Hollen’s former chief of staff; Wooters’ wife Stacy Kerr, a former adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Jenn Crider, Pelosi’s former political director and former DCCC deputy executive director; and Doug Thornell, former Van Hollen adviser and DCCC spokesman now at the public affairs firm SKDKnickerbocker.  

The fundraiser invitation dictates that those who wish to be listed as a co-host for Wednesday’s fundraiser are encouraged to donate or raise $1,000; a benefactor is listed at $500; a friend is listed at $250; and a guest is listed at $100.  

Van Hollen already has nearly eight times in cash on hand as Edwards, though the April 2016 primary is nearly a year away. According to the most recent filings with the Federal Election Commission and including both their House and Senate accounts, Van Hollen had more than $2.7 million in the bank while Edwards had more than $348,000.  

Some other notable Democratic names on the host committee who will look to fill Van Hollen’s campaign coffers even more include Democratic strategist and lobbyist David Castagnetti, who served as chief of staff for former Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Missy Kurek, the DCCC deputy executive director; Ali Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC , and her husband, John, who works in Democratic advertising.  

Tom Manatos, a former Pelosi staffer who operates the D.C. job site that bears his name is also on the committee, along with Casey O’Shea the former DCCC national field director and Brian Wolff, the former executive director for the DCCC.  

Though Van Hollen and Edwards are the only candidates who have formally launched their Senate campaigns, a number of other Democrats are likely considering are bid. No Republicans have entered the race yet, but Chrysovalantis Kefalas, an openly gay Republican who also worked as a speech writer for former Attorney General Eric Holder, launched an exploratory committee in mid-May.  

Emily Cahn contributed to this report.
Correction and clarification: A previous version of this post misspelled Wooters’ last name. An earlier version of this post included the totals just for Van Hollen’s and Edwards’ Senate campaign funds, not the totals including their House accounts.  



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