Former state depart. liaison enters race for Van Hollen’s seat


Joel Rubin, the former U.S. State Department’s chief liaison to the U.S. House of Representatives who worked for the successful passage of the Iran nuclear weapons deal in Congress, announced his Congressional candidacy Monday to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is running to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

In his brief announcement, Rubin said, if elected, he would support a liberal agenda while “pushing back” against those who don’t support his “progressive values.”

Rubin, 44 and the father of three daughters, said he planned to make his work in getting the Iran deal adopted “a centerpiece” of his campaign. It shows that he can be successful in Congress, and his belief in diplomacy over war, he said.

Rubin, of Chevy Chase, joins a crowded field of Democrats for the 8th Congressional District which includes parts of Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick counties.

Md. State Sen. Jamie Raskin, former President Barack Obama aide William Jawando, Md. State delegates Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutierrez, Marriott International executive vice president Kathleen Matthews and non-profit executive David Anderson previously announced their candidacies. Raskin, Anderson and Rubin are Jewish.

No one has yet announced on the Republican ticket in this heavily Democratic district.

Rubin previously worked at J Street as its political director and was involved in national security issues for Ploughshares Fund. He also was a congressional fellow for former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and an aide to the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).

He currently is president of Washington Strategy Group, a consulting company he founded.

All those running to replace Van Hollen except Anderson said they favored the Iranian nuclear weapons agreement, according to Bethesda Magazine.

Rubin praised Van Hollen, noting, “I would love to build upon his amazing legacy.”

The former Peace Corps volunteer said, “Now, more than ever, we need to create a better world.”

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