SILVER SPRING – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, campaigned alongside Maryland Democratic leaders Thursday in an effort to get out the vote for her mother’s campaign ahead of the state’s primary Tuesday.
Clinton planned to make three stops throughout the day, beginning with an event that started an hour late in Silver Spring that featured Sens. Richard Madaleno (D-Montgomery) and Susan Lee (D-Montgomery). Other speaking events Thursday were scheduled for Beltsville and Randallstown.
Over 100 people – diverse in race, age and gender – gathered at Denizens Brewing Co. on Thursday as Chelsea Clinton addressed a range of issues prominent during the primary race, including campaign finance reform, climate change and health care reform.
Chelsea Clinton said “this is the most important election in (her) lifetime” because of her role as a new mother and her fear that a Republican president could roll back eight years of President Barack Obama’s policies.
“I worry everything I care about is at risk – all the progress that President Obama has made,” Clinton said. “I am convinced that my mom is the only person who can help us navigate forward together.”
Chelsea Clinton contested the notion that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the candidate with the best plan for campaign finance reform. She noted the origin of Citizens United, a conservative research organization famous for its role in the Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited election spending for unions and corporations, among other entities.
“It’s personal because Citizens United was an organization set up in 2007 with literally only one purpose – literally only one – to destroy (Hillary’s) 2008 campaign,” Chelsea Clinton said.
A portion of the event was in Q&A format, allowing audience members to ask Clinton questions about the presidential campaign of her mother. Questions ranged from frustration about the “Bernie or bust movement,” the refinancing of student loans and the perception among some voters that her mother is untrustworthy.
Patricia Lake, a Clinton supporter from Bethesda, said that distrust stems from the former secretary of state’s gender.
“It’s sexism,” Lake, a freelance photographer, said. “There’s a double standard for everything men and women do in the world – and in our country.”
Campaign members handed out slips asking attendees to pledge to support Clinton in the upcoming Maryland primary, where she is heavily favored.
A Real Clear Politics aggregate of polling data shows Clinton with a sizable 20-point lead over Sanders in Maryland, with a Monmouth University Poll, conducted between April 18 and 20, displaying a 25-point advantage in the state primary for the former senator from New York.
Anne Calamuci, a photographer from Olney, said that she supports Clinton because many of Sanders’s proposals, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, could “throw us into a recession.”
“It’s a lovely, sweet thought, but I don’t think his views are realistic,” Calamuci said. “We have enough problems with Congress as is, and we need someone who will be reasonable dealing with them.”
State Sen. Richard Madaleno, D-Montgomery, introduced Chelsea Clinton by touting her family’s support for LGBT rights over the past 25 years. Madaleno, who is openly gay, said he would never have envisioned a country as tolerant as it is now when he was younger, crediting the Clinton family with spurring that change.
“It doesn’t matter what type of person, they provided an opportunity, a chance for prosperity for people who never thought they would have it,” Madaleno said, “and that is why it is so exciting to see that (Hillary) will be the next president of the United States.”
The trio of speaking events came two days after the former secretary of state defeated Sanders by a 58 to 42 percent margin in her home state of New York, continuing Clinton’s lead among pledged delegates to the nominating convention in July.
Lee said that Clinton is the most qualified presidential candidate running in any party because of her decades of experience, all the way from the first lady of Arkansas, to a U.S. senator from New York to, most recently, secretary of state in the Obama administration. But no matter who wins the primary, Lee said, it is important for Democrats to rally around the last candidate standing.
“Whoever wins the primary, we all must work together because we are all Democrats,” Lee said.