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Kathleen Matthews Defends Donation to Blunt

Matthews introduced herself to voters when she kicked off her campaign in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:28 p.m. | As she seeks the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, political newcomer Kathleen Matthews might have a hurdle to jump in convincing Free State voters of her progressive bona fides.  

Matthews, a former Marriot executive and a longtime D.C.-area TV news anchor, contributed $2,600 to Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri in 2014. During an appearance Friday on The Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, Matthews was asked about the contribution.  

“I was making that contribution on behalf of my company saluting what I think is somebody who is willing to work across the aisle to create jobs,” she said.  

Matthews said during her nine years at the hotel chain, she worked closely with Blunt and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota to pass legislation that aimed to promote international tourism.  

“He’s the only Republican I’ve ever given money to in my life,” Matthews said.  

When asked whether she supported Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, the Democrat who is taking on Blunt next year, Matthews shrugged: “I have to look at that race. I don’t know."  

Ethan Susseles, a spokesman for Matthews, said in an email, Matthews "is a lifelong progressive, has supported Democrats across the country," and noted her support for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to replace retiring Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.  

Matthews is 1 of 6 candidates facing off in the Democratic primary next year to replace Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who is leaving his seat to run for the U.S. Senate.  

The district is rated Safe Democrat by The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report /Roll Call.

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