Matory: Once a Democratic candidate, now a conservative Republican for Congress

Matory: Once a Democratic candidate, now a conservative Republican for Congress

Liz Matory. Photo by ScottE's blog

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By Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com

Four years ago, Liz Matory was a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in Montgomery County. After coming in seventh and dead last in a race against three incumbents in District 18,  she became a field organizer for the gubernatorial campaign of Democrats Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman.

This year, Matory handily won her primary against three men and is now the Republican nominee for Congress, running against eight-term Democratic incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional District.

How did this 38-year-old African American woman who grew up in D.C. — the daughter of two surgeons, a graduate of Sidwell Friends a year behind Chelsea Clinton, a Columbia University alumna and then Howard University Law School with classes from Ike Leggett before he became the Montgomery County executive — go from being a liberal Democrat to being a conservative Republican?

“I left the party three years ago because of my experience as a field organizer. You know you’re pretty much born a Democrat. You think that this is what you have. I never considered being a Republican; I’d never considered the Republican Party at all because that’s not how I grew up. But when I was working in Randallstown you know you connect with voters.”

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She found African American voters who were still suffering from the Great Recession.

“So when I did my homework I learned about conservatism. I was like: ‘Wait I’m a conservative.’ I grew up in a very conservative way. The only difference was the party affiliation. Another reason why I left the Democratic Party is because they have pushed black women to the side.”

She recently moved to Baltimore County to run against Ruppersberger, the former county executive there.

“Dutch is the lowest hanging fruit. He’s been there forever,” said Matory.

“Basically he owns the seat and nobody should own the seat. He feels like he owns Baltimore she feels like he owns Baltimore County.”

Matory’s race is less about Dutch Ruppersberger than the move of the Democratic Party to the far left and toward atheism. She sees this typified in the ascent of Congressman Jamie Raskin and Attorney General Brian Frosh.

“I’m a Catholic Christian. And a lot of us Democrats who are still Christian really felt like we didn’t have a place in the party. I was pro-choice but I am pro-life now.

“You used to have diversity of thought in the Democratic Party. But by 2016 it’s all or none. You know you have to be a thousand percent for transgender rights. You can’t just be a thousand percent for gay marriage; you can’t question it.”

“When I left the Democratic Party I was considered a moderate. Because I was focused on the economy even four years ago.”

There’s more about Matory’s conversion in a thin, 110-page book she published two years ago, “Born Again Republican.”

In all likelihood, if you’re reading this, you’re learning about Liz Matory for the first time. She blames that on the media failing to take her seriously, but she also lacks the money to get her message in this district which includes parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard Counties and a slice of Baltimore City as well.

The June 30 campaign finance report showed Ruppersberger had $1.1 million cash on hand after spending $700,000 this election cycle, and Matory had a mere $4,400, after raising about $10,000.

Ruppersberger has fended off better known and better funded Republican challengers in previous elections. In 2016, he got 62% of the vote against Del. Pat McDonough, who ran and lost for Baltimore County executive this year. In 2012, he got 65% of the vote against Harford County State Sen. Nancy Jacobs. 

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.

9 Comments

  1. Jim

    She’s also a shameless opportunist and batshit crazy.

    • Kathleen Easter

      I was raised Baltimore. County and city. Dutch ruppersburger is too far back in times and hasn’t been but a chair sitter for years.

  2. Mary P.

    She’s got my vote. Before the last redistricting, I was in Andy Harris’s District, now I am in Dutch’s District. I send lots of emails to Dutch telling him how he isn’t representing my position (on almost everything). All I get back is a canned letter, often not even on the same topic that I wrote him about! Dutch is out of touch on most issues.

    For a state that prides itself on its diversity, it is ironic that its representatives to Congress are all male. And all but one (Elijah Cummings) are white males. All but one are Democrat. Four out of the 10 of them (Dutch, Ben Cardin, Cummings, and Steny Hoyer) are poster children for term limits. Sounds more like the membership of an elite men’s club than the vigorous, diverse representation to Congress that Maryland deserves!

    • Thomas Coleman

      Theres 2 minority. Brown in CD 4

      • Mary P.

        I stand corrected; I had forgotten that Brown had won Van Hollen’s old seat. But Brown is still a man. According to the U.S. Census estimates, the population of Maryland is 51.5% women, yet we have NO female legislators in the Maryland delegation to Congress. It’s the ultimate old-boys political insider’s club. Even Cummings and Brown are both political insiders in the Democratic party. Four of these legislators are past retirement age: Dutch is 72, Cardin is 74 (and has had a 50 year career in state and federal politics). Cummings is 67 (but given his health issues, has a body that is not likely to make old bones) and Steny Hoyer will be 80 on his next birthday. It’s time for the electorate to forcibly retire these old men and replace them with younger candidates–at least some of whom should be women! Maryland women have not been represented in the halls of Congress since Barbara Mikulski stepped down for health reasons.

        • John

          Being x doesn’t qualify you for y. But I agree representation is important none the less.That being said, its too dangerous to elect someone who is anti-choice (most Marylanders are pro-choice according to respected polling firms), and agrees with the likes of Alex Jones that Parkland was staged in the name of sending a woman to Congress in the Maryland delegation. I’ll be voting for Dutch.

        • I'm Not Too Sure

          Brown won Donna Edward’s old seat. Raskin won van Hollen’s old seat.

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