Rubin joins crowded field to replace Van Hollen

Rubin joins crowded field to replace Van Hollen

Joel Rubin worked for the passage of the Iran deal. (File photo)
Joel Rubin worked for the passage of the Iran deal. (File photo)

Pittsburgh native Joel Rubin, a former State Department chief liaison to the House of Representatives who worked for the successful passage of the Iran nuclear deal in Congress, announced his candidacy last week for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Van Hollen is seeking to fill the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

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

A father of three daughters, Rubin, 44, said he planned to make his efforts to get the Iran deal adopted “a centerpiece” of his campaign. It shows that he can be successful in Congress and demonstrates his belief that diplomacy is preferable to war, he said.

Rubin joins a crowded field of Democrats for the 8th Congressional District, which includes parts of Montgomery, Carroll and Frederick counties in suburban Washington, D.C.

The others are state Sen. Jamie Raskin, former aide to President Barack Obama William Jawando, state Dels. Kumar Barve and Ana Sol Gutierrez, Marriott International executive vice president Kathleen Matthews and David Anderson, a senior vice president of the nonprofit Washington Center.

No Republican candidates have announced in the heavily Democratic district.

Rubin previously worked at J Street as its political director and was involved in national security issues for the 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 used to write a monthly opinion column for the Chronicle.

He 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 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.”

This story first appeared in Washington Jewish Week. Suzanne Pollak can be reached at