Helga Luest says Waldstreicher asked her to leave District 18 primary

District 18 candidate Helga Luest said Del. Jeff Waldstreicher (D-Kensington) suggested she drop out of her Democratic primary and instead run for state Senate, ostensibly to split the vote in Waldstreicher’s favor.

Luest on Saturday released a statement via her public campaign Facebook page, saying that she was “moved” by state Sen. Cheryl Kagan’s recent statement, in which Kagan released a letter saying that Annapolis lobbyist Gil Genn inappropriately touched her on Thursday evening at an Annapolis bar.

Luest wrote that she then decided to share her December interaction with Waldstreicher, who is seeking the District 18 state Senate seat currently held by Sen. Rich Madaleno, who is running for Maryland governor.

Luest, who lives in Rockville, wrote that Waldstreicher suggested she drop her state delegate bid and instead run for the Senate race, “presumably to split the vote and make it tougher for his only opponent, Dana Beyer.”

She said that once Waldstreicher became aware that she reached out to a journalist to share her story, Waldstreicher called her and told her she needed to “reframe” what happened as a joke.”

“It’s not a joke, that’s not how I took his suggestion, and I felt his call was intended to further intimidate and silence me,” Luest wrote.

Waldstreicher was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2006. He is locked in a primary fight with retired eye surgeon Dr. Dana Beyer and Michelle Carhart.

This story will be updated. 

A Miner Detail reshares Luest’s statement.

#MeToo in Montgomery County

I was moved by the statement made by Senator Kagan yesterday about her experiences with sexual harassment and, unfortunately, a very recent groping incident. The reality is that even in this #MeToo climate, many men continue to use their power and influence to harass, abuse, and silence others. In politics, and as a candidate for Delegate, I believe we should lead by example and that character matters now more than ever – which is why I would like to share an experience.

In December, Senate candidate Jeff Waldstreicher suggested to me that I do him “a favor” by running in the Senate race. I was shocked, offended, and felt disrespected. The request – presumably made to split the vote and make it tougher for his then only opponent, Dana Beyer – wasn’t a joke and neither of us laughed. Women work hard to move into leadership positions and we should be respected for stepping up to run for office.

It’s been 30 years since I survived an attempted murder – an experience that led me to work on positive social change as a national advocate on victim rights and violence prevention. I’ve worked on numerous policies at the state and federal levels, and just this past week, years of advocacy lead to the successful bi-partisan passage of a Congressional Resolution to better support trauma survivors. I’m not a write-off to help split the vote and the days of men using women to maintain or attain new positions of power are gone.

Senate candidate Waldstreicher tried to maneuver that with me and I later learned in a blog post that he tried to use his power and influence to convince Dana Beyer to leave the Senate race and down-slate so he would have no opponent.

Once he became aware that I reached out to a journalist, Senate candidate Waldstreicher then called me and told me he thought I needed to “reframe” what happened as a joke. It was not a joke, that’s not how I took his suggestion, and I felt his call was intended to further intimidate and silence me.

Integrity matters, which is why I’m sharing this experience now. For men who continue sexist and misogynistic behavior, #TimesUp – even if they don’t realize it until they are named. #TruthToPower

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