This weekend, in what is maybe the most anticlimactic political announcement in Howard County's 150-plus year history, County Councilwoman Jen Terrasa was officially added to the "Team 13" slate. And this was announced on Saturday with a group picture of Team 13-- Senator Guy Guzzone, Delegates Vanessa Atterbeary and Shane Pendergrass, and Councilwoman Terrasa, in a neighborhood, presumably shaking hands, kissing babies, kicking ass and taking names.
The picture was striking in that three people in that picture-- Guzzone, Pendergrass, and Terrasa-- have all served as County Councilmember from Howard County's District 3. They are three of the four people to have represented District 3 through all of my political experience. And Guzzone and Pendergrass have enjoyed positions of leadership in the House and/or Senate. And the fourth person to have represented District 3 in my political lifetime, Dennis Schrader, currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Maryland Department of Health and had previously been its Acting Secretary and Secretary. So my takeaway is this: that being the County Councilmember from District 3 leads to other things. Bigger things.
And so the District 3 race becomes all the more fascinating. Because in the current four-way primary for Council, Democratic voters will be electing someone who will embark upon what could be a 20-plus year political career. One that could lead to the General Assembly or possibly the County Executive's office. And maybe beyond. Should future leadership potential be an issue to primary voters in District 3? I don't see how reasoned, well-informed voters can write off that aspect as something for consideration, although of course, the issues and topics currently facing the District should be paramount.
And I will also opine upon something else I've written about previously. Why is there no Republican candidate in District 3? This simply makes no sense at this point, a scant three weeks away from the filing deadline. I mean, yeah, it does make sense if the goal of the local GOP is to depress Democratic turnout in the general election, like it did in 2014. But if it's serious about gaining a majority on the County Council, and to join in the discussion of issues facing Howard County,it is incumbent for a good candidate-- not just a name for the ballot-- to carry the Republican mantle. But at this point, with each passing day the chances of that drop. In fact, I believe there's only a 10% chance any Republican files at this point, and only about a 3% chance that the Republicans will bother to focus on the District 3 race in 2018. And both of those estimated probabilities are likely charitable.
Think about this. All of the issues facing District 3. Development. Roads. Route 1. A new high school in Jessup or elsewhere? And do you, generic HoCo Republican Leader, really mean to tell me that there are absolutely zero Republicans in the District who have an opinion of value on any of those matters? And who stand by their opinions so much that they are running for County Council to put their views out there? That's unbelievable and just a little bit disgusting. Not the picture of a mature party. And an embarrassment to all the very active, involved Republicans who live there.
I had heard that Republicans were looking for a District 3 candidate, but now, I strongly doubt that ever was the case. Maybe it was months ago. As far as any Republican candidate in District 3 goes, seeing is believing. Meanwhile, HoCo Republicans must be tickled pink with the choice of Hagdu, Hunt, Jennings or Rigby for Council, and for the start of a long elected career by the winner. Because HoCo Democrats sure are!
Let's be careful out there.
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