I had originally planned to attend Saturday’s Columbia Democratic Club meeting in two capacities. One, as voting club member. And two, as campaign Manager/Treasurer of the James Howard for Delegate campaign.
Well, the “voting club member” hat fell off quickly. Through a few administrative snafus I wasn’t on the voting rolls and though I was invited to be able to vote if I paid $30, the deadline for paying your membership had passed and I didn’t think it would be appropriate to bum $30 off of someone so I could vote. I don’t have Siddiqui morals, after all. And I did just pay my dues tonight! I didn't know CDC had a PayPal.
But alas, soon was it before le troisieme chapeau was placed upon my head. As I was chatting with Sparty about the proceedings, and talking about peoples’ Inner Senor Wenceses, I noticed District 12 candidate Jessica Feldmark and shoulda been District 12 candidate Dylan Goldberg looking at me laughing.
I called Dylan over and asked him two things: 1) why was he cavorting with the enemy (Jessica is NOT the enemy; she is a good person and I hope she and Jamie make it through the primary) and 2)what was so funny. Dylan mentioned that with Jason and I in the back it looked like a “media row” at the meeting.
Well now. I hadn’t thought about that but, if the shoe fits, wear it. Wasn’t like I could do anything else anyway. So I took to doing what media people do, observing, questioning, seeing, and analyzing. So some things I have come to see and believe from the Columbia Democratic Club endorsement meeting:
- I do understand that there were some ballots with a single shot for Janet Siddiqui for County Council, and no other candidates’ names checked. But not nearly enough since Deb Jung won the endorsement of the club. She has also earned the endorsement of this blog incidentally;
- I believe it is unfortunate that the largest and oldest Democratic Club in the County (although I’m not sure about the “largest” thing) didn’t endorse for Democratic Central Committee;
- I wish that the political clubs endorsed for Board of Education. Sabina Taj and Anita Pandey showed up. But the Democratic clubs should take positions in these very important races and learn about all these candidates. Especially since there is a candidate out there named Mavourene Robinson who, despite being a woman of color, does not hold values that have a place within Howard County;
- And last. There is definitely a cast of “preferred candidates” coalescing in Howard County. Given the interactions between various runners and various candidates and campaigns at the meeting, the nexus of this seems to be Courtney Watson, candidate for Delegate in District 9B and 2014 Democratic nominee for County Executive. Who are the preferred candidates? From what I can see, and this is by no means a complete list, these people:
County Council 3 candidate Christiana Rigby
District 9 Senate candidate Katie Fry Hester
District 9A House of Delegates candidate Natalie Ziegler
District 12 House of Delegates candidates Eric Ebersole and Jessica Feldmark
I’ve spoken highly of the art of political mentorship and I have every reason to believe that there is a lot of mentorship involved in most of these cases. But there’s also something else too. The political map. Both the 2018 version and the 2022 version.
You will also note that there’s one candidate that doesn’t top this list: County Executive Calvin Ball. This is for two reasons. One, Courtney needs Calvin more than the other way around, unquestionably. Two, the fate of the County Executive’s race in 2018 is inextricably tied to Watson’s own political fortunes.
Ask yourself this. Why would someone run for a District that won’t exist in a couple years? Because District 9B will almost definitely dissolve in 2020. A Republican Governor will incorporate it into District 9 to keep the seat (or turn it back to) Republican. A Democratic Governor will incorporate it into District 12 to keep the seat (or turn it back to) Democratic.
Also, keep in mind that District 12 will likely be all Howard County come 2020. HoCo has enough population for two whole Senate Districts, and like hell is Guy Guzzone not keeping all of 13 in HoCo. So for Delegate Ebersole, that probably means a HoCo swan song in 2018, but if he wins re-election in 2018, he’ll have to have a seat made for him at the table come 2022. But that seat will be in a Baltimore County District, maybe one shared with Baltimore City.
I know why one of the candidates, Dan Medinger, is running. He gives a damn about serving the people of District 9B. Oh, that crazy Dan! And Courtney cares about the people of 9B too. But she cares more about another job; that of Howard County Executive. So the bottom line is this: if District 12 elects fewer than three Howard County Democrats in District 12, there could be a place for a Delegate Watson come 2020. But if it elects three HoCo Dems, then Delegate Watson would have to run in a four incumbent for three slots race in District 12, or run in District 9 where she would most likely lose.
In my view, 9B in 2018 is a free shot for Watson. If she loses, she is running against an established Republican incumbent who lots of good people (yours truly included) have tried to beat but couldn’t. And if she wins, she will have ended Bob Flanagan! Who she beat for Council when she was the incumbent. Which isn’t too shabby. And, which places her in the catbird seat for County Executive for 2022.
Oh, but what about the 2018 County Exec race? Well, should Calvin Ball win, Watson will be a one-term District 9 Delegate come 2022, or a two-term District 12 Delegate by the time 2026 rolls around. But, if Kittleman wins, it’s an open seat in 2022 with no clearly apparent Republican heir. (My money right now would be on Greg Fox or the loser of the Republican primary in District 5.) And I think by 2026 the Republican brand in HoCo would be stronger. The politically advantageous time for a Democrat to run for County Executive, with 2022 or 2026 being the choices? Should Calvin Ball lose, clearly 2022.
Therefore it is behooving of Watson to support an Ebersole for re-election to Delegate, as well as a Feldmark; because then with a Democratic Governor District 12 would be Feldmark, Hill, and Watson. But if the primary for District 12 breaks Feldmark-Hill-Howard? No room at the inn for a displaced Delegate Watson. Especially with three Democrats in District 13.
And about that District 13. When you go back and look at the County Executive 2014 results in District 13, notice that Watson didn’t do as well as she could have? Her candidacy did fail to bond with that part of the county. What’s interesting is that all of Council District 3 falls within Legislative District 13. So having a preferred candidate in District 3 helps someone with Countywide aspirations. And, of course, the more Democratic votes in District 9, the better. And the candidates there are doing wonderful things. Also good connections to maintain for a countywide race.
Last, why no preferred candidate in District 1 or District 4? As to District 1, why would Watson help Jon Weinstein, who promises to be her biggest competition for County Executive whenever that may happen? And his primary challenger, Liz Walsh, has proven herself to be very much independent. Now as to District 4, why I don't see full-throated advocacy for Deb Jung is a mystery. Except, well-- Nayab has access to a lot of money, some establishment Dems still seem tolerant of him, and a few of those candidates will have tough General Election races.
Does all of this represent a vast left-wing conspiracy of sorts? Maybe. But it also represents an end that fits the means. It also outlines a strategy for the future that is supported by current actions. It also assumes that there’s nothing anyone can do about it. And that last piece is wrong.
As I’ve said before in my endorsements of Sabina Taj and Alec Ross, I support candidates who promise to bring innovation and ideas into office. Democrats have a wonderful opportunity to really break the mold and give people what they want; candidates with community-based and intelligent solutions to address state and countywide problems. Or we can put forth good people who will sit and do what they're told. And I’ve seen Democrats do that way to many times locally and nationally to be OK with that. I saw it in this county in 2014 and no way am I good with letting the environment that gave us County Executive Kittleman in 2014 descend upon local Democrats again in 2018.
Therefore, I strongly endorse candidates who will bring energy, innovation and ideas to Ellicott City and Annapolis:
County Executive: Calvin Ball
County Council District 3: Steve Hunt is my choice because you gotta pick one. Greg Jennings is a strong candidate and also deserves consideration
County Council District 4: Deb Jung
County Council District 5: China Williams
State Senate District 9: Katie Fry Hester is unopposed, but my God, we need her energy and vision to unseat the waste of State resources that is Gail Bates
State Senate District 12: Clarence Lam
State Senate District 13: Guy Guzzone is unopposed, but he’s a good guy (pun intended) who believes in Democratic values. He has moral bedrock, a precious commodity.
State Delegate District 9A: Natalie Ziegler and Steve Bolen
State Delegate District 9B: Dan Medinger is the latest in a long line of candidates for 9B who worked hard in the grassroots. His humility and commitment service deserves to be rewarded.
State Delegate District 12: I stand with the Two Doctors: Terri Hill and James Howard
State Delegate District 13: Vanessa Atterbeary and Jen Terrasa
Poor Dylan. Bet he’s sorry he made that remark!
Let’s be careful out there.
#hocopolitics #election2018 #hocodems #hococouncil #MDGA2018