Lou Peck over at Bethesda Beat has the story. You can also check out 7S’s earlier story on the Kunes slate. Despite the contretemps, congratulations to all of the newly elected MCDCC officers. Kunes’s statements to Bethesda Beat indicated a welcome focus on reenergizing the precinct organization and fundraising as part of a broader effort to boost Democratic turnout.
MCDCC has announced the application process but not the deadline for applications or the date of the meeting to fill the delegate vacancy in District 20 caused by their appointment of Del. Will Smith to the Senate. That vacancy, in turn, resulted from Sen. Jamie Raskin’s resignation to take up his seat in the U.S. House.
While delegates invariably form obvious candidates to fill Senate vacancies, delegate vacancies are more wide open. Central Committee Member Jheanelle Wilkins plans to apply. However, I imagine there will be many other people vying for the appointment.
It’s a pity that the appointment won’t take place until January, as that is when the annual session of the General Assembly begins. Let’s also hope Gov. Hogan doesn’t sit on the appointments too long once they’re made.
MCDCC to Fill Vacant District 20 Delegate Position
Date and Location TBAOn December 7, 2016, the MCDCC nominated District 20 Delegate Will Smith to serve the remaining term of the District 20 Senate seat vacated by Jamie Raskin’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Congressional District 8. The formal nomination was submitted to the Governor on December 8; he will have 15 days to act on the nomination, which ensures that a vacancy will occur in the District 20 Delegate position.
The MCDCC is announcing the intention to hold a public meeting in the second week of January, 2017, to nominate an individual to serve the remaining term of Delegate Smith’s District 20 position. The date and location of the MCDCC Special Meeting will be announced in the next few days.
The applicant for the District 20 Delegate nomination may be a male or female, must be 21-years or older on the day of the nomination meeting, be a registered Democrat, and must have resided in Maryland for at least one year and in Legislative District 20 for six months prior to the nomination meeting. The MCDCC reserves the right to confirm any information provided in an applicant’s cover letter and/or resume.To Apply
Applications must submit a 1-page cover letter stating the position applied for, as well confirming that they have resided in Maryland for at least one year and in District 20 for at least six months. In addition to the cover letter, please include a resume of no more than two pages that includes current employment, current and/or past positions in the MCDCC precinct organization or other elected positions, employment information, a history of involvement in past political campaigns, volunteer history for the Democratic Party, and current or past membership in MCDCC-chartered Clubs and Caucuses or other clubs related to Democratic politics. The MCDCC will or may post all applicants cover letters, and/or resumes and/or endorsement on the MCDCC website (www.mcdcc.org) to allow for public review.
The application deadline will be announced when the notice of the date and location for the MCDCC Special Meeting is distributed. MCDCC Rules require that the deadline for submitting applications for legislative vacancies is 5:00 pm before the day of the nomination meeting. However, we encourage you to submit your application as early as possible to give MCDCC members and residents of District 20 adequate time to review your application. You may mail the application to the MCDCC office at 3720 Farragut Ave. #303, Kensington, MD 20895 (it must be received by the deadline), email the application to firstname.lastname@example.org, or drop off the application at the MCDCC office at the address above.
A confirmation email will be sent to you when the MCDCC receives your application. That email may have further information about the process for filling the vacant position.
The public is invited to attend the January meeting.
Below is a list of suggestions for applicants to increase their visibility before the vote to fill the vacancy.
· Contact MCDCC members at any time during the application period (see contact information for MCDCC members at www.mcdcc.org/about/#
· Gather endorsements from residents of District 20, elected officials, community organizations, or MCDCC-chartered Clubs and Caucuses (see www.mcdcc.org/get-involved-2/
clubs/ for a list of MCDCC-chartered Clubs and Caucuses).
· Attend the MCDCC meetings on Tuesday, December 13 and Tuesday January 10, 7:30 pm, at the MCDCC office to meet MCDCC members in an informal setting.
· Participate in community events and forums being planned to acquaint District 20 residents with the candidates as they address resident questions and concerns regarding the vacancy.
Dave Kunes and other candidates on a recently formed slate for the leadership of MCDCC have issued the following press release. In it, the group promises focus on maginalized groups and party building oriented toward GOTV.
Kunes is an aide to County Councilmember Tom Hucker and very tight with the unions. In the wake of union unhappiness over MCDCC supporting the all-Democratic County Council’s unanimous position on effects bargaining (further supported by the voters), he played a key role in putting together the 2014 organized slate for MCDCC. Several were Montgomery County Young Democrats, an organization he helped revitalize.
Kunes, the slate candidate for chair, had a spot on the MCDCC slate in but failed to win enough support from primary voters to gain a seat in 2014. He was named to MCDCC to fill a vacancy. Emily Shetty, the slate candidate for vice chair, joined the committee as a gender balance member.
If this slate is elected, neither the chair or the vice chair will have been elected by Democratic voters to the committee. I have also learned that there is some debate as to whether gender balance members can also serve as MCDCC officers.
Regardless, MCDCC is currently very fractious and badly needs leadership oriented toward the goal of re-energizing the local party. As Adam Pagnucco has pointed out, Democratic turnout in general elections has been steadily declining. Both Kunes and Shetty have campaign experience–Shetty lost a primary for delegate but ran a good race–that could prove very useful.
NEW LEADERSHIP SLATE ANNOUNCED FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE ELECTION
December 10, 2016 — Understanding the challenges and embracing the opportunities that lay before the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, the slate has been formed to ensure the Party’s success in 2017 and beyond.
The slate is as follows:
Chair – Dave Kunes
Vice Chair – Emily Shetty
Treasurer – Julian Haffner
Assistant Treasurer – Erin Yeagley
Secretary – Johntel Greene
Assistant Secretary – Mimi Hassanein
If elected, the slate will be focused on strengthening the Party’s fundraising apparatus, identifying and supporting the next generation of party leaders with particular focus on marginalized groups, and ensuring the Party’s focus on diversity and inclusion, which in light of the recent Presidential election, is more critical than ever.
“Our current Executive Committee has maintained a strong foundation including an open office and staff, successful major events in the Brunch and Spring Ball, and precinct organization. If elected, I will work to re-direct and maximize our existing resources towards our mission: inspiring more Democrats to vote.” said slate Chair candidate Dave Kunes.
“Now, more than ever before, our Committee needs to be committed to transparently and actively engaging voters in the community, to ensure that the hard work of our Democrats elected across the county and state is heard. We must engage in sustained, modern outreach to ensure that we continue to build up our party from the ground up. We are fortunate to have years worth of state, county, and federal campaign experience on our team, and hope to utilize our skills to benefit our party’s efforts.” said slate Vice Chair candidate Emily Shetty.
“The County’s rapidly changing demographics present challenges, certainly, but also provide our Party with a tremendous opportunity to amplify voices which historically haven’t been heard. I believe this is the group that will usher our Party into the future, and I am excited by the prospect of serving with them.” said slate Treasurer candidate Julian Haffner.
The election of officers will be held December 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm at Central Committee Headquarters located at 3720 Farragut Ave, Suite 303. Kensington, MD 20895.
The following is by Tom Moore, a former Rockville City Councilmember and and candidate for the Democratic nomination for the Montgomery County Council’s 3rd District seat in 2014. I disagree completely with Tom’s suggestions for the future focus of MCDCC but thought it would be interesting to present an alternative viewpoint.
Two years ago, David Lublin asked, “How can we measure the success of MCDCC in the future?” and listed four areas of metrics being discussed by MCDCC leaders that might do the trick: Fundraising, precinct organization, field organization, and policymaking.
Now, these were certainly important things to track, but they mostly seem to be chasing the main political party metric, the only one that really matters: So, how many of your candidates won this year?
Because the MCDCC scores an envious 100% just about every year on that metric, subsidiary metrics like fundraising and precinct and field organizations miss the point.
They don’t get nearly to the heart of the question facing the Montgomery County Democratic Party: What is the role of a party organization when it effectively doesn’t have a party opposing it?
If Montgomery County were home to a robust county GOP, the role of the MCDCC would be obvious: Build and maintain the organization that will vanquish as many Republicans as possible every November. Funds would be raised for a reason. Precinct and field organizations would have a clear mission to pursue.
Now, the day may arrive when the GOP decides to start nominating electable candidates, and when it does, the MCDCC can revert to being a regular political party with a traditional mission. But the MCDCC has to figure out what do to with itself until that day arrives – which I’m not betting will be anytime soon.
Because until that day arrives, it will be impossible to build a precinct organization when it doesn’t really have anything to do, or to build a field operation when it doesn’t really have anything to do, or to raise funds for the MCDCC when it has no opposing party. You need continuously competitive local races versus another party to sustain that kind of interest, and we simply don’t have them. People simply have better things to do with their time and money.
What can the MCDCC do until that day arrives? Recruit and train good progressive Democrats to run for office, and help all of them when they do run. Provide information. Pool the costs of running that can be shared across all candidates.
We’re Democrats. We deeply care about how well our government works – would we rather our standard-bearers spend more time raising funds, or more time making our government work well? The cheaper and easier we can make it for our fellow Democrats to run for office here, the more time our candidates and officeholders can actually spend making good policy, and the more money Montgomery County Democratic contributors can keep in their pockets.
I was taken aback during my campaign for the Montgomery County Council’s 3rd District seat in 2014 to learn that I would receive absolutely no support from the MCDCC during the primary season, and wouldn’t receive any were I in the general election, as there was no Republican on the ballot. I called the MCDCC and found that no county voter data was available. My only formal interaction with the Democratic Party at any level was to pay the state party a good chunk of money for my voter data.
Much better would have been for me to be able to send my volunteers to MCDCC classes on field operations, or fundraising, or communications, or data analysis. (I wouldn’t particularly have cared had they been sitting next to my opponents’ staff – there are some easily teachable basics that all Democratic activists should know.) Much better would have been for the MCDCC to have provided me and my opponents with free voter data, and to have some expertise on hand to help us understand it when we had questions.
I don’t suggest that the MCDCC directly intervene in primaries; of course that’s improper. But there’s no reason why the MCDCC can’t offer training – or provide data – to any Democrat who requests it. That’s not helping some candidates at the expense of others, that’s evenhandedly helping every Democrat who bothers to take advantage of the opportunity.
Campaigns end. But Montgomery County’s need for trained and engaged political activists continues. Two years ago, my supporters and I engaged in a spirited contest versus Sidney Katz, Ryan Spiegel, and Guled Kassim and their supporters for that 3rd District seat. This fall, I found myself working with Councilmember Katz, his supporters, and others in the attempt to beat back the developer-supported term-limits initiative. It would have been helpful to have had a corps of progressive activists who were trained in field operations and fundraising and media, regardless of who they supported two years ago, and regardless of who they’ll support two years from now.
We’re in a special situation here. The focus should be on building the MCDCC we need for the situation the MCDCC actually finds itself in, and not the situation that a party with a functional opposing party is in.
The MCDCC could really be helpful to its candidates if it adjusted its approach; right now, it really isn’t doing anything much at all for anyone. The party has an opportunity to chart a new course – a useful one: Recruit good candidates. Train them and their volunteers. Support all of them.
Tom Moore lives in Rockville. He is president of the board of Common Cause Maryland. He is a former Rockville City Councilmember and ran for the Democratic nomination for the Montgomery County Council’s 3rd District seat in 2014.
By Adam Pagnucco.
With an appointment for the District 20 Senate seat approaching, the time is right to revisit the issue of whether to have special elections for General Assembly vacancies. David Lublin and I have been writing about this for nearly a decade, but the issue will not die.
Under the state’s constitution, when vacancies occur for State Senate and Delegate seats, special elections are not held to fill them. Instead, the county Central Committee of the same party as the seat’s former occupant must submit a name of a successor to the Governor within thirty days, after which the Governor appoints the new legislator. If the Central Committee does not meet the thirty day timeline, the Governor has fifteen days to appoint a successor from the same party as the person formerly holding the seat. If the legislative district covers more than one county, each county Central Committee can send a name with the Governor deciding between them if they differ. The bottom line of the process is this: under most circumstances, the county party Central Committees, who themselves are elected in party primaries, have effective appointment power over these vacancies. And they use that power frequently.
A growing body of evidence shows that Maryland voters prefer special elections over appointments to fill vacancies in elected office. Consider the following:
- In 1998, Montgomery County voters approved a charter amendment providing for special elections for County Council vacancies with 90% of the vote. Montgomery was the second county in Maryland to have special elections for Council Members since Prince George’s already had them in its charter.
- In 2004, Howard County voters approved a charter amendment providing for special elections for County Council vacancies with 88% of the vote.
- In 2014, Maryland voters approved a statewide constitutional amendment providing for special elections for County Executive vacancies with 81% of the vote. The amendment did not require special elections, but it did allow county charters to be amended to allow them upon approval by voters.
- In 2016, Maryland voters approved another statewide constitutional amendment mandating special elections for Comptroller and Attorney General vacancies. Prior to the amendment, vacancies in those offices were filled by gubernatorial appointment. Seventy-three percent of voters supported it.
- Also in 2016, voters in Montgomery and Wicomico Counties voted in favor of charter amendments allowing special elections for their County Executives, which were made possible by the 2014 state constitutional amendment. The charter amendments received 90% of the votes in Montgomery and 75% in Wicomico. Wicomico voters also supported a charter amendment for County Council vacancies with 77% of the vote.
With such overwhelming support among voters for special elections, why aren’t they used for state legislator vacancies? Some lawmakers, including Senators Rich Madaleno, Jamie Raskin and Brian Feldman and Delegates David Moon and Christian Miele (a Republican), have tried to pass constitutional amendments providing for them in various forms. Moon’s 2015 bill had bi-partisan support from very progressive as well as very conservative legislators. But officials from both parties always oppose these bills because they strip power from Central Committees and they teamed up to help kill Moon’s bill last year.
Most of the time, appointees serve about as well in the state legislature as those who are elected, but there are exceptions. A glaring example is the District 24 (Prince George’s) appointment in 2013. Incumbent Delegate Tiffany Alston was removed from office and the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee recommended Gregory A. Hall to replace her. But Governor O’Malley refused to accept the appointment because Hall participated in a shooting incident resulting in a murder years ago. O’Malley instead appointed former Delegate Darren Swain to the seat. A year later, Swain was victimized in a bizarre beating and car-jacking in which his assailants accused him of using drugs with them and groping one of them. Alston, Hall and Swain all ran against each other for Delegate in 2014 and all of them lost.
This issue might not be such a big deal if appointments were rare, but they happen all the time. Ten of MoCo’s 32 state legislators – four Senators and six Delegates – were appointed to a seat at some point in their careers. That number will go up to eleven or twelve depending on what happens in District 20. Let’s be clear. We do not intend to imply that these appointed lawmakers are bad elected officials. In fact, some of them have turned out to be excellent. But when voters don’t get to pick more than one third of the people who represent them, something has gone badly wrong.
Gerrymandering is often criticized because it allows politicians to pick their voters. Legislative appointments might be even worse because they allow politicians to pick other politicians. And the power structures of both parties endorse this even though gigantic majorities of their rank-and-file oppose it. The survival of special elections after all these years prompts us to ask a question of all state policy-makers.
What’s more important? The prerogatives of party officials? Or the rights of the voters?
Central Committee Member Chris Bradbury has dropped his bid to fill the delegate vacancy in District 14. He has also resigned from the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC):
This email is to officially retract my application for delegate in district 14.
It’s is further more to be considered my official resignation from the MCDCC effective immediately.
Christopher D. Bradbury
Looks like MCDCC will have yet another vacancy to fill.
UPDATE: Chris Bradbury has defended his creation of the fake official-looking webpage because:
David’s claim that competing candidates are not allowed to decide how to represent their opponents is factually incorrect. For example attack ads and other political advertisements used during a regular campaign to promote a candidate. This is protected by the bill of rights. Also, it should be mentioned that I have not “attacked” any of the candidates in this race.
Misses the point entirely, as the problem is that he cast the page as a “Montgomery County Democratic Party” page. Looks like MCDCC agreed with me, as Chris has had to take down the page. Chris also claims falsely that I wrote my post “at the direction of the Annapolis power brokers.” My words in posts that appear under my name are my own unless otherwise indicated.
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Member Chris Bradbury, a candidate for the vacant delegate seat in District 14, has now removed the fake official-looking Montgomery County Democratic Party webpage he created on his own website. The page solicited opinion on behalf of MCDCC as to who should be appointed to the vacancy.
The page was created without authorization from MCDCC. Yesterday, Bradbury’s response had been solely to correct his misspelling of “Caldwell Banking” to “Coldwell Banking” but the page was entirely gone by this morning. I imagine that MCDCC demanded that the unauthorized page be taken down.
Obviously, Bradbury did not understand that an MCDCC Member who is also a candidate should not go rogue and create an unauthorized official-looking page that presented information about his opponents as well as himself.
As of now, Bradbury is still listed as a Central Committee Member on the MCDCC website. I do not know whether Bradbury plans to remain a candidate for the vacancy or a member of the Central Committee in the wake of these disqualifying actions demonstrating astonishing poor judgement.
I spoke earlier tonight with former Del. Herman Taylor, who confirmed that he plans to move forward with his bid for the District 14 Senate vacancy caused by the retirement of Sen. Karen Montgomery. The current District 14 delegation has endorsed Del. Craig Zucker for the seat.
Taylor won election to the House of Delegates in 2002 and 2006. He was among the first African Americans to win election from a majority white district, a path since followed by current County Executive Ike Leggett (UPDATE: though I am reminded Ike won election to an at-large seat on the County Council much earlier) and County Councilmember Craig Rice.
The race will be decided by a vote of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Taylor raised concerns to me about the process, likely amplified by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s lack of posting about on its website, though I did receive an email requesting applications.
Zucker remains heavily favored to win the appointment, having received the backing of County Executive Ike Leggett, the African-American, Latino and Asian county Democratic clubs as well as the delegation. Taylor left open the possibility of seeking the delegate seat seat should Zucker win the appointment to the Senate.
The New MCDCC Executive Board
Last night, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) elected former Washington Grove Mayor Darrell Anderson as its new Chair. The rest of the Executive Board remains the same–these positions were not up for election.
MCDCC faces a lot of hard work now that the election is over not just to fix existing problems but to reenergize the party for the 2016 election. I hope that they will use metrics to assess progress on their goals. Similarly, accountability and transparency will be critical as MCDCC moves forward.
Now that the election is over, MCDCC has more time to approach problems in a more thoughtful, less pressured atmosphere. Fortunately, even its critics among Democratic officials and other constituencies have remained publicly and privately committed to working with MCDCC to achieve more success in the future.
Last night, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) accepted Chair Kevin Walling’s resignation. Vice Chair Arthur Edmunds will serve as Acting Chair until the members of the committee elect a new chair on on December 2nd.