Category Archives: Craig Zucker

Campaign Finance Reports: Districts 14 and 15, January 2018

By Adam Pagnucco.

Today kicks off a series of reports on fundraising in MoCo’s state legislative districts.  Incumbents are marked in red.

District 14

This is by far the easiest MoCo state legislative race to figure out.  All four incumbents – Senator Craig Zucker and Delegates Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Pam Queen – are going to be reelected.  The end.

District 15

Senator Brian Feldman has achieved every politician’s dream: a complete deterrence of credible competition.  Since he first won a House seat in 2002, he has never been at risk of losing an election.  Meanwhile, four of his MoCo Senate colleagues (Cheryl Kagan, Rich Madaleno, Roger Manno and Nancy King) have endured tough races in recent years to gain or hold their seats.  Will any serious candidate ever run against him?  Of course, your author would be the first to sing Feldman’s praises as a public official and any challenger stupid enough to run would lose, but – dang it – Feldman is not doing his part to keep political bloggers busy!

Incumbent Delegates Kathleen Dumais and David Fraser-Hidalgo will be reelected despite their somewhat anemic fundraising.  Of the candidates seeking to succeed Delegate Aruna Miller, who is running for Congress, Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Lily Qi looks like the strongest contender.  Your author worked with Qi during his time in county government and found her to be smart, competent and forward-thinking.  She was one of the uncommon people who could deal with the day-to-day tribulations of working for the county while also possessing the capacity to assume a perspective from 30,000 feet.  Qi has done well at raising money, and with her standing in the local Chinese-American community, her admirers in the business community and the support of her boss, County Executive Ike Leggett, she has had a good start.

Kevin Mack, who is Congressman John Delaney’s constituent service lead, is well regarded by those who have interacted with him and is the principal alternative to Qi.  But it’s not helpful that he trailed political consultant Andy VanWye in fundraising.  Hamza Khan, who switched from the District 39 House race, has not yet filed his campaign finance report and is being fined by the Board of Elections.  Republicans were once competitive in this district and held a Delegate seat here as recently as 2006, but they will not win any seats in the age of Trump.

The Big Question: will the incumbents slate with Qi as they slated with Miller, then a new candidate, in 2010?  If they do, this race will probably be over.

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Pro-Gun Challenger in D14 Going Nowhere

District 14

In District 14, Sen. Karen Montgomery is currently unopposed for a second term. Sen. Montgomery served two terms in the House of Delegates before knocking out incumbent Sen. Rona Kramer in one of 2010’s top-tier Democratic primaries.

On the House side, Dels. Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker are also seeking second terms, while senior delegation member Del. Anne Kaiser is running for a fourth term. The four incumbents in the General Assembly are hanging together and have formed a slate that will campaign and do coordinated mailings.

The House incumbents face one challenger, John Paul Evans of Gaithersburg, a 24 year old graduate of Damascus High School . He explained why he was running in a Gazette profile:

The issues that most concern him are civil rights and government transparency.

“I don’t think we have enough transparency in the slightest,” he said.

Evans said he is reluctant to single out one civil right to focus on.

“We’ve had the gun issue, with assault weapons, and we’ve had issues with the [National Security Agency],” he said.

Evans said gun laws should be based on guns’ functionality, not whether they look like assault weapons.

Those topics have been “a driving force” behind his decision to announce his candidacy, he said.

Evans’ oblique campaign announcement further refers to pro-gun and anti-NSA surveillance stance:

I think our government is not treating our civil rights with the respect they deserve. It’s time someone “stands his ground” to solemnly defend our civil rights. I want to do my part to protect our inalienable rights. I want to be there on the ground floor to say, “No, we cannot violate the people like that”, before a bill ever becomes a law. I want to be the first line of defense and give our community a strong and active voice.

“Stands his ground” sounds more like George Zimmerman than John Lewis. In the Sentinel, Evans made more explicit his opposition to Maryland’s new gun laws on Second Amendment grounds. A member of the Snowden generation, it will be interesting to hear more about how Evans plans to rein in the NSA from Annapolis.

The delegates are comparatively well positioned financially if not incredibly flush based on their last pre-session bank balances with Del. Kaiser at $36K, Del. Luedtke at $26K, Del. Zucker at $42K. Sen. Montgomery has $43K (error corrected from previous version).

Free Citizens for John Evans filed an affidavit attesting the he “does not intend to receive contributions or make expenditures in the cumulative  amount of $1000 or more.” (Information gathered from the most recent 2014 reports in the Maryland Campaign Finance Database.)

All four incumbents are solid liberals and I’d be shocked if they did not collect the usual round of endorsements from unions and progressive groups. Evans seems most likely to gain support from Free State DINOs, a group encouraging Republicans to register to vote in Democratic primaries to unseat incumbents like Montgomery, Kaiser, Luedtke, and Zucker for supporting the gun laws adopted by Maryland in the wake of Newtown shootings.

John Paul Evans is a frequent flyer in the Maryland Judicial Database due to traffic offenses but none contributed to an accident. He drove on a suspended license in 2009 at the age of 19. The prosecutors declined to prosecute and did the same when Evans repeated the offense in 2011. In 2012, he plead guilty to driving without proper vehicle plates. Just last year, Evans plead guilty to failure to display his license when demanded by a police officer and still lacking the proper plates. The latter appeared related to continued problems with a suspended license.

These problems strike me as not life disqualifying from public service but it would be nice if  they were further in the rear view mirror. Regardless, the easy choice for Democrats is to go with the incumbents. They should win easily in any case but face a more vigorous challenge in the general election. Though District 14 has more Republicans than most Montgomery districts, effective campaigns should assure victory in that race too.

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