Category Archives: District 18

Glendening Endorses Milano

Former Governor Parris Glendening has endorsed District 18 House candidate Leslie Milano.  We reprint her press release below.

*****

Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening Endorses Leslie Milano, D18 Delegate Candidate

For Immediate Release Contact: Janiene Bohannon, Communications Director

janiene@milanofordelegate.com

(Silver Spring, Md., April 14, 2018) – Former Maryland Governor Parris Glendening endorsed Leslie Milano for the House of Delegates, District 18 today.

Milano—a respected public health executive, human rights advocate, and mother of two—is running on a platform of socially-responsible economic growth, expanding the renewable energy sector, and addressing school overcrowding for Marylanders. Glendening served as the Governor of Maryland from 1995-2003, and was previously the County Executive of Prince George’s County from 1982-1994.

“For the last 15 years I have worked with advocates and elected officials around the country and the world on efforts to protect our environment,” said Glendening. “Leslie’s focus on transit, walkable, sustainable communities and solar energy will make her a leader in efforts to protect our environment and our planet. She understands good environmental policy is good for the economy. She knows Maryland can be a leader in making alternate energy an important part of our economy. That is why I am enthusiastically supporting Leslie Milano for election to the Maryland House of Delegates.”

Glendening added, “I’ve been involved in Maryland politics for four decades, and as governor, I worked closely with the Maryland House of Delegates to help working families. Leslie Milano brings strong Democratic values, business experience and an innovative approach that isn’t typical in today’s politics.” He continued, “In our current political climate, we need strong women at every level of government, and Leslie Milano is a bright, savvy emerging leader for Maryland.”

At the age of 25, Milano co-founded a nonprofit labor rights organization dedicated to improving conditions for factory workers abroad. She gave lectures on 300 college campuses and business schools focused on corporate social responsibility, and helped to end certain labor abuses affecting hundreds of thousands of women workers. For the past six years, Milano has been the executive director of a public health consulting organization dedicated to patient safety. She has negotiated multi-million-dollar contracts with state and federal agencies to successfully reduce healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals and nursing homes.

“For District 18 and beyond—whether it be education, gun violence prevention, healthcare or workforce development—we can be the progressive leader that builds coalitions with other progressive states to move our country in the right direction,” said Milano. “An endorsement from Gov. Glendening is very meaningful given his long, successful career in public service for Maryland at the highest level of our state government.”

Milano has also received the candidate distinction from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a leading gun violence prevention organization. Milano holds two master’s degrees in Theology/Ethics from Union Theological Seminary and International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University, as well as a certificate of leadership from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. For more information about Leslie Milano, visit www.milanofordelegate.com.

Currently eight Democratic candidates are running for three seats. The primary is June 26, and early voting starts June 14.

###

Share

Luest Asks D18 Candidates to Sign Anti-Waldstreicher Statement

By Adam Pagnucco.

District 18 Delegate candidate Helga Luest, who has accused Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher of asking her to switch races to benefit his Senate candidacy, has circulated a statement against him to other candidates in the district requesting that they sign it.  The deadline she set passed and after the statement leaked to the press, the effort collapsed.

Luest has previously accused Waldstreicher of asking her to run in the Senate race to reduce the chances of rival Dana Beyer of winning.  Waldstreicher replied in Bethesda Magazine, “These claims are false, defamatory, and born of actual malice… When they go low, I go high—standing up for our community’s progressive values, leading the fight for $15 minimum wage, investing in our schools and resisting the Trump administration at every turn.”

Luest then circulated the statement below to the other candidates for Senate and House in District 18, including the two running against Waldstreicher, and asked them to sign it.  We reprint Luest’s proposed statement and her transmittal email below (with the private email addresses of recipients redacted).

Fellow House candidate Joel Rubin pushed back, writing this email to Luest and the other candidates.

Dear Helga – After careful consideration, I’ve decided to neither provide edits to nor sign on to this letter.

I have spent my entire life as a son, brother, grandson, husband, father, nephew, and son-in-law to powerful, smart, amazing women. Professionally, I have dedicated years of my public sector service to programs that advance women’s rights as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Latin America and to women’s economic advancement in the Middle East as a State Department officer. And politically, I have supported women candidates for office both financially and with advice and support. In fact, I was recently endorsed for State Delegate by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky – the co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

This is why I’m not signing the letter. Because what I have learned from all these women in my life – not to be bullied – empowers me to say no. Yet that is precisely how you are approaching this letter.

This letter is about an issue that you have with another candidate. You have made your concerns about his behavior clear publicly. And you have gotten significant press coverage about this issue. It is not hidden from public scrutiny. In addition, I have privately spoken with you to express my admiration for your willingness to stand up for yourself on an issue that you find of ethical importance.

Yet instead of making this your own fight, you’re now attempting to re-frame this issue as one about women versus men. And you made it clear in your outreach to me that if I didn’t sign the letter, I would be portrayed as anti-woman. This type of approach undermines your claims of principled behavior. Not only are you using bullying tactics, but you are also engaging in guilt by association and the potential smearing of my reputation because I may not support your personal position expressed in this letter.

I think it’s wrong that someone whom I barely know and met just a couple of months ago on the campaign trail believes that they have the right to define for me what it means to be a supporter of women. My personal and professional track record speaks for itself and runs counter to these claims.

It therefore seems that this letter is more about politics than about principle. It appears to be an attempt to leverage the #MeToo movement for personal political benefit. And that is a real shame.

I prefer to stick to principle when it comes to advancing women’s rights. It is time to build alliances between women and the men who are already on their side.

All the best,

Joel

After Rubin’s email was sent, the statement leaked to the press and Luest’s deadline on Wednesday at 5 PM passed with no consensus.  Then the discussion ended.

We make no judgment on whether Luest’s account or Waldstreicher’s is closer to the truth.  But we understand why Luest’s statement failed to get traction.  In District 18, the House and Senate contests are fundamentally different.  The House race is a popularity contest.  Whichever three candidates have the most appeal for voters will win.  Controversy does not facilitate victory.  The Senate race is going to be a war.  At some point, Beyer and Waldstreicher – neither of whom are the other’s devoted fan – will start launching live fire.  Only the strongest will survive.  Why would the House candidates want to be in the middle of that?

Here is a prediction: this is not the last time we will hear of this.  As Waldstreicher is a three-term House incumbent, he has the advantages of name recognition, constituent service, community relationships and endorsements over Beyer.  Since the two have virtually identical positions on issues, Beyer will seek an edge to make the case that she is a better choice than Waldstreicher despite his twelve years of service.  Luest’s story will therefore live on – in Dana Beyer’s mail.

Share

Unelected Beyer Over Claims, Saying She “Passed” Legislation.


Dana Beyer, candidate for the open District 18 Senate seat, is not the first in this election season to claim that they “passed” legislation despite not serving in the legislature. People who don’t serve in legislative bodies do not pass bills. Heck, even individual legislators don’t pass bills.

No doubt she is referring at least partly to the anti-transgender discrimination bills passed by Montgomery County and the General Assembly. During the former, she was a legislative aide to Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg. In these situations, the well-understand rule is that credit accrues to the legislator–not the aide. It would fine if Beyer would simply claim that she was proud to have worked on the bill instead of over claiming that she “passed” it.

Beyer was the Executive Director of Gender Rights Maryland during the battle for the state anti-discrimination bill but incumbent Sen. Rich Madaleno was the chief sponsor of the state anti-discrimination legislation and indefatigably fought for it for many years. U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, then a state senator, was also strongly supportive in the General Assembly.

While Beyer lobbied for the bill, she also stormed out of a hearing because she was not on the first panel to testify. Gender Rights Maryland also chose not participate in the broad coalition organized by Equality Maryland Executive Director Carrie Evans, who also spent many years working hard on the bill.

In short, non-legislators don’t pass bills and these fights are invariably team efforts. There are ways for candidates to advertise their past public service efforts and even gild the lily a wee bit without claiming you “passed” bills when not in elective office.

Share

When They Go Low

District 18 Delegate Candidate Helga Luest’s statement that Del. Jeff Waldstreicher tried to lure her into the Senate race in order to aid his own move from the House of Delegates to the Senate has become quite the contretemps in District 18.

Jeff Waldstreicher’s Denial

After evading questions from me and refusing to comment on the record, Jeff finally issued this statement to Andrew Metcalf over at Bethesda Beat:

These claims are false, defamatory, and born of actual malice,” Waldstreicher, who has served as a delegate since 2007, said in the statement. “When they go low, I go high—standing up for our community’s progressive values, leading the fight for $15 minimum wage, investing in our schools and resisting the Trump administration at every turn.

Jeff ought to be a near lock for this seat. He’s a three-term delegate and has consistently garnered more votes than his opponent, regular state legislative candidate Dana Beyer, as Adam Pagnucco has pointed out. He hasn’t strongly alienated any constituencies, which should make it hard for her to gain traction.

But he seems to be doing his level best to turn this into a competitive race. Even leaving aside Helga’s claims, his public statement sounds like what Melania would say if she was a red-headed attorney.

Rather than issuing a standard denial or explaining the situation, it looks like Jeff is thinking like an attorney who has managed to turn Michelle Obama’s inspiring words into political pablum. Moreover, when an attorney uses legalistic words like “defamatory” and “actual malice,” it look like he’s hinting at a lawsuit in an effort to get Helga to stop talking.

That’s not going to happen.

It never looks good when the optics are of a politician trying to silence someone. In the current climate, a male candidate trying to get a female candidate to stop talking looks even worse. Of course, if he did file a lawsuit that would really torch his political ambition.

Jeff’s evasiveness and efforts to kill the story also haven’t helped. Jeff’s silence and avoidance of comment on any remotely controversial issue at last Sunday’s debate–he literally did not speak for the first 75 minutes–also reinforce the perception of an overly political approach.

#metoo?

Dana Bayer felt “it was demeaning” that Jeff suggested she run on a slate with him for delegate instead of competing for the Senate seat. That, however, seems like normal politics and a good offer.

On the other hand, an effort by Jeff to get Helga to run for the Senate to help him out, would appear much more manipulative and skeezy. Voters might well judge it less kindly, though I’m not sure if they will know or care.

Dana Beyer tried to push the narrative, which is also how Helga sees it, of criticizing Jeff’s alleged behavior in light of #metoo:

I trust her and believe the story.

I find it disturbing that Jeff would so crassly ask anyone to sacrifice themselves for his sake, let alone a woman. As if her commitment to public service was inconsequential, and beneath his concern.

She made a similar statement to Bethesda Beat:

“I have every reason to believe Helga’s story,” Beyer said. “The underlying principle is, I trust women.”

Except this is not sexual harassment but political manipulation. Dana would also gain more if she stayed in the background rather than appearing all too eager to garner political advantage. The idea that one always trusts women over men is also problematic.

I have never seen nor heard any stories of Jeff behaving remotely sexually inappropriately. Frankly, it would surprise me greatly. I should also emphasize that this is not what Helga says happened, though she sees his actions through the broader lens of misogyny faced by women.

Notwithstanding the bad optics of Jeff declaring Helga’s post as “defamatory” and “born of actual malice,” I see this situation more as maladroit machinations. Helga’s allegations could be completely true but not so much about gender as the political maneuvering referenced in the Bethesda Beat headline.

To the extent that Jeff is willing to engage in these too-clever-by-half political games, I think he’d just as easily ask a man if he thought that was the good play. If he’s guilty of anything here, it’s political malpractice and a self-inflicted wound, as all of this seems rather unnecessary for him to win.

At the same time, Jeff’s “totally false” statement had at least one glaring weakness and Helga has not hesitated to point it out. Specifically, they clearly did meet, as Helga has highlighted in her reply to Jeff’s public statement.

Final Notes

Helga mentions accurately that she told me about the story before she published her Facebook. For a variety of reasons, I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it. She did not mention that I contacted her when I decided not to publish the story.

I’m glad Bethesda Beat’s Andrew Metcalf covered this story instead of me. Frankly, I’m not a professional reporter and he did a better job than me of getting straight up on the record accounts.

Share

Telling Them Apart

Last night, your scribe attended and live tweeted the District 18 state legislative debate sponsored by the District 18 Democratic Caucus. Though policy differences continue to be somewhat hard to find, voters could still glean much from what was said–and not said–as well as about the style and experience of the candidates.

State Senate Candidates

Dana Beyer possesses limitless self-confidence often associated with doctors. At one point, she tried to tell Moderator Charles Duffy how to conduct the debate. Highly intelligent, her most thoughtful response was about how the General Assembly’s first priority ought to be to undergird the healthcare system against federal attacks.

Towards the end of the debate, Dana declared that there is almost no policy diversity among the candidates, so voters need to elect someone who can bring the delegation together and lead. Unfortunately, she has a well-earned reputation of not working well with others.

While Dana gave voters a real opportunity to learn her views on a range of issues, Jeff Waldstreicher was reticent to the point of not speaking for the first 75 minutes. Loathe to say anything divisive, Jeff passed on opportunities to outline his views on issues such as liquor decontrol or single-payer healthcare.

Jeff finally spoke up to tout past and expected gun control legislation. A classic example of what political scientists call “credit claiming,” he steered clear of the more divisive issue of armed guards in schools. Complimenting Del. Al Carr’s work effusively, Jeff wooed his support. Jeff’s strategy is seemingly to avoid alienating any voters and run a focused “positive campaign” that ignores his challengers.

This was my first view of Michelle Carhart, the owner of a local chain of children’s gyms who jumped into the race at the last moment. Much less the pol than her two opponents, she came to the debate with the perspective of a local business owner who sees a need for both less bureaucracy and progressive change.

She complained about property taxes, and favors training over handouts as more useful and less demeaning. She argued that everyone should have to pay something for healthcare, so they’d have some skin in the game. Michelle has a lot to learn about public policy but could appeal to people looking for an ordinary citizen rather than a more practiced politician.

House of Delegates Candidates

Incumbent Del. Al Carr (who I support) demonstrated his comfortable policy knowledge on a number of issues and self-deprecatingly to laughter from the audience asked voters to send him as a “grizzled veteran” back to Annapolis after complimenting the strengths of the other candidates. He continues to emphasize the environment and climate change as a critical issue.

Since her respectable loss four-years ago in the primary, Emily Shetty has worked hard to position herself for this race by chairing the D18 Caucus and serving on the central committee. Among the most eloquent candidates, she advocated firmly for single-payer health care and is able to discuss the subject more fluently than many experienced legislators.

One of my favorite moments was when Ron Franks argued against the prevailing wisdom on police officers in schools. Making the case for people with diverse experiences by applying his own, he made a good argument that police officers serve as valuable role models and revealed a willingness to dissent thoughtfully.

Mila Johns stood out as someone unafraid to say what she thinks. In particular, when other candidates held back initially, she stated that the county should gradually get out of the liquor business because it’s killing off restaurants. She also advocated for making it easier for seniors to age in their own homes and death with dignity.

Joel Rubin highlighted his experience as an elected local official and seasoned policy advocate who has the communication skills and knowledge to fight for progressive ideals. Living with his mother-in-law (lovely woman, I’ve met her), he argued for incentives for multi-generational housing as one component to addressing senior living.

Helga Luest did not reprise her accusations against Jeff Waldstreicher at the debate. Speaking as the survivor of a murder attempt, she argued passionately for a trauma-centered approach and greater community connectivity to help address issues from kids prone to gun violence to isolated seniors. She believes a delegate should engage on leadership at the community level as well as outside the general assembly.

Jared Solomon’s answers gave the impression of someone who has studied the issues hard and would listen well but advocate forcefully. Labor should appreciate his advocacy of labor agreements as part of business incentive packages. He said education was his #1 priority. I hope higher pay for college professors is included!

Among the more knowledgeable candidates, Leslie Milano stood out as someone who would consistently advocate for economic growth. She referred to Amazon and Marriott tax incentives as normal business practices, which struck me less as politics as usual than someone who was being honest about the way the world works.

Issue Differences!

General similarities notwithstanding—everyone is anti-gun, pro-choice and wants to fight climate change—there was daylight between the candidates on a number of questions. While Leslie Milano expressed support for incentives to attract Amazon, Al Carr advocated investing in education and infrastructure that benefit all businesses. Emily Shetty wanted transparent negotiations, which was very popular, albeit wholly unrealistic. Dana Beyer said attracting Amazon is more important than keeping Marriott. Jeff Waldstreicher expressed no opinion.

Mila Johns, Ron Franks, Dana Beyer and Leslie Milano expressed support for getting the county out of the liquor business. I’d also like to know the opinion of other candidates.

In the most depressing part of the debate, Joel Rubin said he was okay with armed security guards if schools need them. Helga Luest highlighted the need for risk and threat assessment. Mila Johns and Leslie Milano opposed them with Leslie mentioning their impact on the culture of schools and suggesting bulletproof pods as an alternative.

Winner of the Debate

Adam Pagnucco. Hands down.

Candidates and the moderator referred to his posts here on Seventh State repeatedly with admiration.

Share

A Quick Note on Candidates

By Adam Pagnucco.

A few interesting things popped up in candidate filings today.

Krish Vignarajah has still not filed for Governor.  Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has filed, but his announced running mate, former Montgomery County Council Member Valerie Ervin, is not listed on his filing.

Grace Rivera-Oven, who was the Political Director of David Trone’s campaign for Congress, filed to run for Council At-Large on February 26.  She has started a traditional campaign finance account.

Jarrett Smith, who is a current member of the Takoma Park City Council, filed to run for Council At-Large on February 23.  Smith was reelected to the City Council in November and will not have to leave his seat to campaign for county office.  Smith has started a traditional financing account.

Kenge Malikidogo-Fludd has filed for County Council District 5.  Bethesda Magazine previously reported that Kevin Harris is running against incumbent Tom Hucker.  Malikidogo-Fludd is using public financing, as is Harris, while Hucker has not yet opened a public financing account.  However, Malikidogo-Fludd’s listed address is in Germantown, which is not in District 5.

Jaye Espy, who was running for Delegate in District 15, withdrew from the race on February 21.

Michelle Carhart of Rockville filed for District 18 Senate on February 22.  Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher and Dana Beyer, who has run for Senate and House unsuccessfully in the past, are also running.  Carhart’s website is inactive at this writing.

Filing closes at 9 PM tomorrow night.  There may be more news in store by then!

Note: an earlier version of this post reported that Jarrett Smith had not yet established a campaign account.  We apologize for the error.

Share

Joel Rubin Launches Campaign for Delegate

Town of Chevy Chase Councilmember is launching his campaign for the Democratic nomination for delegate in District 18 this Sunday. Recently, he sent out the following postcard:


A former assistant secretary at the State Department who frequently comments on national security issues for national news networks, Rubin’s campaign issued the following press release on Russian interference in Maryland elections:

Maryland District 18 Delegate Candidate Joel Rubin Calls on Maryland Officials to Protect the Integrity of 2018 Midterm Elections.

For Immediate Release:

Joel Rubin, Candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates (District 18) and a former senior national security official in the Obama Administration, today calls on Governor Hogan, the State Board of Elections, and the Maryland Attorney General to take immediate steps to ensure the integrity of the 2018 elections, beginning with the June 26th primary. Now that Governor Hogan has made Russian meddling in Maryland’s elections a partisan issue, it’s incumbent upon Maryland’s Democrats to make it clear that he must protect the integrity of our elections, rather than blindly follow the position of President Trump, who is laying us bare to continued Russian attack.

“As we learned from this week’s U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, despite the unanimous view of our intelligence chiefs that Russia is planning to attack our 2018 elections, President Trump is not ordering countermeasures to ensure that our most basic right as Americans – the right to vote – will be protected this year. This is a national security crisis. With Russian influence operations continuing unabated, the responsibility to protect our democracy now falls squarely to the states in a manner that goes beyond the traditional state responsibilities of guaranteeing proper voting rights, procedures and election integrity.”

“This means that the states are now responsible for rebutting cyber attacks by a hostile foreign power, a role traditionally assumed by the federal government. Therefore, I am calling on Governor Hogan, State Election Board Chair David McManus, and Attorney General Brian Frosh to immediately take the steps necessary for ensuring the integrity of our vote. They should also inform the legislature of any additional authority or funding needed to get the job done, and the legislature should immediately approve it.”

“Election security and justice require several steps. It is past time that they are taken. For instance, it is worth recalling that professors at the University of Maryland demonstrated that machines that were in use in Maryland just a few years ago were easily hacked. I urge our state’s leaders to consult the University and other authorities, such as cybersecurity experts, civil rights organizations, and others who have provided poll watchers and legal assistance in recent years, regarding the steps they would recommend be taken to strengthen our election security. This is an existential fight for both our state and our nation.”

Rubin, a Council Member in the Town of Chevy Chase, has worked for nearly two decades in national security, including as a senior official in the Obama Administration’s State Department and in the U.S. Congress. He believes that when our country is under attack, and our federal government fails to live up to its responsibilities, that it is incumbent upon the state government to fill the gap in order to protect its citizens.

Share

We Can’t Tell Them Apart

By Adam Pagnucco.

On Saturday, your author attended a forum for the two Senate candidates and eight House candidates running in District 18.  (These are the sad things we do after football season is over!)  What did we learn?

Not a whole lot.

You see, while MoCo has plenty of demographic, cultural and economic diversity, it has little political diversity – at least among those who run for office.  Take the candidates on stage.  Yes, there are demographic differences – two are African American men and five are women.  Yes, there are differences in life and professional experience.  They include a former teacher, a former doctor, a non-profit executive, two incumbent Delegates, a Town Council Member and more.  But on issues?

Let’s see.  They all support public education.  They all want more transportation options, especially those involving transit, walking and biking.  They all want more abundant and affordable health care coverage.  They are all pro-environment.  They are all pro-immigrant.  They all oppose Trumpism.  They all pledged to run positive campaigns.  (Can you imagine if any of them did not??)  They all… well, you get the idea.

There is more political diversity in every barroom, every Thanksgiving dinner and every long line at the grocery store than at a MoCo candidate forum!

The District 18 forum at Newport Mill Middle School.  Photo by Council At-Large candidate Evan Glass.

Let’s be restrained in our expectations: no one “wins” these forums.  The candidates’ objectives are to show that they are informed and competent, that they are in line with the values of folks in the room, and that they are not banana cakes.  Upon demonstrating minimum suitability, they then meet some activists who bring up micro-issues they have never heard of while they smile pleasantly and try to avoid checking their phones.

How do candidates stand out?  There are dozens and dozens of them on the ballot – thirty in the Council At-Large race alone.  The volume of mail about to descend on the county could clear a tropical rain forest.  Is bio and life experience enough?  Will anyone ace all the endorsements (aside from the incumbents)?  Will anyone be able to outspend the others?  That may be unlikely for a race dominated by public financing, as the Council At-Large race is, in which many candidates will be raising similar amounts.  Will any candidate dare to be different when political conformity is expected and few wish to deviate from the norm?

As for issues, here are a few questions that will draw out differences between candidates.  Moderators should keep them in mind for forums so that attendees will win the struggle to stay awake.

Do you support rent control?

Should the county and/or state governments require project labor agreements on construction projects providing for union representation of all craft workers?

Should the private sector be permitted to compete with the county’s liquor monopoly?

Should master plans require infrastructure to be built as a condition of allowing new development?

Do you support tuition-free public college for everyone?

Should the county build M-83, the Upcounty highway from Montgomery Village to Clarksburg?

Should existing traffic lanes be set aside as dedicated lanes for bus rapid transit?

Should a non-partisan commission draw Congressional and legislative district lines even if it means giving more seats to Republicans?  (Just watch the incumbent state legislators squirm on this one!)

Under what circumstances should taxes be raised?

How did you serve the community before you started running for office?

Please moderators – puh-leeeeeeeze – try to draw out some differences between our candidates.  Because heaven help us, for so many of them, we can’t tell them apart.

Share

Ana Sol Gutiérrez for Senate?

In his analysis of the Montgomery County Council District 1 race, Adam Pagnucco pointed out correctly that Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez (D-18) is completely outclassed on the fundraising front. She is unknown in much of D1, as the great majority of it is outside of District 18. Moreover, the portion of D18 that is Ana’s strongest base, though not her Chevy Chase home, lies outside D1.

Adam speculated that Ana might drop back to the delegate race. I suspect not. At this point, I imagine that she might prefer to retire or at least to go out in a long-shot race that gives her a better platform for her issues, especially on immigration and progressive policies designed to help poor and working Montgomeryites.

District 1 Race is a Bad Fit for Ana

Even taking this into account, the D1 Council race is a poor choice. This is a crowded contest with several highly qualified, well-funded candidates, so candidate debates may end up being more like those in a delegate contest. Additionally, even some of her usual supporters within D18 have decided to support other candidates rather than Ana’s surprising bid.

It’s also just a bad fit. Over the years, Ana has made little bones about her lack of interest in the local concerns of D1 residents. D1 residents are very pro-immigrant but there are a lot of local issues on which Ana has visibly little passion. The rationale for electing a councilmember who emphasizes immigration, as a glance as Ana’s twitter feed reveals, is not high because Nancy Navarro has occupied that niche and this is simply not a contested issue on the strongly pro-immigrant county council.

The barrier is not that Ana is Latina in a predominantly white district. African-American Craig Rice represents the whitest district in county and has no problem being simultaneously a proud African American and a strong local advocate. The idea that elected officials must match the predominant race or ethnicity in a district is grotesque.

Nevertheless, as in her quixotic congressional bid two years ago, Ana is destined to come towards the back of the pack in this group of candidates. She lacks the resources, the name recognition, or the strong rationale that would propel her candidacy forward.

District 18 Senate Race is Far More Intriguing

If Ana wants a platform, she’d be better off taking a flyer on the D18 Senate contest for a number of reasons.

Unlike on the Montgomery County Council, there is a real niche to fill in the Maryland Senate. Sen. Victor Ramirez is leaving the Senate to run for State’s Attorney in Prince George’s. The Senate will lose one of its strongest advocates on immigration and sole Latino voice. Though Maryland voted strongly for the Dream Act, immigration is contentious at the state level with Gov. Hogan more willing to make Trump-like noises on this issue than others.

Ana has already represented all of D18 for years and done well in delegate primaries. Though Jeff Waldstreicher spent far more money and campaigned far harder in 2014, he received only 122 votes more than Gutiérrez. In 2010, Ana beat Jeff by 483 votes to come in an easy first place.

Ana and Jeff ran on a slate together in these elections, so it is hard to gauge their individual support. Jeff campaigns much harder but Ana has a real following. She does well especially in the Wheaton and Silver Spring portions of the district but also gathers many votes near her Chevy Chase home.

If Ana ran, there would still only be three candidates in the race, which would prevent her voice from being crowded out. A conviction politician unafraid to stand up for what she believes, she will stand out. Moreover, her entry would completely scramble efforts by Jeff Waldstreicher and Dana Beyer fight to claim the progressive mantle.

Entering this race wouldn’t destroy any relationships. It is well known that Gutiérrez is no fan of her colleague, Del. Waldstreicher. I don’t know how she feels about Beyer but she supported Rich Madaleno steadfastly when Beyer challenged him four years ago.

Waldstreicher and Beyer will both run expensive, hungry campaigns. However, that leaves Gutiérrez able to position herself as more grassroots candidate who can’t dump thousands of her own money on a campaign like Beyer and is not beholden to the donors who Jeff has pursued with vigor. However, she’d need to cultivate local support, especially since Jeff positions himself as a good constituency service politician.

While most endorsers will overlook Gutiérrez for the D1 Council race, she would have to receive serious consideration in D18. Despite being way behind in the fundraising, she would have a shot based on name recognition alone. Endorsers would also have to explain why they are overlooking the more senior female delegate to endorse the younger Waldstreicher.

A Note on the Purple Line

Unlike in past D18 races, the Purple Line should not be an issue. In previous elections, there was no “right” position on the Purple Line in D18, as supporters and opponents both have prospered. (I was a strong opponent but now hope it goes well since we’re about to spend billions on it.)  Ana gained friends as a steadfast supporter.

Jeff and Dana’s positions are both more complex. Jeff positioned himself as an opponent but my conversations with people on both sides of the issue reveal that he bent over backward to curry their support without altering his public position. Pro-transit groups accused Dana of being opposed to the PL despite her statements of support. As a result, neither Jeff nor Dana gained allies from either supporters or opponents.

Regardless, to the extent it matters, it feeds the narrative of Ana as an authentic, conviction politician among both voters and, more importantly, among candidate validators and endorsers.

The Bottom Line

My guess is Ana sticks with the D1 race. I haven’t asked and she certainly doesn’t look to me for advice.

But if she switches horses, it would be far more interesting if she ran for Senate than sought another term in a crowded contest for the House with no incumbent slate. Though it would be a tough race and both Waldstreicher and Beyer possess real strengths in terms of money and drive, there is a path in D18 for Gutiérrez that just doesn’t exist in the D1 Council race.

Note: At various times, I have supported and given donations to Beyer, Gutiérrez and Waldstreicher. I have not donated or supported any of their campaigns this year.

Share