1. Sarah Elfreth is Government Affairs Director for the National Aquarium. The smartest, wittiest lobbyist walking the halls of the Lowe House Office Building, she is also one of the youngest young guns on these lists. Whether she remains behind the scenes or runs for office in the future–a distinct possibility–one thing is for sure: you’ll be sure to hear the name Sarah Elfreth for decades to come.
Anonymous: “Sarah Elfreth, a resident of Annapolis MD, is a true leader and an extraordinary example of a young woman who is both influential and impactful before State and local government.”
3. Jonathan Sachs is the rare wunderkind made good. Currently Director of Public Policy for Adventist Healthcare, I could see Jonathan as a successor to GiGi Godwin as CEO of the MoCo Chamber. A number of different people wrote in to nominate Jonathan for this list. Here is what one said:
Anonymous: “Probably the most notable thing about Jonathan—and it speaks to his character and intelligence—is that in a county where “progressives” rule, Jonathan is a centrist, pro-business Democrat. He thinks for himself and doesn’t fall in line with the local political dogma, so his input is all the more valuable because those who share his point of view can get drowned out in our local political conversations. But when Jonathan says something, people—included elected officials—pay attention.”
4. Zach Fang – In my opinion, Zach is now the top field director in the State of Maryland. With a DCCC Pedigree, Zach has returned to the Free State more dangerous than ever. Doug Gansler lucked out hiring this guy.
5. Melissa Joseph is whip smart and perhaps has the best people skills of Maryland’s political class. With an extensive experience in the offices of Ron Young, Rob Garagiola and Chris Van Hollen, Melissa is a triple threat: she’s effective at the federal, state and campaign levels.
6. Ed Burroughs – Not only is Ed the youngest member of Prince George’s School Board, he’s established himself as a national thought leader on education reform. Although he passed on what would have been an easy open seat race for Delegate in D26, a promotion is surely in his near future. He’ll certainly be the favorite to succeed Obie Patterson on the County Council . . . if he wants it. Close with the Iveys, he could also end up as a bigwig in a potential Gansler administration.
7. Joseph Kitchen – Joseph is a highly influential openly gay African-American Minister. He is also a respected voice on education reform and were it not for a recurrence of cancer would have likely been elected to the Prince George’s School Board in 2012. He is also the President of the Young Democrats of Maryland, who have experienced a lot of growth in the DC Suburbs under his tenure.
8. Anne Klase is part of Comptroller Peter Franchot’s small, close knit circle (along with Andrew Friedson and Len Foxwell)
Anonymous: Anne is District 30’s go-to. Hardworking, balanced, and liked by everyone.
Anonymous – works for the Comptroller (floats between the campaign and the office) but don’t hold that against her. She’ll be elected to the AAC Central Committee in June. In a county with few strong Dems (and the strong ones can sometimes be divisive), Anne is universally liked and respected. She is young (23/4) and has a long career ahead in AA politics – if only as the person behind the scenes
9. Kelly Blynn is a Rockstar organizer. No one does it better in Montgomery County. I dread the day I find myself on the opposite side of an issue from Kelly because that can be a very scary place to be. One nominator described her as:
“Coalition for Smarter Growth, transit advocate – a sophisticated and energetic organizer who played a central role in the BRT campaign.”
10. Tommy Underwood is a genuinely nice, decent guy and done a great job so far managing O’Malley Speechwriter Nick Stewart’s state house run and has a very bright future. This guy could be the Executive Director of the Democratic Caucus in 2018.
Anonymous: He’s not only a plugged-in guy with a very easy-going personality, but he’s also one of the hardest workers I’ve come across and sharp politically.
11. Andrew Friedson. Excepting his longtime handler Len Foxwell, no one is closer to Peter Franchot than Andrew Friedson. He currently serves as Communications Director in the Comptroller’s Office, where he was previously Deputy Chief of Staff. He managed Franchot’s reelection campaign in 2010.
Anonymous: “another no-brainer nominee.”
12. Cory McCray – As far as I’m concerned, there is not a single person in Baltimore (or Maryland) who doesn’t think Cory McCray will win a seat in the legislature on June 24th. One incumbent actually dropped out to avoid facing him in the primary–and I don’t think anyone blames her. Cory has been a recognized leader in the IBEW for years. He’s also infectiously charming. Future Mayor?
Anonymous: Cory is a graduate of a five-year apprenticeship program with International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 24. For the past four years before becoming a candidate in Baltimore’s District 45 you could not say union organizing in Baltimore without mentioning Cory’s name. Corey also is the co creator of the B.E.S.T. Democratic Club.
13. Jonathan Jayes-Greene is very bright and connects well with many people. He combines a tremendous personal story with boundless political savvy to promote the issues important to him, which frequently involve immigration. Currently working in the governor’s office, maybe he’ll return there as First Panamanian-American governor?