At-Large MoCo Council Race, Pt. III

hansHans Riemer

Along with George Leventhal, Hans Riemer is viewed by many as among the more vulnerable at-large incumbents this season. This conclusion may puzzle as newcomer Hans catapulted over three incumbents to win second place in 2010. Moreover, incumbents are usually seen as safer bets.

Hans’s problems come in several varietals. First, he has disappointed some more ardent progressives who expected him to champion their issues. Most notably, he was more hesitant to hike the minimum wage as high or as fast as they wanted.

At the same time, developers don’t seem him as their best buddy either. His support for protecting Ten Mile Creek over their strong opposition didn’t give them the warm fuzzies. In short, he’s too progressive for business and too conservative for the lefties.

Finally, some argue that he just doesn’t fit the profile of a councilmember because he is too young and doesn’t have the typical background in business or politics. However, this “problem” strikes me as a strength rather than a weakeness. Not fitting a stereotype is a welcome breath of fresh air for many voters.

So the bloom is off the rose for Hans. And like the other incumbents, the government employee unions just aren’t showing the love. He also lost support from the Sierra Club and Progressive Maryland. Still, Hans is not friendless with endorsements from SEIU, CASA, and the volunteer firefighters. Also, he’s an affable, pleasant guy who many people just seem to like–not a bad quality in politics.

So, like George Leventhal, but for very different reasons, Hans has some tricky waters to navigate this primary season.