Tonight, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will elect a new chair. Incumbent Chair Gabe Albornoz did not run for reelection, so the office is vacant. One very promising candidate, Almina Khorikawala, narrowly lost reelection, so the contest is shaping up a bit differently than expected.
Two candidates are currently actively seeking to become chair. Kevin Walling was planning to run for the top spot even before Almina did not win reelection (or he had won election to MCDCC). Originally, Kevin launched a campaign for delegate in District 16 but switched to the central committee race. The organizers of the Unity slate dumped another candidate for one of the at-large seats to make room for him.
Kevin will be serving his first term on the MCDCC. In the primary, he came in seventh with 28,695 votes compared to 42,619 for leader Marjorie Goldman and 25,585 for Dave Kunes who came in ninth and missed the last seat.
Kevin is positioned as the candidate of the younger and newer members who were added to the Unity slate after MCGEO and Montgomery County Young Democrats threatened to run and to finance a challenging slate. MCGEO had little success in the election but the restructured MCDCC remains a bright spot.
Kevin is a candidate on an organized slate which also consists of:
Arthur Edmunds, Vice Chair
Wendy Cohen, Secretary
Johntel Greene, Assistant Secretary
Tim Whitehouse, Treasurer
Erin Yeagley, Assistant Treasurer
New members have expressed interest in taking more positions on policy issues, as well as re-energizing the party more generally. However, it was MCDCC’s stand on ballot issues that caused labor unhappiness, so it will be interesting to see how that works out and elected officials feel about it.
Alan Banov, an incumbent fourth-term MCDCC member from District 18, also plans to seek election as Chair. Alan currently serves as chair of MCDCC’s Issues Committee. Alan will inevitably be cast as the voice of experience who knows more about the operations of MCDCC.
Alan first ran for election to MCDCC in 2002 and won one of the at-large seats. He won reelection in 2006 and 2010. In 2014, the organizers of the Unity slate slotted him for one of District 18’s two seats and he won without opposition.
Other candidates could well emerge in this election that resembles the process for filling vacancies in the General Assembly, though it is unclear to me whether candidates need a plurality or a majority to win election. Vacancies require a majority with the bottom candidate eliminated until someone receives a majority.
If only a plurality is required, Banov or Walling could win with a plurality if other candidates emerge or some members abstain from the vote. Members will also need to act strategically if more than two candidates emerge–as could well happen in this very much behind-the-scenes contest.