By Adam Pagnucco.
In a statement on the Facebook page of political blogger Ryan Miner, MCGEO President Gino Renne has vowed to defeat Delegate Kirill Reznik (D-39) in next year’s election. In response to a post about Reznik’s decision not to run for Congress, Renne wrote to Reznik:
Thanks for your unproductive representation. I’m one of your constituents who believes you bring no value to our district’s representation in Annapolis. You were appointed to the seat which gave you the advantage of incumbency. This time around there are several quality candidates running for delegate in our district. I and many others intend to do whatever is necessary to unseat you. District 39 can do better and deserves better than you.
You now have the benefit of more unsolicited intel.
MCGEO once supported Reznik, giving him five contributions totaling $4,100 between 2007 and 2011. What is their problem with him now? Renne is not shy so we will probably find out! Perhaps his casus belli includes Reznik’s support for Delegate Bill Frick’s End the Monopoly bill, a piece of legislation so objectionable to Renne that he famously promised to investigate the lifestyles of its supporters.
Few interest group leaders make such open threats against incumbents. That’s because defeating incumbents is difficult and MCGEO is no better at it than anyone else. In recent years, the incumbents MCGEO has tried to defeat include Council Member Phil Andrews (D-3) in 2006, Delegate Al Carr (D-18) in 2010, Senator Nancy King (D-39) in 2010, Board of Education member Mike Durso in 2010, Council Member Roger Berliner (D-1) in 2014 and Senator Rich Madaleno (D18) in 2014. All of these candidates won by double digits except Carr and King. Berliner won by 57 points even though his opponent’s campaign was managed by MCGEO’s former Executive Director. MCGEO has supported two recent successful challengers to incumbents: Delegate Roger Manno (D-19) over Senator Mike Lenett and Hans Riemer over Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg (At-Large), both in 2010. Lenett lost in part because he blew himself up with horrible mailers such as this one about the Holocaust. Trachtenberg lost in part because she inexplicably hoarded $146,000 which could have been spent on campaign activity.
Here’s the problem with making threats of this kind: you have to follow through and win or you look weak. Reznik has none of the weaknesses that sometimes result in incumbent losses in Montgomery County: he’s not a Republican, he’s not lazy and he doesn’t have legions of enemies at home. It’s also not clear that there are enough strong open seat candidates in District 39 to seriously threaten him. In fact, the smart move for the challengers is to court him and the other incumbents in hope of inclusion on their slate. All of this is good for Kirill Reznik and not so good for Gino Renne.