MD-06 Tea Leaves

If John Delaney left office for unforeseen reasons, it would kick off something Maryland hasn’t seen since 2006: a Democratic primary for an open seat in the US House. In 2012, the battle for the Democratic nomination was a clear fight between State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola and multimillionaire banker John Delaney. The nuances of the next race are likely to be more subtle. In my estimation, there are three people I am sure would run:

  • State House Majority Leader Kumar Barve (District 17)
  • State Senator Roger Manno (District 19)
  • State Delegate Bill Frick (District 16)

Del. Barve would start out as the clear favorite and would be able to tap into significant sources of funding that might not be available to other candidates: Annapolis economic donors, K Street Economic donors and National Indian American donors. He also represents a larger portion of the District than Sen. Manno or Del. Frick. I believe Del. Barve could raise upwards of $1,500,000-$2,500,000 for this campaign.

Sen. Manno might be able to consolidate the progressive community in general and the labor movement specifically around his candidacy. He has the potential  to raise $400,000-$800,000 for this campaign.

Del. Frick is a highly talented politician and would make a dynamic, attractive (in both senses) congressional candidate. His challenge in his aborted AG Campaign was fundraising. The word on the streets of Annapolis and DC has always been that he lacks the intestinal fortitude for call time.

However, Del. Frick also has an amazing network spanning from B-CC High School to Northwestern University to Harvard Law to a decade at Akin Gump. He could raise substantial sums by tapping into hat network and carve out a constituency by going on Broadcast TV. Del. Frick could raise up to $1,500,000–if he puts in the work.

I’ve also heard rumors that current District 39 Del. Kirill Reznik and former (2006-2010) District 39 Del. Saqib Ali might be interest in throwing their hats in the ring. I think Mr. Ali (who has raised up to a quarter million dollars for his bids for state and local office) would be capable of raising money nationally from the Muslim community. Mr Reznik has an appealing immigrant story that could play well in a Democratic Primary.

I also have heard rumors that Attorney General Doug Gansler could view this as a comeback bid. Doug raised over $6 million dollars in his gubernatorial bid (almost entirely from his personal rolodex). I believe he would be enormously formidable in a congressional bid. Outlook with Gansler in the Race: Lean Gansler. Outlook without Gansler in the race: Lean Barve


Shurberg Represents Niemann

Former District 20 Delegate Candidate Jonathan Shurberg has moved on quickly and is already back in the news. He is representing Del. Doyle Niemann, who was defeated by Deni Taveras by six votes for the Prince George’s District 2 Council seat.

Jonathan’s choice to represent Niemann is interesting in light of  criticism of Niemann’s lack of support for progressive positions on affordable housing in the General Assembly and alliance with anti-LGBT pastors in this hotly contested primary (“Progressive Democrats Turned Bad“).

During his campaign, Jonathan promised to be a leader in the fight for LGBT equality on his walk lit. He also promised to be an advocate for tenants’ rights:

Although renters make up almost half of our community — live here, shop here, and send their children to school here – their needs and interests are not adequately represented. Renters are not currently protected by fair legislation that would stabilize rent increases, protect against unjust evictions and other unfair business practices by landlords, and ensure other rights and resources to make a level playing field in their dealings with landlords and well-financed industry organizations.

I imagine that lawyers, like everyone, need to earn a living and can’t always be picky about their clients. Jonathan just spent at least $240,000 on his delegate campaign.

For more on the District 2 recount and Jonathan’s comments on behalf of his client on the case, read the excellent coverage in the Life and Times of Hyattsville.


Latest on MCDCC Race

This morning’s post mentioned that MCDCC Chair Candidate Kevin Walling is part of a slate with:

Arthur Edmunds, Vice Chair
Wendy Cohen, Secretary
Johntel Greene, Assistant Secretary
Tim Whitehouse, Treasurer
Erin Yeagley, Assistant Treasurer

However, I received an interesting call from one of these people who explained that several of these people are supporting Alan Banov or remaining neutral in advance of tonight’s expected contest for the top spot. While Kevin is asking people to vote for these candidates as well as himself, they did not know about it in advance or necessarily agree to back him.


MCDCC Chair Election Face-Off Tonight

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.


Progressive Democrats Turned Bad

casa logo
The following is a guest post by Kim Propeack, Director, CASA in Action:

In preparing these thoughts, I think it is important to set out from the top that the 47th District in Prince George’s County has always been politically contentious and I have been a big supporter of the emerging Latino talent in that area. That being said, for a long time I was also a Doyle Niemann supporter. I supported him even though he was first elected on a slate that he put together that placed a notorious anti-immigrant in the House of Delegates for one term. I thought he was, as he proclaimed, a progressive.

Across his twelve years in the House of Delegates, my perception changed. As we worked to expand the paltry protections for tenants (Maryland being famous for having the code most favorable to landlords in the entire country), advocates were always negotiating against a stacked deck with Doyle. In recent years, as chairman of the House Housing and Real Property subcommittee, he negotiated reforms down to such a bare minimum that on many occasions we simply took a pass – what was acceptable to Doyle was simply not worth fighting for in our estimation. And the inside perspective in Annapolis was clear. Apartment owner lobbyists were explicit about the amendment deals they had worked out with him and his campaign finance records reveal a mutually supportive relationship.

When Doyle announced plans to run for County Council, I was very concerned that he may represent an area where affordable housing is perhaps the most critical crisis facing the community. After years of lobbying him, I knew he was not the person I trusted to protect low income residents. But Doyle’s campaign was beyond appalling.

In 2012, CASA de Maryland ran an extensive campaign to educate Latino voters to support marriage equality, including close monitoring of organizing efforts to anti-marriage votes in the community. Generally speaking, anti efforts were quiet. But in our area, one church put out anti-marriage posters in Spanish. That church was Tabernaculo de la Fe on Metzerott Road. When Doyle decided to recruit a Latina to run against Will Campos in the hopes that Will would be distracted from supporting Deni Taveras’ campaign, he recruited Natalie Cabrera. Cabrera works at Tabernaculo de la Fe; her father is the pastor. Purportedly she lived in the church. The day after she filed to run, Doyle late-filed a bond bill to provide funding for Tabernaculo de la Fe. Ultimately Cabrera was thrown off the ballot because she was actually a registered Republican. I remember the beautiful email Doyle sent out when marriage equality was approved so I hoped that his choice was no more sinister than simply not knowing anything about the Latino community in the district he had represented for years.

Amateur Film of Telemundo Commercial Against Deni Taveras
and Dels. Gutiérrez and Peña-Melnyk

But the campaign was not over. In the Post coverage of the election, Doyle acknowledges that his Latino outreach was largely conducted through faith leaders. He is referring to several Latino pastors, including the Pastor of Tabernaculo de la Fe, that have formed a small coalition. I believe it is that group that placed 30 second commercials, sans authority line, on Telemundo. The commercial, aired of course in Spanish, showed photos of Delegates Ana Sol Gutiérrez and Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Senator Victor Ramirez, and Candidate Deni Taveras with a huge cross-out across their pictures because of their support of SB212. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, as most know, established anti-discrimination protections for the transgender community. The commercial went on to show adult men walking into a bathroom amid screaming semi-nude women. It said, Protect Your Family. And oppose these people who put your family in danger.

On Election Day itself, volunteers from the same group were at the polls in Doyle Niemann tees handing out Doyle Niemann literature. There have been complaints that some of those volunteers brought mini-IPads to show Latino voters copies of the video. Although I have not been able to confirm that myself, I know that Doyle’s morning volunteer at Langley-McCormick Elementary argued with the CASA in Action staffer working that poll that he was there because he has a small child and Deni supported pedophiles going into bathrooms.

Personally, I don’t think Doyle ever had an expectation that he would pick up those voters. I think the goal of these tactics was some misguided sense that Latino votes that would otherwise go to Deni would be suppressed; a big presumption on his part about the nature of the Latino electorate. Doyle, of course, voted for both marriage equality and the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. But that didn’t matter at election time. I was not born yesterday; campaigns get nasty and almost every candidate probably has a moment of shame. But there is a limit to what is acceptable. Destructive tactics during campaigns have long-term consequences for communities. When Tom Perriello voted for the ACA, he said that should he end up a one-term congressman, it was a worthy price to pay for reforming the US healthcare system – an unusually moral stand for a legislator. No one should run unless they are willing to behave with similar dignity.


GOP Nominates Bircher Secessionist in AA

The final primary vote tally reveals that Anne Arundel County Republicans voted narrowly to nominate Michael Peroutka over Maureen Carr-York in District 2. Peroutka beat Carr-York by 38 votes in this usually Republican district.

Peroutka serves on the Board of the League of the South–a neo-Confederate “southern nationalist” organization that wants to reverse the results of the Civil War. The front page of its website states:

If the South is going to survive, especially against a flood tide of massive Third World immigration and leftist attempts to destroy her very cultural and political foundations, she is going to have to seek her independence and govern herself

If the South secedes, can we ask them to take Peroutka? I wonder how his secessionist agenda will play in Anne Arundel.

Peroutka also finds the time to be active in the extremist John Birch Society. Apparently, he believes that the gay rights movement will lead to “forced homosexuality.” Anne Arundel voted for for marriage equality by 13000 votes in 2012. Is this guy a candidate for office or a contestant on Delusional Family Feud?

Good news for those who worried that Anne Arundel’s quotient of crazy might decline with incumbent Del. Don Dwyer’s sixth place finish in the GOP primary for one of two seats in District 31B. Meagan Simonaire, the daughter of the senator who represents the same district, won the nomination.


Taveras Bests Niemann by Six Votes

TaverasDistrict 2 Democratic Nominee Deni Taveras

In Prince George’s County Council District 2, the final tallies reveal that Deni Taveras defeated incumbent Doyle Niemann by six votes–a reversal of the earlier outcome. SEIU supported Taveras and sent out an email celebrating her nomination.

Taveras has served as Sen. Victor Ramirez’s Chief of Staff and also worked at EPA and taught at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Barnard and Columbia, a M.A. from the University of Utah, and a M.A. in Public Affairs and Regional Planning from Princeton.


Superstars in Waiting: The Freshman Democratic House Class

Without an unprecedented General Election upset, the following Democratic nominees for House Seats will be sworn into the General Assembly for the 2015 Session. These legislators show particular promise:

1) Brooke Lierman – The new face of South Baltimore is young, white, wealthy and progressive. Brooke is all of these things (And DC powerhouse Terry Lierman’s daughter). Despite a convenient last name, she fully deserves her seat in the House on her own merits (going back to the campaigns of Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean) up to her present day practice as a civil rights lawyer.

2) Erek Barron – An Attorney at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, the newest addition to the District 24 Delegation has tremendous statewide potential. A former prosecutor (as an ASA in Prince George’s and Baltimore City as well as at the Department of Justice) who worked for then US Senator Joe Biden on Capitol Hill, Erek has as sterling a resume as any legislator. He also has an easy going charm and keen intelligence. Bonus Points: he played foot ball at College Park.

3) Marc Korman – This Sidley Austin Attorney and former Capitol Hill Staffer (not to mention a former blogger at Seventh State predecessor Maryland Politics Watch) has always been the smartest guy in the room–and that definitely won’t change when he gets to the Lowe House Office Building.

4) Andrew Platt – A very, very sharp former US House Leadership staffer cruised to victory and is set to become the youngest legislator in Annapolis. He has future leadership written all over him.

5) Cory McCray This East Baltimore IBEW Leader is charming and exceedingly genuine. He ran an incredibly strong campaign this year and is sure to rise quickly in Annapolis as a powerful voice for working families in the state.

6) David Moon – Attorney and Political Operative David Moon is sure to establish as a liberal lion in the legislature as he marries his communication skills with sharp progressive politics. He will represent his new constituents in Takoma Park well.

7) Will Smith – Despite (perhaps unduly harsh) criticism of his campaign budgeting decisions on this blog (by me), Will Smith cruised to victory on June 24th with the help of a slate led by Jamie Raskin. His future in this state couldn’t be brighter.

These are the future County Executives, Congressman, MGA Committee Chairs, Attorneys General, Comptrollers, Lieutenant Governors of the coming 10-15 years.

Note: This post was modified from the original version because Candice Quinn Kelly lost her close race.



Senate Results from Around the State


In northern Frederick County, Del. Michael Hough easily defeated incumbent Sen. David Brinkley (68-32) for the Republican Senate Nomination in District 4. Another victory for the right-wing of the Republican Party and Sam Arora’s one positive takeaway from the night is that he helped elect a more extreme conservative.

On the southern Eastern Shore, Del. Addie Eckardt defeated incumbent Sen. Richard Colburn in District 37 (57-43). This change should improve this district’s representation.


In Harford County, Del. Mary Dulany-James easily beat former Sen. Art Helton (61-39) to win the Democratic Senate nomination in District 34.

On the Eastern Shore, Sen. Stephen Hershey defeated former Del. Richard Sossi for the Republican nomination in District 36 (56-44). Hershey had narrowly edged out Sossi in 2010 for a delegate seat before winning appointment to the Senate.

In Baltimore County, Sen. Jim Brochin easily turned back a challenge from former Del. Connie DeJuliis (69-31) for the Democratic nomination in District 42. DeJuliis had the support of Gov. Martin O’Malley while Senate President Mike Miller notably did not back Brochin.


Incumbent senators successfully faced down challenges from delegates in Prince George’s. In District 25, incumbent Sen. Uly Currie faced down Del. Melony Griffith (58-38-3). Lamentably, Conservative Sen. Anthony Muse defeated Del. Veronica Turner in District 26  (51-33-9-7).


In Baltimore City District 43, Sen. Joan Carter Conway defeated City Councilman Bill Henry (65-35). In District 45, Sen. Nathaniel McFadden destroyed operative Julius Henson (81-19).

In Prince George’s District 24, Sen. Joanne Benson fought off a challenge from Bobby Henry, Jr. (56-44). In District 47, Latino Sen. Victor Ramirez defeated African-American challenger Walter Lee James. Jr. (69-31).


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