Tag Archives: Ana Sol Gutierrez

Raskin Internal Poll Shows Lead

Sen. Jamie Raskin’s campaign has released an internal poll of 500 likely Democratic voters that shows him with a lead over his opponents:

  • Jamie Raskin, 30 percent
  • Kathleen Matthews, 21 percent
  • Ana Sol Gutiérrez, 11 percent
  • Kumar Barve, 5 percent
  • David Anderson, 3 percent
  • Will Jawando, 2 percent
  • Joel Rubin, 0 percent

Twenty-eight percent of voters remain undecided. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent, which means that the true values should be within that range in 19 out of 20 polls.

The Raskin campaign also claims that Jamie has higher favorable to unfavorable ratings than other candidates:

Raskin enjoys a 5:1 favorable: unfavorable rating, compared to 2:1 for Matthews, just under 2:1 for Sol Gutierrez, 1.5:1 for Barve, while the other candidates are unknown to voters.

According to the press release, Raskin leads Matthews by 43 percent in LD 20, which he now represents in the State Senate. He also leads Gutiérrez by 21 points in LD 18.

Analysis

This is essentially a pre-campaign poll, as no commercials have been aired on TV. Little in the way of direct mail has been sent, though I’ve seen one well-done lit piece for former television broadcaster and Marriott Exec Kathleen Matthews.

Right now, it looks as if the race is shaping up largely as most expect with Raskin and Matthews in the lead but neither near being able to claim that they have the nomination locked down. Matthews will likely have the edge in money but Raskin has a strong pre-existing base of supporters and volunteers.

Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez benefits from her name recognition due her long service on the School Board and a delegate in LD 18. Right now, she looks like a solid bet for third place but will need to raise substantial sums of money or grassroots support to surprise the early frontrunners.

Del. Kumar Barve’s poor showing may surprise. It reflects that he has lower name recognition than the other state legislators in the race because his district–LD 17–is split between CD 8 and CD 6, so fewer voters have seen his name on the ballot.

The other candidates are unknowns. They are likely to remain so unless they can raise money and attract volunteers to assist their campaigns. They also need to win support from people who can validate their message and signal to voters that they merit consideration and deserve a vote.

Finally, as always, take campaign polls with a healthy dollop of salt. Inevitably, they focus on the cream rather than the lemons for their campaign. Moreover, it’s early, so most voters probably do not have fixed opinions.

Final Note

I am supporting Jamie Raskin’s campaign–not exactly shocking news as he is my colleague at American University. Beyond his generally active and effective work as a state senator, I appreciate  his hard work for marriage equality. Jamie will be an excellent advocate for the Eighth and liberal values in the U.S. House. I will still call it as I see it here but thought I should mention it.

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MCDCC Sample Ballot Incompetence Spoils Dems Pre-Election Weekend

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) sends out a sample ballot before the state elections to urge Democrats to the polls and remind them of their party’s ticket. There were some major snafus this year.

I’ve been receiving a lot of reports, some conflicting, of problems, and have been attempting to sift out fact from fiction. This is why I’ve delayed posting on this topic.

Mix and Match Candidates

In District 19, incumbent Sen. Roger Manno‘s name has been replaced by that of Sen. Rich Madaleno–the candidate in District 18. As you can imagine, Sen. Manno–who donated money to help pay for the sample ballot–was understandably not happy about it.

I suppose one could view this as karma, since Rich Madaleno’s name appeared as Roger Madaleno on the Apple Ballot during the Democratic primary.  But at least the critical last name and first initial were right in that case. I hope Roger gets his donation back.

In District 16, Delegate Nominee Marc Korman‘s biography has been replaced with that of Aruna Miller. I am sure Marc was interested to learn that he worked for county since he was eight and has already served on a House committee before winning election.

Latino Outreach Fail

MCDCC has touted its efforts to reach out more strongly to the County’s fast-growing Latino community. Unfortunately, the sample ballot was a textbook example of how not to go about it.

First, the name of incumbent Delegate Ana Sol Gutiérrez (D-18) was misspelled on the sample ballot:

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Second, accents and the tilde of ñ were often left out in Spanish text. The office titles are sometimes incorrect, even though they could have been directly copied from the official bilingual version. Even español has been written as espanol:

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Finally, the sample ballot directs people on how to find a Spanish sample ballot online. Other than that it doesn’t exist, this is an excellent idea.

Small Mailing and Still Waiting?

Beyond the giant mistake in District 19, the real story may be how many sample ballots were sent out. I am told that elected Democrats were promised that hundreds of thousands would go out but that only around 90,000 were mailed. I am unable to confirm this. MCDCC has made clear that they will not respond to my requests for information, though I understand they are also being closed-mouthed with electeds on this issue too.

While many, including your gentle blogger, have received their Democratic sample ballot, I have heard that other Democrats who did not vote early have yet to receive them. No doubt this is due to the last minute mailing. On the other hand, I imagine Roger (or is it Rich?) Manno must be relieved that at least early voters did not get it before going to the polls.

Missing Signs on Bag Day

There were no signs for either Brown/Ulman or for Brian Frosh. In other words, there were no signs for the two statewide candidates who need strong visible support in Montgomery on Tuesday.

Rumor that Should be Ignored

Some told me that they were shocked that their congressman was left off the sample ballot. This is not an error but intentional in order to comply with federal campaign finance law. Advertising their names counts as a campaign contribution.

Why Did this Happen?

MCDCC Chair Kevin Walling personally managed the sample ballot with his inner circle (the Politburo? the Presidium?) of MCDCC. It arrived very late to the printers and few others were involved to review it and make sure that they got this complex task (different versions need to go to different areas of the County) right.

MCDCC staff has long been dedicated to the Democratic Party and helped with this task many times before. They should not be blamed and I hope no one tries to throw them under the bus in order to save their own reputation.

As in the past, MCDCC has many excellent members. But they need to address these issues squarely. The central problems with MCDCC remain the ones I outlined in a previous post: a lack of accountability, transparency, and inclusion. I should now add incompetence. Mistakes happen but both elected officials and ordinary Democrats are mad about the sample ballot snafu–and rightly so.

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D18 Democratic Delegate Forum

D18DebateAl Carr, Ana Sol Gutiérrez, Jeff Waldstreicher, Emily Shetty, Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Elizabeth Matory, and Rick Kessler

I live tweeted last night’s delegate debate hosted by the D18 Democratic Caucus. Not all went through as the Bushey Theater, formerly Roundhouse Theater, has no wifi and is almost a cell phone dead zone.  Heaven for a theater but the enemy of the twitterati.

These events are great not because they change minds but because they give people a chance to know the candidates as real people and better understand what motivates them and where their real political passion lies.

DEBATE MOMENTS

Oblivious Conservatism on Education: Amazing to hear vocal criticism of basing education funding on a county’s wealth and support for directing it based on the number of students from candidates trying to outdo one another as the most progressive. So two counties with the same number of students should receive the same funds from the State even if one is twice as wealthy?

This populist railing against overcrowded schools will likely fly well with the voters. But conservatives will quite rightly roll their eyes at the incoherent pairing of this call for “fairness” with simultaneous demands for more taxes on the wealthy to pay for services for people striving their way up the ladder.

Smackdown! Moderator Charles Duffy saying to Jeff Waldstreicher “I guess we can move on if you’re not going to answer the question” after Jeff’s answer on school construction. Natali Fani-Gonzalez also took Jeff to task for expressing pride helping to bring an insufficient $40 million back to MoCo for school construction.

Boom. Liz Matory stated “our delegation in the House of Delegates is considered the weakest in the State of Maryland” in arguing her case for a new, more effective delegation. Direct contrast with Ana’s highlighting her seniority on the Appropriations Committee and Jeff doing the same on the Judiciary Committee.

New D18 Drinking Game: Drink when Rick Kessler says “ATM” or anyone says “bringing people together.” Seriously, I was getting worried that someone was going to break out singing “People. People who need people.”

Taxes and Economic Justice: Repeated calls for more taxes on high-income earners and big corporations in this district with some of the wealthiest precincts in the State, though also areas that need a hand. Much support for combined reported and closing the achievement gap. Liz Matory provided a contrast with her concern that current tax rates are making it more difficult to attract business to Montgomery.

No Discussion. Environment. Health Care.

CHALLENGERS

Natali Fani-Gonzalez Strengths: Unquestionably in command when she had the mike, Natali articulated a strong passion for economic justice backed by business and lobbying experience along with an inspiring personal story. Clear winner of the first half of the debate.

Elizabeth Matory Strengths: Forceful and willing to call it as she sees it and aware of the need to attract business to Maryland. Many  with business experience sound arrogant and windy as they talk about how they’ll bring it to bear on government. Not Liz. She communicated well how she’d marry her business smarts to politics.

Rick Kessler Strengths: On message as any presidential candidate, Rick drilled into my head that Montgomery County should not be the State of Maryland’s ATM. Rick clearly gets that candidates must repeat, repeat, repeat to get their message across.

Emily Shetty Strengths: Harnessed her personal history effectively to help show the grounding for her agenda. Drove home her support for more money for schools in Montgomery. @AbeSaffer is her not-so-secret Twitter weapon.

INCUMBENTS

Al Carr Strengths: Calm and relaxed, Al sounds like a real person doing his best to work pragmatically on problems rather than a pol. He highlighted concrete achievements in making our state government more genuinely transparent despite opposition.

Ana Sol Gutiérrez Strengths: Still passionate after twenty years in elected office. No one gets to the left of Ana in a debate–not a bad place to be in the Democratic primary. A very American immigrant story that paved the way for others on the stage.

Jeff Waldstreicher Strengths: No constituent problem is too small. Proud to be Delegate Pothole, Jeff’s opening statement highlighted his success in getting the A/C turned on in a county facility so a Bar Mitzvah could move ahead even though his child was sick. Gave out his cell number.

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Thoughts on the D18 Delegate Fracas

Recently, Candidate Rick Kessler launched an attack against incumbent Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez for traveling to El Salvador as part of a delegation invited by the Salvadoran parliament to observe the legislative election. CASA Director Gustavo Torres criticized Rick’s statements in the strongest terms (see Rick’s reply here).

An interesting analysis of the politics of Rick’s choice to make an issue out of Ana’s travel from my email:

I had not seen Rick Kessler‘s attack on Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez.  Beyond my disagreement with the point he was trying to make, I don’t get it as a political tactic.  She was the first place finisher in the 2010 primary, not the third, so it seems likely that if you were picking someone to target [it wouldn’t be Ana].  So beyond angering at least one group of voters, what does he hope to accomplish?

A serious candidate, as Kessler appears to be, can’t seriously think he’ll beat Del. Gutierrez, so he must hope that by making this kind of attack he can get some Waldstreicher or Carr voters to give him their third vote.  The funny thing about that, given the approx. 1100 vote gap between Gutierrez and Carr, and the 500 vote gap between Gutierrez and Waldstreicher, is that if the strategy works he’s more likely to take down one of the other incumbents than Gutierrez.

A plausible analysis of the potential impact.

Others were taken aback by Gustavo’s claim that Rick’s attack was race-baiting. District 18 Resident Molly Hauck sent me a letter that included this paragraph:

[Mr. Torres] called Mr. Kessler‘s opinion “thinly disguised race-baiting.” I find this offensive and incendiary. If Ana Sol Gutierrez were to disagree with Mr. Kessler, would we attribute her opinion to his race, religion, country of origin, age, sex, or other personal characteristic? No. It would simply be described as a difference of opinion. When people play the race card, it creates conflict and increases discomfort between different ethnic groups. It is destructive. I hope that if in the future Mr. Torres disagrees with what a candidate says that he will find a different way of expressing it.

My own view is that Rick’s attack was a political mistake in a couple of different ways. First, his original statement suggested merely that Ana left for El Salvador only to vote but did not also mention that she was part of an official delegation to observe the elections and invited by the Salvadoran National Assembly and with the knowledge and approval of the the House Speaker.

Democracy promotion, particularly in a country where many of her constituents have close ties and fled for reasons related to a past civil war and human rights abuses, is a worthy public goal. While I can see why some might think she should stay in Maryland, this set her travel in a very different light.

Even more important, while I understand the desire of challengers to stand out from the pack, attacks generally don’t pay in these multi-candidate delegate elections. Instead of alienating supporters of another candidate, challengers should want to go around and get their votes too because voters possess multiple votes.

On the other hand, precisely because of the ability to give a very good explanation for Ana’s travel, Gustavo’s reply was overkill and polarizing. While it may galvanize support among some Latinos for Ana, it also left some whites, including some of Ana’s supporters, with a bad taste in their mouth.

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Progressive Neighbors Caves

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In a previous post (“Not So Progressive Neighbors“), I detailed PN’s problematic, unethical endorsement process. Among other criticisms I made was their inexplicable decision not to endorse incumbent Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez:

Other choices seem as bizarre. In District 18, Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez has long been a stalwart staunch progressive. How on earth can she, the first Latina elected to public office in Montgomery County who passionately favors left-wing policies to reduce economic inequality, not be progressive enough?

They’ve quietly changed their mind and endorsed Del. Gutiérrez “after input from our supporters and reconsideration by the Steering Committee.” Disgruntlement with their flawed process has gone beyond the many Democratic incumbents who wouldn’t even respond to their questionnaire.

Looks like PN has taken the first step towards the first step of admitting that they have a problem.

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Kessler Responds to CASA’s Torres

Kessler

Rick Kessler issued the following comment in response to the strong defense of Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s decision to travel to El Salvador by CASA de Maryland’s Gustavo Torres .

This is a question of commitment to District 18.  It is about the choices made by one elected official who chose to be absent for two days during the recent Maryland Legislative Session to vote in the Salvadoran election when she could have voted by mail. The Legislative Session only runs for 90 days: I believe that the Session is important and that Delegates are elected to be present and participate. There were important Appropriations Committee budget hearings on those days that she could have attended and still voted in the El Salvador election by mail.I think the people of  District 18 deserve better: they have a right to expect that the priority of their elected legislators is to participate fully in the Maryland legislative process on behalf of the people who elected them.

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CASA Slams Kessler Attack

casa logoRecently, Delegate Candidate Rick Kessler (D-18) raised questions about Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s decision to travel to El Salvador during the session. CASA Director Gustavo Torres issued this statement in response:

I was extremely disturbed to recently learn that a candidate for state office in the 18th district has chosen to attack Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez for a trip she made to El Salvador during the past legislative session. Rick Kessler’s willingness to engage in this type of thinly-disguised race-baiting reveals that he is not the right representative for any district, let alone one as diverse as the 18th.

To recap, Delegate Sol Gutierrez missed two days of session in order to fly over a weekend to El Salvador and participate as an Official International Observer of the Salvadoran Presidential election. She traveled at the formal invitation of the Salvadoran National Assembly, an invitation that Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch not only approved but described as “an honor.” Legislators miss floor votes and committee hearings all the time due to illness, family emergencies, personal business, and to attend special events. It is hard to imagine an event more important than participating in a historic election for progressive change in a country whose past civil conflict has driven so much immigration to our region and whose leadership impacts so many close relatives of district residents. It seems an odd posture particularly for someone that is actually running for elected office and, we would assume, a believer in the importance of political participation.

I believe that the real purpose of these complaints is to surface that Delegate Sol Gutierrez remains engaged in her country of birth and to imply that this engagement somehow lowers her commitment to this country – one she is so dedicated to that she has chosen to dedicate 20 years to the unusually grueling life path of public service including, for the past 12 years, representing her home district in the Maryland House of Delegates. During the early 20th century, immigrants to the United States were frequently attacked for their continued affiliation with their country of origin and these arguments were used to support profiling, red-lining, and exclusion from political engagement. Reading the Bethesda Now piece, I was reminded once again how very far we have to go. As an organization whose very purpose is to engage immigrants in the political process, leaders like Delegate Gutierrez show that our responsibility is global, our lives cross borders, and our kids can strive to achieve extraordinary triumphs in a multicultural world.   While it is certainly true that not everyone in the 18th District has immigrated to this country, we believe that most of its residents honor diversity, celebrate immigration, and appreciate open cultural and civic engagement, here and abroad.

In closing, while it is true that CASA in Action has endorsed Delegate Sol Gutierrez as well as three additional candidates for delegate, I have not chosen to address this issue because of that support. Regardless of who you support, our community is better than the types of attacks that Mr. Kessler has chosen to engage in.

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Not So Progressive Neighbors

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Last Friday, I explained how Progressive Neighbors just isn’t attracting the love from incumbent Democrats. A majority of incumbent legislators didn’t even return their candidate questionnaire.

They aren’t the only ones.

Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman didn’t fill one out either. The MO of this campaign has been to seek aggressively virtually every endorsement around the State, so their decision to decline to seek that of Progressive Neighbors speaks volumes.

Surely, the lack of interest from the man who may be the State’s first African-American governor must have caused some navel gazing in this progressive organization even if the policies of Heather Mizeur and Delman Coates better fit their profile.

Brown-Ulman are not the only ones who appear to have made a calculated decision to give PN a pass. Is anyone really surprised that Council President Craig Rice did not bother to fill out the questionnaire when his 2010 opponent–a perfectly nice woman in my experience–sits on the Steering Committee that votes on endorsements?

One major reason for the antipathy expressed by many for Progressive Neighbors’ endorsement process is that 5 of the 19 members of their Steering Committee are running for either the state legislature or the county council. Boards often have a member seeking office but I’ve never heard of five at once.

Not only that but the PN endorsement questionnaires were unbelievably sent out by one of these candidates–even to her opponent. Progressive Neighbors views this as a minor hiccup that was corrected less than a week later after it was pointed out. But it is far more than an oopsy daisy.

Portions of the questionnaire attack corporate cronyism and call for public financing. How can people so concerned about inappropriate influence on politics think it was a good idea for a candidate to send a questionnaire to her opponent?

PN’s endorsement questionnaire goes on at great length about transparency:

Progress has been made in improving transparency in the General Assembly over the past four years, with greater access to online tools for the public, the posting online of committee votes, and increased audio and video coverage of legislative deliberations. Much still remains to be done, however, including posting of subcommittee votes, committee amendments and votes, and the institution of a system to allow constituents to sign up to testify online the day before a committee hearing so they don’t have to spend all day in Annapolis waiting to testify. Do you support these improvements, and do you have others you’d like to offer? Are you willing to support special elections to fill legislative vacancies? Do you support stripping the party central committees of the power of appointment, which ultimately lies with the Governor?

But the structure of the organization and its endorsement process is less open than might appear at first glance. The PN Steering Committee is elected by . . . the Steering Committee. The same committee–the one with five members running for office–also controls the endorsement process.

In this process, PN doesn’t model the open behavior it would like to see in the General Assembly:

The Steering Committee may choose to have a secret ballot on certain concerns and some meetings may be closed. Steering Committee members will be encouraged to keep individual Steering Committee members’ votes in confidence.

Surprisingly, the Steering Committee did not endorse two of their own members. In News of the Weird, Jonathan Shurberg and Will Smith were progressive enough to serve on the Steering Committee but not to be endorsed. I imagine that PN would argue that it somehow proves the integrity of their process but it is also just odd since both are credible, progressive candidates.

Other choices seem as bizarre. In District 18, Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez has long been a stalwart staunch progressive. How on earth can she, the first Latina elected to public office in Montgomery County who passionately favors left-wing policies to reduce economic inequality, not be progressive enough?

On the other hand, the organization endorsed both Steering Committee Member Terrill North and Del. Tom Hucker for the open District 5 County Council seat. Apparently, PN decided to give Hucker, generally viewed as a solid left winger, a pass on his recent vote against indexation of the minimum wage in the House (Gutiérrez along with Mizeur and Ivey voted yea) despite having pressed that the County adopt this stand.

Progressive Neighbors has a nice sounding name and provides another decal that endorsed candidates can stick on their literature. Beyond that, especially outside of District 20, they cannot provide anything meaningful with the endorsement. As one liberal legislator explained to me, “Nobody fills out their questionnaire because they demand extreme positions and offer nothing of value.”

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Voting Rights and Redistricting

Many people know that the Voting Rights Act can require the creation of majority-minority districts to protect minority representation. But the actual demands of the Act are often misunderstood.

The Supreme Court outlined the basics of when states must create districts designed to advance minority opportunity in a 1986 case called Thornburg v. Gingles. The case outlined a three-prong test that plaintiffs must meet in order to win a case arguing for the creation of a new majority-minority district.

Specifically, the minority group must prove that (1) it is sufficiently large and geographically compact to constitute a majority in a single-member district; (2) it is politically cohesive; and (3) racial-bloc voting usually defeats the minority’s preferred candidate.

I think of the first prong as the “is there a solution?” prong. Courts generally are not in the business of taking cases where they cannot offer relief. So if it is not possible to create a geographically compact single-member district with a group majority, don’t bother.

Of course, this still leaves room open for interpretation. For example, how compact must a district be to be deemed “geographically compact?” In more recent cases, courts have inveighed against minority districts with bizarre boundaries drawn for racial reasons–even as the Court has deemed it acceptable to gerrymander for partisan reasons.

This prong is one reason why there has been little litigation to create Asian-American majority districts. It’s just not possible to draw these districts  in most areas of the country just as it would likely be very difficult at best to create one anywhere in Maryland.

The second prong requires that the minority group tends to vote together. Obviously, 100% cohesion never actually occurs and is not needed to meet this requirement. Moreover, the level of cohesion can still vary across races.

But the basic idea is that you cannot draw a district designed to protect the interests of minority if the minority is not cohesive. For example, how would one advantage the interests of a group that splits its votes evenly between Democrats and Republicans?

The third prong is often the most critical. If the first prong focuses on the potential for a solution, this prong assesses whether there is a problem. Voting must be racially polarized–that is, the minority and majority groups must regularly, though not always, support different candidates.

Moreover, racial-bloc voting must be sufficiently great to defeat the minority’s preferred candidate. After all, if a black candidate in a 40% black district receives 85% of the black vote and 35% of the white vote, the black candidate will still win with 55%.

If the minority candidate can win without drawing a district with a majority of group members, the Court did not really see a problem. Why should courts intervene to aid minority candidates if they have a good shot even without their help?

So the racial-bloc voting has to be sufficient to defeat the minority’s preferred candidate. For example, in the same district, if the black candidates rarely received more than 10% of the white vote, they would usually lose and meet the requirement.

In cases in which minorities can win with reasonable frequency even if they do not constitute a majority, courts are more reluctant to create districts. Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez has argued for creating a subdistrict in District 18 to elect a Latino candidate. But her repeated election from a district without a Latino majority would provide evidence for the other side in a court case.

Note that I refer to the minority’s preferred candidate. The point is the candidate preferred by the minority group regardless of the race of the candidate. So white candidates who receive a majority of the black vote running against a black candidate are still minority-preferred candidates–or candidates of choice in the argot. Still, results from elections with candidates of the same race as the group at issue are considered especially valuable in assessing racial polarization in voting rights cases.

One also has to be careful not to lump minority groups together willy-nilly. Courts do not just combine African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans into a single category. On the contrary, one would need to prove that such groups consistently vote together to  begin to make such a case. And they often don’t.

If you’d like to know more, you can buy a copy of my book, The Paradox of Representation: Racial Gerrymandering and Minority Interests in Congress, (the perfect Easter or Passover gift) or look online at Google Scholar or Research Gate for my articles in various political science and law journals.

 

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Brown Comes to Gansler’s Backyard

This Wednesday night from 6-7pm, District 18 Delegate Candidate Natali Fani-González is hosting a meet-and-greet (not a fundraiser) for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.

Attorney General Doug Gansler, one of Brown’s competitors, went to elementary school in the district. Much of it should be considered his home turf, as he is well-known and has deep roots in the area, though he now lives in adjoining District 16.

Sen. Rich Madaleno, Del. Al Carr, and Del. Ana Sol Gutiérrez have endorsed Gansler. Del. Jeff Waldstreicher originally planned to support Gansler but shifted his support to Brown–a step that received more attention than usual as Gansler included him on a list of supporters because he thought he still had his support.

While Fani-González has not announced an endorsement from Brown, it would not be at odds with talk of competing slates allied with either Brown or Gansler in other districts. This could be a tad awkward for Waldstreicher as he is on a team with the other incumbents who have endorsed Gansler.

For Brown, it could be a promising way to build alliances and support in District 18 and also with Fani-González, who is active and works in politics and a variety of Democratic causes. She has the potential to continue to rise regardless of the outcome of this race.

On the other hand, if Brown expects to become Governor, he wants to maintain good relations with legislators who might not appreciate his support for a challenger. Of course, they will also need to repair relationships if he wins, so it’s a complicated relationship that works both ways, especially since Maryland’s governor is very powerful.

There is also some risk attached for Fani-González because her link with Brown might not thrill Gansler supporters. Nevertheless, she has far more to gain from an endorsement from a statewide figure of Brown’s stature even if two incumbents have been endorsed by Gansler who should do well in D18.

On a similar note, Candidate Liz Matory has received support from former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder and former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke. Both are major figures with Wilder holding a particular place of honor as the first African-American governor in modern times. I am not sure how much weight either carry in District 18, though they could help her gain African-American support if communicated to voters.

And the value and the communication of endorsements are really the keys. They just don’t matter if the voters don’t know about them. And, of course, the voter has to value the endorser’s opinion in order for it work as a signal or cue to voters.

No doubt more to come as the session comes to end and primaries continue to heat up.

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