Category Archives: District 18

Kessler Main Threat to D18 Delegates

kessler

This morning, I profiled the incumbents in the District 18 delegate race. Now, I assess the strength of the four challengers.

CHALLENGERS

Rick Kessler has $69K in his campaign account after having raised $84K last year. $5K came from people with the Kessler surname. Rick’s donor list reads more national and Capitol Hill than the incumbents, though he has many local donors.

His donors tended to have the opposite profile of Al’s, as many gave larger amounts of $250 or more. Another $6K arrived from PACs, including $4K from Dow Lohnes, a law firm. $1K from Rep. John Dingell’s (D MI) PAC, and $1K from Rep. Frank Pallone’s  (D NJ) PAC. Dingell is a past boss.

Rick strikes me as the greatest threat to the sitting delegates. He has been active in the district for a long time and is well-liked with Central Committee Member Vic Weissberg chairing his campaign. Beyond raising the second-highest sum of all candidates, Rick knows how to run a campaign and will do well at the doors. The sitting delegates will no doubt be unhappy at the thought that he can raise even more money during the legislative session but they can’t.

Elizabeth Matory has $16K left in her campaign account, though she has raised $26K. Relatives account for a little less than one-fifth of all of her donations. Liz has received some support from two in-district local elected officials, Kensington Mayor Fosselman and Kensington Councilmember Paul Sexton.

She has a degree from Columbia, a law degree from Howard, and is completing her MBA at Maryland, and works in nonprofit fundraising. Nevertheless, I suspect that the main problem for this otherwise appealing candidate is a lack of funds. Liz has yet to raise enough to mount a competitive campaign against three incumbents.

Emily Shetty has just $10K in her campaign account. Roughly one-quarter came from people who share her surname. Emily works at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with Lisa Fadden, extremely talented, well-liked, and well-connected in Montgomery politics. She also served recently as the Program Director for the MoCo Young Democrats and previously worked as the legislative director for now retired New York Rep. Ed Towns.

Unfortunately for Emily, she is not well-known in the district and does not have the funds to compete. On Facebook, she has been friendly with Rich Madaleno’s opponent but seems reluctant to turn it into a slate, likely because it would close off a lot of avenues not just in this campaign but the future.

Natali Fani-Gonzalez has raised essentially no money–she filed an affidavit attesting to having raised and spent under $1K. A Latina, she filed in the mistaken belief that Ana was not going to run and would support her bid. Natali attends a lot of events but there is no sign of a campaign that would raise her profile among voters.

UPDATE: I have learned once again not to estimate age based on photos (face palm). Natali Fani-Gonzalez may be unhappy not to be described as young (as in the original version of this post) in our youth-oriented culture but she is older than I realized.

Also more successful. Natali is a businesswoman who heads a public relations firm that works for a variety of progressive organizations from unions to promoting healthcare. Perhaps most prominently, she previously worked as a lobbyist for CASA de Maryland on the highly successful push for the MD Dream Act.

She still needs a lot more money that she reported in January if she wishes to run a viable campaign for this seat but also has the resume of a potentially strong candidate.

BOTTOM LINE

Only Rick Kessler seems positioned to have a real shot at toppling an incumbent. The other challengers may influence the outcome by taking votes from this or that candidate but it’s hard to see their path to victory.

Even Rick has a tough road because he has not only to attract votes but also see one incumbent’s votes reduced sufficiently to become endangered. But Rick has key ingredients–an attractive candidate, sufficient funds, and knowledge about how to campaign–to capitalize on opportunities. Rick’s chances will rise if the three incumbents ultimately fail to form a united slate as it would render the situation more fluid.

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Gutiérrez Entices Competition in District 18

D18Montgomery County District 18

This is the first of a two part post on the delegate race in District 18. This morning, I profile the incumbents in the race. In the afternoon, I’ll take a look at the challengers and make an overall assessment.

District 18, centered on Chevy Chase, Kensington, Wheaton and part of Silver Spring, is economically and racially diverse. Redistricting moved it a bit west, dropping a couple of Silver Spring precincts and picking up Garrett Park and areas around White Flint. D18 includes many of Montgomery’s mini municipalities.

The Senate race is not a top primary to watch, so I’ll focus on the more interesting delegate race. All three incumbents, Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutiérrez, and Jeff Waldstriecher are seeking reelection. Ana’s repeated public musings about retirement enticed other good candidates into the race and made it more competitive.

The fundamental question about this race is whether any challenger can pick off one of the incumbents if they run as a united slate. The challengers will likely pick off some votes from each of them. But will enough come from any single incumbent or go to any single challenger to cause an incumbent to fail to win reelection?

I review the incumbents first before turning to the challengers. They are discussed in descending order of funds raised.

INCUMBENTS

Jeff Waldstreicher has $114K in his campaign account. In the last fundraising report, Jeff reported $14K in PAC donations, including big donations from MCGEO ($2K), the Firefighters ($2.5K) and the Trial Lawyers ($5K).

Jeff also received $33K in contributions in the past year. The largest is from Big Boyz Bail Bonds in Baltimore for $1K. However, most are from individuals, many of whom are local residents and activists whose names I recognize. He also received a donation from Joe Vallario, his committee chair.

Jeff is seeking his third term in the legislature and sits on the Judiciary Committee. His strength is that he is a disciplined and focused campaigner. Jeff is just relentless about knocking on doors and has substantial funds to aid his efforts at voter contact.

Al Carr has $42K in his campaign account. Al raised $20K over the past year. (Note: I am listed as one of the donors.) His donors generally gave smaller amounts than Jeff’s. Many are local names that I recognize with a particular accent on environmental activists.

Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman was Al’s most generous donor, giving over $1K. Before serving in the House, Al was a Kensington Town Councilman. Al also loaned his campaign $29K. Only $200 came from a single PAC donation.

Al’s great strength is that he has a core base of strong supporters among environmentalists and municipalities in the district. He is very attentive to neighborhood concerns, which gives him a very nice base of volunteers and local advocates.

Ana Sol Gutiérrez has $28K in her campaign account. She raised close to $5K in individual contributions. She has more donors with Latino surnames and fewer from Kensington or Chevy Chase than Jeff or Al. I also noticed $50 from at-large County Councilmember George Leventhal.

Ana received $1600 in in-state PAC donations–$1K from AFSCME and $600 from the United Food and Commercial Workers. And another $4K from out-of-state PACs–$3K from the Laborers International Union and $1K from SEIU NY/NJ. Ana had to pay a $500 fine for accidentally continuing to solicit contributions on her web site during the session when fundraising is banned.

Ana’s great strength is simply that she has appeared on the ballot in every state election in this area since 1990, first for School Board and then for the House of Delegates. The senior Latino elected official in Maryland, she has a strong Latino base.

The real question for the incumbents is whether they will slate together. They dissolved the District 18 Democratic Team campaign account at Ana’s insistence. It seems clear that Jeff and Al will join incumbent Sen. Rich Madaleno on a common ticket. Despite reluctance, I suspect Ana will also slate with the other incumbents, as the advantages, particularly for a candidate with little money facing a strong challenge, are just too great to ignore.

This afternoon, I look at the challengers.

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Howard D13: Shenanigans!

Niece against uncle. Husband against wife. It’s All in the Family Howard County style in District 13.

In honor of the downright News of the Weird aspects of the District 13 Democratic delegate primary, the usual district map has been moved below and replaced by nostalgia brought you by the MD Republican Party. (It’s all Alex Mooney’s GOP could afford for his last media buy.)

Nevertheless, today I focus on the Democrats. Incumbent Del. Guy Guzzone is running for the open senate seat. He has an astonishing $410K in his campaign account because he was thinking of running for Howard County Executive. This nice guy with vast funds in a Democratic  district should have no problem against the sole Republican who lost the GOP primary in 2010.

District 13

Howard County District 13

Guzzone has formed a slate with three delegate candidates, incumbent Dels. Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner and School Board Member Janet Siddiqui. Pendergrass has a robust $112K in her campaign account while Turner has $56K and Siddiqui has $45K.

All perfectly normal except that also running are Nayab Siddiqui, Janet Siddiqui’s husband, and Vanessa Atterbeary, Frank Turner’s niece. Nayeb Siddiqui filed an affidavit attesting that he raised and spent last than $1000. Vanessa Atterbeary has not filed a campaign finance report, or at least I cannot find it when I search for it.

Surely, not everyone related is related in District 13? Someone should call Shenanigans! on this play.

In 2010, Vanessa Atterbeary ran for the House of Delegates in District 18 in Montgomery County. The district encompassed Chevy Chase, Kensington, Wheaton and part of Silver Spring. She came in fifth–2509 votes behind the third place nominee, Del. Al Carr, and 989 votes behind the fourth place finisher.

Vanessa came across as a highly personable but politically inexperienced young woman. Her campaign used the hackneyed slogan “Now is the Time.” Even worse, one mail piece had the wrong district number (see below). Another featured pictures of Vanessa with elected officials that did not endorse her, leading them to repudiate the piece.

In short, she was young and had interest and potential despite having much to learn about both policy and campaigns. She hosted a fundraiser for Ken Ulman in 2012, so she dived back into politics quickly after she moved to Howard County.

Atterbeary

Campaign Mail Piece from 2010 District 18

One other Democrat, Fred Eiland, has also filed for the delegate race. Like Nayab Siddiqui, he has filed an affidavit, which makes me wonder if he is somehow related to Shane Pendergrass. The only other question remaining is whether N. Siddiqui, Atterbeary, and Eiland form a counter slate.

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