1. Dave Kunes & Nik Sushka. Dave is a smart, savvy operative with the heart of an activist. He revitalized the Montgomery County Young Dem’s into a force to be reckoned with within the County and beyond. That they helped carry a candidate the Virginia House Caucus had left for dead to victory–Mike Futrell–in 2013 was lost on none). Tom Hucker was lucky to have him and Anthony Brown is too. Labor’s favorite person–period. Future? Whatever he damn well pleases.
Nik, Dave’s fiancé and an all around nice person could have a future representing District 20 in the Legislature. She succeeded Dave as President of the Young Dems (which, in a strange twist of events, now seems to wield more clout than the Central Committee). She works for Montgomery College and is well versed on a number of policy issues.
2. Andrew Platt. If Andrew isn’t finishing up his first session as a delegate representing District 17 next year, I will donate $100 to a charity of his opponents’ choice. But between massive labor support, strong fundraising, and tremendous campaign vigor, I think my hundred bucks is safe. He’s sharp as anyone and has the spirit of a hustler. Future MD-06 Congressman?
3. Dan Reed. Land use aficionados have turned to Just Up The Pike for sharp policy analysis for years. In the last six months, Dan has shown versatility in taking on Josh Starr on a host of education issues for which he has dutifully taken heat. Future Planning Board Member? Or could a 2016 school board candidacy be in the offing?
4. Jonathan Jayes-Greene. Jonathan is charming, handsome and very bright. He combines a tremendous personal story with boundless political savvy to promote the issues important to him, which frequently involve immigration. Currently working in the governor’s office, maybe he’ll return there as First Panamanian-American governor?
5. Joel Sati. Joel isn’t just smart. He’s a genius. He brings the intellectual fire power of an Ivy League Department Chair to his advocacy which has often been based around the Dream Act. Currently in New York City for School, I (and many others) would love to see him run for office back home. With JD/PhD plans in his future, could he be the first African American AG?
6. Dan Campos. This Latino investment banker and former U.S. Senate staffer made a convincing 2010 bid for delegate in D17 as a Republican, earning the NARAL endorsement. He has since switched parties–and everyone should welcome him to Team Blue with open arms. Right now, he is leader of the opposition in Gaithersburg’s municipal affairs. When he runs for something, watch out. Nobody outworks Dan Campos.
7. Jonathan Sachs. A rare wunderkind made good. Currently Director of Public Policy for Adventist Healthcare , I could see Jonathan as a successor to GiGi Godwin as CEO of the MoCo Chamber. A number of different people wrote in to nominate Jonathan for this list. Here is what two of them said:
“Probably the most notable thing about Jonathan—and it speaks to his character and intelligence—is that in a county where “progressives” rule, Jonathan is a centrist, pro-business Democrat. He thinks for himself and doesn’t fall in line with the local political dogma, so his input is all the more valuable because those who share his point of view can get drowned out in our local political conversations. But when Jonathan says something, people—included elected officials—pay attention.”
“In a universe of newbies – most with slim credentials – Jonathan stands out as a star. Rather than conjuring up bona fides, Jonathan is and has been in the trenches since his days at the University of Maryland.”
8. Kelly Blynn. Rockstar Organizer. No one does it better in Montgomery County. I dread the day I find myself on the opposite side of an issue from Kelly because that can be a very scary place to be. One nominator described her as:
“Coalition for Smarter Growth, transit advocate – a sophisticated and energetic organizer who played a central role in the BRT campaign.”
9. Kevin Walling. A well connected national operative who works at the top political phones firm in the country, Kevin traded an uphill fight for delegate for a safe shot at the MCDCC. Four years from now, he’ll have the local roots to compliment his national credentials. This will make him an even stronger candidate when he runs for office again. Rumor has it that he intends to make a play for MCDCC Chair this year.
Editor’s Note. Number 10 is the author, John Gallagher, nominated by just too many different people to leave out. Offered without comment except from the nominators:
“John Gallagher, Seventh State, mail/campaign operative – the youngest of the young guns, with a campaign resume that would be impressive for a 40-year-old.”
“You. You’re everywhere, you’re a beast, you deserve it.”
Honorable Mention: Marc Korman. Marc has aged out. However, due to his youthful good looks so many people mistakenly nominated him for the list as to necessitate his inclusion. He has an even shot at winning a delegate seat in Annapolis this year. Sidley Austin Attorney, Democratic Party stalwart and ex-Capitol Hill staffer. Anonymous comment:
“candidate for delegate, former MPW – smooth edges and a good sense of humor, with broad and deep contacts across Montgomery politics and government.”