Tag Archives: Craig Zucker

Campaign Finance Reports: Districts 14 and 15, January 2018

By Adam Pagnucco.

Today kicks off a series of reports on fundraising in MoCo’s state legislative districts.  Incumbents are marked in red.

District 14

This is by far the easiest MoCo state legislative race to figure out.  All four incumbents – Senator Craig Zucker and Delegates Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Pam Queen – are going to be reelected.  The end.

District 15

Senator Brian Feldman has achieved every politician’s dream: a complete deterrence of credible competition.  Since he first won a House seat in 2002, he has never been at risk of losing an election.  Meanwhile, four of his MoCo Senate colleagues (Cheryl Kagan, Rich Madaleno, Roger Manno and Nancy King) have endured tough races in recent years to gain or hold their seats.  Will any serious candidate ever run against him?  Of course, your author would be the first to sing Feldman’s praises as a public official and any challenger stupid enough to run would lose, but – dang it – Feldman is not doing his part to keep political bloggers busy!

Incumbent Delegates Kathleen Dumais and David Fraser-Hidalgo will be reelected despite their somewhat anemic fundraising.  Of the candidates seeking to succeed Delegate Aruna Miller, who is running for Congress, Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Lily Qi looks like the strongest contender.  Your author worked with Qi during his time in county government and found her to be smart, competent and forward-thinking.  She was one of the uncommon people who could deal with the day-to-day tribulations of working for the county while also possessing the capacity to assume a perspective from 30,000 feet.  Qi has done well at raising money, and with her standing in the local Chinese-American community, her admirers in the business community and the support of her boss, County Executive Ike Leggett, she has had a good start.

Kevin Mack, who is Congressman John Delaney’s constituent service lead, is well regarded by those who have interacted with him and is the principal alternative to Qi.  But it’s not helpful that he trailed political consultant Andy VanWye in fundraising.  Hamza Khan, who switched from the District 39 House race, has not yet filed his campaign finance report and is being fined by the Board of Elections.  Republicans were once competitive in this district and held a Delegate seat here as recently as 2006, but they will not win any seats in the age of Trump.

The Big Question: will the incumbents slate with Qi as they slated with Miller, then a new candidate, in 2010?  If they do, this race will probably be over.

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Senators for Corporate Welfare

The General Assembly couldn’t manage to pass an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) even though both houses supported it. In contrast, the bill giving Northrup Grumman a $37.5 million tax credit sailed to passage.

Who in the Maryland Senate supported this fine example of corporate welfare?

One Republican Against Corporate Welfare

Just about every Republican voted for the bill. Sen. Michael Hough (R-4) was the sole Republican who voted no, possibly because he is a conservative who (1) wants a simple tax code, (2) doesn’t think government should interfere in the free market by helping out only favored businesses, and (3) wonders why his tax paying constituents shouldn’t get the break instead of Northrup Grumman.

Democrats for Corporate Welfare

Nineteen Democrats joined the twelve Republicans who voted for the bill. The following chart lists them in decreasing order of support for Democrat Anthony Brown in the last election:

DforNGThough seven represent legislative districts that voted for Hogan, the rest hail from districts won by Brown. Nine of the 19 represent extremely safe Democratic districts. In these nine, Brown won by 59% or more, and all won election in 2014 by 62% or more.

Four more represent districts carried only narrowly by Brown (i.e. 50-52%). But even these senators do not face serious general election danger. Obama fared much better in the same territory, and Democrats won them by 57% or more in 2014 despite the terrible electoral fortunes faced by Democrats around the country.

Sen. Craig Zucker (D-14), recently appointed to replace retired Sen. Karen Montgomery, is tacking to the right of his predecessor. Besides voting in favor of giving money to Northrup Grumman, he also supported the tax cut for the wealthy. An interesting strategy as incumbent Sen. Rona Kramer lost to then-Del. Montgomery the primary after being attacked as too pro-business.

Dumb Politics

The politics of the legislation make little sense. It’s not even a question of alienating liberals. It’s hard to see how Democrats win more votes here from anyone. Are moderates, let alone liberals, really going to vote Democratic because Northrup Grumman received a tax giveaway?

The icing on the cake is that the Senate simultaneously killed off an increase in the EITC by standing firm in favor of a tax cut for the wealthy instead of for the middle class.

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D14 Legislators Solidly Back Queen

The District 14 delegation have made it crystal clear that they prefer that the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee select Pam Queen for the vacancy in their district. In particular, they highlight that Queen would be the first African-American women from Montgomery to vote in the House.

The subtext is also that failure to appoint Queen would reduce the number of women in the General Assembly from prior to Sen. Karen Montgomery’s retirement. Currently, three of eight senators from Montgomery County are women, as are 8 of 23 delegates.

Here is the letter from Sen. Zucker, Del. Kaiser, and Del. Luedtke:

Dear Chairman Anderson and members of the Central Committee:

We would again like to thank each of you for your service to the party and for taking so seriously the important task of choosing a new Delegate in District 14. A number of Central Committee members have asked for our rationale in choosing to support Pam Queen for the open Delegate seat, and we wanted to be sure to provide it prior to your upcoming meeting.

Our recommendation was based on a number of factors. First and foremost, we are confident that Pam shares our values as Democrats. She is and has always been pro-choice, and will stand with the Democratic Party in opposing Republican attacks on women’s reproductive rights in Annapolis. In this era where inequality is such an important topic, we know that Pam will work with us to pass our middle class agenda, including efforts to strengthen pay equity laws and address the growing student loan debt crisis. And we are confident that given her background in finance, she will be able to help us combat any attempts by the administration to undercut funding for urban jurisdictions in the state budget.

But our support is about more than issues. Those of us who serve in Annapolis face a tremendously complex task. As individuals in a legislature made up of nearly 200 people, the ability to work effectively with others and get along with others is an absolute necessity. Pam has that ability, and we believe she would be a good fit for our very tight-knit team. In addition, given the need for Democrats to unite against increased partisanship in Annapolis, we need legislators who are able to work effectively with Democrats who hail from other parts of the state. Pam has worked in Baltimore for a number of years, and has pre-existing relationships with a number of elected officials there. This includes the Vice Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with whom she taught for a number of years until his retirement.

Finally, and importantly as well, we hope to retain the gender balance that has been a feature of our delegation since District 14 was first drawn as a Montgomery County district in 2002. And we hope to see Pam become the first African-American woman to ever cast a vote on behalf of Montgomery County in the state legislature (while Karen Britto was the first to serve, it was for a brief time and she was not able to cast a vote during it). While all of us work hard on behalf of women and work to address issues of race and racism that have been too easily ignored by too many in politics, it is undeniably important that Montgomery County’s delegation to Annapolis become more diverse in terms of both race and gender. Each of us has repeatedly used our influence to endorse diverse candidates in elections, and we do so again in endorsing Pam for this appointment.

An appointment like this is difficult, and we know you are burdened by the responsibility of choosing an effective leader on behalf of the 122,000 residents of District 14. We share that sense of responsibility every single day we represent our constituents in Annapolis. And we are certain that Pam Queen would be the best choice to stand beside us.

Sincerely,

Senator Craig Zucker
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Eric Luedtke

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MCDCC Taps Zucker for Senate

zuckerCraig Zucker

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) voted 25-2-1 to nominate Del. Craig Zucker to fill the vacancy caused by the retirement of Sen. Karen Montgomery. Central Committee Members Venattia Vann and Loretta Garcia voted instead for former Del. Herman Taylor. MCDCC Vice Chair Arthur Edmunds, who lives in District 14, abstained.

Once Gov. Larry Hogan formally appoints Zucker, MCDCC will once again have to fill a vacancy, this time in the House of Delegates. The current delegation is supporting Central Committee Member Pam Queen for that spot. Herman Taylor left open the possibility of seeking the seat when I spoke to him prior Zucker’s appointment.

Craig Zucker may well become the first person ever to vote to override the Governor’s veto in both chambers of the General Assembly. Earlier this week, he joined with the House majority to overturn the veto of the bill to restore the voting rights of ex-felons. The Senate has delayed the override vote until after the Governor fills the District 14 vacancy. Of course, all of this is perfectly legal and ethical but will make for an interesting bit of political history.

Congratulations to Craig Zucker. He already represents the same people in the House of Delegates so his set of constituents will remain the same. Former Del. Herman Taylor may not have won support from MCDCC but merits thanks for putting himself forward as well as his past work in the House of Delegates.

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Former Del. Herman Taylor to Seek Senate Seat

taylorI spoke earlier tonight with former Del. Herman Taylor, who confirmed that he plans to move forward with his bid for the District 14 Senate vacancy caused by the retirement of Sen. Karen Montgomery. The current District 14 delegation has endorsed Del. Craig Zucker for the seat.

Taylor won election to the House of Delegates in 2002 and 2006. He was among the first African Americans to win election from a majority white district, a path since followed by current County Executive Ike Leggett (UPDATE: though I am reminded Ike won election to an at-large seat on the County Council much earlier) and County Councilmember Craig Rice.

The race will be decided by a vote of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Taylor raised concerns to me about the process, likely amplified by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s lack of posting about on its website, though I did receive an email requesting applications.

Zucker remains heavily favored to win the appointment, having received the backing of County Executive Ike Leggett, the African-American, Latino and Asian county Democratic clubs as well as the delegation. Taylor left open the possibility of seeking the delegate seat seat should Zucker win the appointment to the Senate.

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D14 Legislators Endorse Zucker for Senate and Queen for House

I received the following press release from both Del. Anne Kaiser Del. Eric Luedtke:

District 14 Team Announces Recommendations to Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (December 4, 2015) – Earlier today, State Senator and District 14 member Karen Montgomery announced that she will retire upon the appointment of her successor, saying that she will notify Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. on January 1 of her intent to resign.

The District 14 delegates, Majority Leader Anne Kaiser, Craig Zucker and Eric Luedtke, want to thank Karen Montgomery for her leadership, dedication and commitment to a career serving Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.

“Senator Montgomery has been a champion for our district and a wonderful member of the team,” said Del. Craig Zucker. “She has been a leader of progressive values in Annapolis and we thank her for her service.”

To fulfill the vacancy that will be created by her retirement, Sen. Montgomery has recommended Del. Zucker as her successor.

“While serving with Delegate Zucker in Annapolis, I have had the privilege to know him as a father, a legislator and a leader,” said Montgomery. “Along with Delegates Anne Kaiser and Eric Luedtke, the District 14 Team is putting its full support behind Delegate Zucker to be our next State Senator.”

After Sen. Montgomery’s letter of resignation is received by Senate President Miller, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will have up to 30 days to submit a name to the Governor to serve as the next District 14 Senator.

Although she will submit her intent to resign on January 1, Montgomery will continue to serve her constituents, and will not vacate her seat, until a new senator is appointed.

“Let me be clear, I will not allow my district to be without representation in Annapolis during this transition to my retirement,” said Montgomery. “We have fought hard to move Maryland forward, and I will continue that effort as an elected official until the day my successor is sworn-in.”

Del. Zucker, who was first elected to represent District 14 in 2010 and re-elected in 2014, serves on the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, where he is Chair of the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee.

“I am proud that she is recommending me to the Central Committee as the successor to finish her term in the Senate,” said Del. Zucker. “I intend to formally submit my name to the Central Committee as a candidate when Senator Montgomery’s resignation becomes official.”

Del. Zucker will also have the support of County Executive Isiah Leggett.

“I congratulate Karen Montgomery for her service to District 14 and our community,” said Leggett. “I know Delegate Zucker will do an admirable job filling her shoes. That is why he has my enthusiastic support. There is no one who works harder than him.”

If Del. Zucker is recommended and there is a vacancy for his current seat, the District 14 Team is recommending longtime community activist, educator and Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee member, Pamela Queen.

“I have known Pam for many years, and I have admired her strong-minded passion for District 14 and her community,” said Del. Anne Kaiser. “Delegate Luedtke and I look forward to the opportunity to serve alongside her.”

Pamela Queen is a Professor of Finance at Morgan State University in Baltimore. She uses her expertise and training as a certified project management professional and her Ph.D. in finance to enhance operations of non-profit, community and civic groups. A mother of one, Pamela is married to Retired Naval Captain Gregory Queen and lives in Olney.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee is scheduled to meet on January 12, 2016.

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Tea Leaves of MD-03

MD-03 is a tricky district. It has a Jackson Pollock quality in terms of it’s lines that really means no elected official has a true base here. It does take in enough prime political real estate that if John Sarbanes (still a young man) runs for his father’s US Senate seat one day – there should be a hard thought Democratic primary.

From Montgomery County

It would not totally surprise me if Steve Silverman were interested in running for Congress, and he does indeed reside in the third district. He raised well over two million dollars in his bid for Montgomery County Exec in 2006. I doubt he could do half that for a Congressional campaign today. However, he’d have at least half a million at his disposal, and possibly seven or eight or nine hundred thousand.

A few terms in Congress would surely be an enticing capstone to Ike Leggett’s career (And he too lives in MD-03). He could put together 1.5 to 2.5 million dollars and would be a strong candidate. Ike would be a real heavy weigh. . . and don’t we always say he’d be a better legislator?

Anne Kaiser might clear a million dollars, but I’d be surprised. I wouldn’t be shocked if she had at least $700,000. I’d be blown away if she didn’t clear half a million. I suspect she’d get substantial help from national LGBT Donors and interests.

Craig Zucker could do $250,000-$500,000. He’d also be dynamic enough to stretch those dollars. Craig might do well with SEIU (He ran there home care program in Maryland at one point) which could help substantially. Zucker is an incredibly hardworking candidate and could make himself competitive for the seat.

Eric Luedtke is a lackluster fundraiser but could see substantial labor PAC money come to fund him. I’d also be a bit perplexed if the NEA didn’t spend hundreds of thousands in independent expenditure to support him, especially if Bill Ferguson were in the race. The dynamic between  Teacher Union Activist Luedtke and Teach for America Alumnus Ferguson on Education Reform, although they are (from what I understand), quite close in the legislature, might very well make this a proxy fight between powerful labor and reformist interests (similar to the 2013 Boston Mayoral run off between Marty Walsh and Dan Connelly).

Anne Arundel County 

Maybe former Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen. No idea what he could raise. More than 100. . . but who knows how much more? I don’t think he’d be a particularly serious candidate, with little opportunity to expand outside of his base in the City of Annapolis (not big enough to support a real congressional bid). Nice guy, though.

County Councilman Chris Trumbauer might be able to garner substantial backing in IE from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. Which is lucky for him because he couldn’t raise more than low six figures on his own. He’d be well positioned to lock down the Anne Arundel County portions of the district (although that’s not a huge base).

Baltimore County

Bobby Zirkin a dynamic, handsome young trial lawyer who happens to be a strong contender to be the next chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. If that happens, his number could be as high as $1.5 million. If not, $650,000-$1,000,000. Senator Zirkin could likely raise very substantial amounts of money from the incredibly tuned in community of Trial Lawyers that finances so many Democratic Stalwarts.

Dan Morhaim – a Delegate and a Doctor makes a powerful combination. Would clear a million easily. Two million might be a stretch. Shares a heavily Jewish Western Baltimore County district with Zirkin. Despite being one of the stronger fundraisers in the house, he lacks enough pizzazz to be a solid congressional contender in my opinion.

Jon Cardin– Would raise a million easily, but not more than $1.2 or 1.3. Would benefit from confusion with his uncle as well. But, I think that Jon is pretty done after the AG Race. However, the Cardin brand is stronger here than it is statewide.

Baltimore City

Brooke Lierman She could raise a million bucks off her last name, and probably another 300K off of her own network. If Hoyer came in to aid his former Chief of Staff’s daughter you could see another quarter million drop in. She’d be competitive against Anne Kaiser for an Emily’s List endorsement. But as we saw with Heather Mizeur in the 2014 Gubernatorial primary they don’t devote a lot of resources to Democratic Primaries in Deep Blue states.

Bill Ferguson – A handsome, white, young Baltimorean State Senator with real education reform credentials. Can he get buy in from national Ed Reform donors and raise mega millions? I’m not sure. A guy to watch, none the less. With a very, very solid base in the rapidly gentrifying, densely Democratic neighborhoods of South Baltimore. Definitely one to watch.

bIn a primary this crowded, with so many disparate bases of support, I have no clue who might come out on top. I’m not going to pretend that I do.

 

 

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Pro-Gun Challenger in D14 Going Nowhere

District 14

In District 14, Sen. Karen Montgomery is currently unopposed for a second term. Sen. Montgomery served two terms in the House of Delegates before knocking out incumbent Sen. Rona Kramer in one of 2010’s top-tier Democratic primaries.

On the House side, Dels. Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker are also seeking second terms, while senior delegation member Del. Anne Kaiser is running for a fourth term. The four incumbents in the General Assembly are hanging together and have formed a slate that will campaign and do coordinated mailings.

The House incumbents face one challenger, John Paul Evans of Gaithersburg, a 24 year old graduate of Damascus High School . He explained why he was running in a Gazette profile:

The issues that most concern him are civil rights and government transparency.

“I don’t think we have enough transparency in the slightest,” he said.

Evans said he is reluctant to single out one civil right to focus on.

“We’ve had the gun issue, with assault weapons, and we’ve had issues with the [National Security Agency],” he said.

Evans said gun laws should be based on guns’ functionality, not whether they look like assault weapons.

Those topics have been “a driving force” behind his decision to announce his candidacy, he said.

Evans’ oblique campaign announcement further refers to pro-gun and anti-NSA surveillance stance:

I think our government is not treating our civil rights with the respect they deserve. It’s time someone “stands his ground” to solemnly defend our civil rights. I want to do my part to protect our inalienable rights. I want to be there on the ground floor to say, “No, we cannot violate the people like that”, before a bill ever becomes a law. I want to be the first line of defense and give our community a strong and active voice.

“Stands his ground” sounds more like George Zimmerman than John Lewis. In the Sentinel, Evans made more explicit his opposition to Maryland’s new gun laws on Second Amendment grounds. A member of the Snowden generation, it will be interesting to hear more about how Evans plans to rein in the NSA from Annapolis.

The delegates are comparatively well positioned financially if not incredibly flush based on their last pre-session bank balances with Del. Kaiser at $36K, Del. Luedtke at $26K, Del. Zucker at $42K. Sen. Montgomery has $43K (error corrected from previous version).

Free Citizens for John Evans filed an affidavit attesting the he “does not intend to receive contributions or make expenditures in the cumulative  amount of $1000 or more.” (Information gathered from the most recent 2014 reports in the Maryland Campaign Finance Database.)

All four incumbents are solid liberals and I’d be shocked if they did not collect the usual round of endorsements from unions and progressive groups. Evans seems most likely to gain support from Free State DINOs, a group encouraging Republicans to register to vote in Democratic primaries to unseat incumbents like Montgomery, Kaiser, Luedtke, and Zucker for supporting the gun laws adopted by Maryland in the wake of Newtown shootings.

John Paul Evans is a frequent flyer in the Maryland Judicial Database due to traffic offenses but none contributed to an accident. He drove on a suspended license in 2009 at the age of 19. The prosecutors declined to prosecute and did the same when Evans repeated the offense in 2011. In 2012, he plead guilty to driving without proper vehicle plates. Just last year, Evans plead guilty to failure to display his license when demanded by a police officer and still lacking the proper plates. The latter appeared related to continued problems with a suspended license.

These problems strike me as not life disqualifying from public service but it would be nice if  they were further in the rear view mirror. Regardless, the easy choice for Democrats is to go with the incumbents. They should win easily in any case but face a more vigorous challenge in the general election. Though District 14 has more Republicans than most Montgomery districts, effective campaigns should assure victory in that race too.

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