The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee has a six members running for office this year:
- Emily Shetty (Vice Chair), Delegate District 18.
- Julian Haffner (Treasurer), Delegate District 17.
- Loretta Jean Garcia, County Council At-Large.
- Danielle Meitiv, County Council At-Large.
- Marlin Jenkins, Delegate District 19.
- Brenda Wolff, School Board.
Additionally, MCDCC Chair Dave Kunes is also the Chief of Staff for Councilmember Tom Hucker. Chris Bradbury sought the appointment to the District 14 vacancy. He quit the committee in a huff when he realized he wasn’t going to win but then managed to withdraw his repented resignation. MCDCC appointed Pam Queen, another one of its members, instead.
These candidacies present a problem because MCDCC is meant to promote turnout and run the precinct organization for both the primary and the general elections. How can candidates possibly have the time to carry out these functions or do so in a neutral manner?
MD VAN Access
Additionally, MCDCC members have access to the VAN vote database, which contains valuable information on voters that normally costs money to buy. I have asked the MCDCC members running for office if they have purchased access to the VAN. Marlin Jenkins, Emily Shetty and Danielle Meitiv purchased it in the Fall, assuring that there is no conflict between their use of it for MCDCC and their own campaign.
Loretta Garcia communicated via email that she has not purchased VAN access for her campaign. Brenda Wolff says she plans to purchase it this week “in preparation for February door knocking.” I have not heard from Julian Haffner, who recently jumped from running for the County Council to the delegate contest.
Proposed By-Laws Change
A change to MCDCC’s by-laws has been proposed that would require candidates to resign from the committee if they are candidates for office in the Democratic primary.
MCDCC has yet to consider the change, which would go into effect for this year’s elections. All of the candidates, except Wolff who is running for a non-partisan office, would have to resign. It will be interesting how the candidates vote on it if MCDCC takes it up.
Ambition is healthy and politicians of all stripes often use their offices to their political benefit – often being responsive to the electorate as a result. However, in this case, MCDCC members shape the raw political process rather than public policy and it’s ripe for conflicts of interest. MCDCC also needs members focused on Democrats more broadly, rather than their own campaign, as turnout will be key to defeating Hogan.