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March 22, 2007

Battleground Extraordinaire

Katie Nash

Many local residents refer to Frederick County as the "best kept secret" in Maryland. Perhaps they are right - but not only because of the county's small-town charm or economic development.

In addition to these favorable attributes, Frederick County offers a prime battleground for Democrats in 2010 and beyond. Bill Engvall, the Blue Collar comedian, would have a field day throwing Frederick County Republicans a "Here's Your Sign" and pointing to the 2006 statewide election.

For Maryland Democrats, few areas in Maryland offer as much opportunity to grow the party as Frederick County. A younger, more liberal crowd is undoubtedly moving in and will continue to do so until the county's housing prices catch up to those in Montgomery County.

With this new group of residents, the political spectrum is shifting to the left. It appears that there is "new blood" popping up in all of the legislative districts, causing rifts that otherwise would never had been considered legitimate claims of concern. The Old Guard shouldn't necessarily worry, however.

If legislation such as the Chesapeake Bay Green Fund (SB 901/HB 1220 - affectionately referred to as the "green tax") and/or tax on services (HB 448) - passes next year, Maryland residents will simply move to other states. But that is another issue entirely.

Roy Meachum points to the parties' respective central committees as "largely honorific positions, reduced to debate and cheerleading" ( "Democratic Brouhaha", March 16, 2007). In the case of 2010, the central committees should consider themselves the tanks, battleships, and fighter-bombers.

While Mr. Meachum is largely correct, central committees are also meant to establish a path to victory. That should ring true especially for the Frederick County Republican Party, which is not only trying to overcome the national and statewide shift left but, additionally, the changes in the Frederick County political dynamic.

As Gov. Martin O'Malley's first legislative session comes to an end, expect him to visit Frederick County with more frequency to communicate the Democratic Good Word.

True, there are a few years until Campaign 2010. That being said, 2008 may bring a little more excitement than just a little old election of the President of the United States. If the buzz continues, and some concerned citizens have their way, the question of charter government just might make it onto the ballot. This issue, combined with the upcoming municipal elections will undoubtedly result in a rise of leaders from both sides of the political spectrum that demand the attention of the otherwise jaded Frederick County political gurus.

The guns will be blazing and flags flying, but in the end the party that mobilizes best will be the victor.

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