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As Long as We Remember...

February 15, 2008

“Stronger Than I Thought"

Roy Meachum

The words belong to erstwhile congressional candidate Andrew Duck. He said them as I was leaving the Democratic election night party. He was referring, of course, to rival Jennifer Dougherty's showing in early returns.

When the votes were all counted, she won. He lost.

Reflecting the battle for presidential nomination, Mr. Duck, like Hillary Clinton, was considered the front-runner – the all but count-the-votes--champion. He had in his pocket endorsements from every eminent party leader – in grateful recognition of the good battle he fought against incumbent Roscoe Bartlett two years ago.

A story goes: He had a meeting in her restaurant with former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty to plan a fund raiser for his campaign this year. Whatever prompted the question, he asked about rumors she might file against him. She concurred the rumors might be true. He got up and left. She had her papers in last November.

Last week on Super Tuesday, Mr. Duck and I found ourselves again in Club 611, the site of Maryland elections’ night watch. When Ms. Dougherty's name came up, he brushed the air. Everybody's got something to say about her. He didn't listen.

His chief challenger for the Democratic nomination mailed flyers asking for householders' votes. She stuck up large signs here and there: my polling place at Evangelical Lutheran Church was minded by her big blue rectangle billboard, totally legal and stuck on a nearby house. Windows carried the same message.

Nothing comparable appeared on his behalf, not in my line of sight. Others apparently had better luck. But no one I know volunteered that they had been approached in Mr. Duck's cause in the mail. Several folks talked about her pamphlet.

In essence, Andrew Duck threw away his chance to stand tall in his party. Had he run another brave race he probably would have been admitted to the inner Democratic circles. He didn't. He will not.

Jennifer Dougherty and her sponsors, including some surprising names, profited from Mr. Duck's lack of diligence. In mythical terms, she played hare to his turtle.

From the outset, as readers know, I was part of the numerous nay-sayers. He was so solid, she was so late. Her filing speared as a grandstand gesture to keep her name before voters. We thought she seriously wasn't interested in little save getting her old City Hall desk back.

I was wrong. The reasons don't matter.

For the better part of 18 years, I have admired Roscoe Bartlett; our political views generally clash. But I have found him an intelligent, compassionate human being. The Republican congressman never asks for party affiliation when offering help. This is the real reason why I think he's kept his office.

Although Jennifer Daugherty has won fairly and cleanly the right to represent 6th District Democrats this November, I look for her to be available when the post of Frederick's mayor comes up for dibs next year.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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