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November 11, 2008

Please, Jennifer, Not Again

Roy Meachum

Jennifer Dougherty's loss record for elections stands four-to-one after Tuesday's drubbing by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. The only time she won, incumbent Mayor Jim Grimes shot himself in the foot. Repeatedly. When she tried for a second term, her own party dumped her; the first mayor in modern times to be defeated in a primary.


In 1993, in her initial foray for City Hall, she bowed in the primary before Gary Hughes who was backed by long-time Mayor Ron Young. Mr. Hughes was handed his hat by Mr. Grimes, who went on for a second term; he talked about getting out of politics instead of running for the third. Ms. Dougherty cashed in on his self-doubt. (Her other loss came in the cattle-call for county commissioner; she couldn't make the cut to go on to the general election.)


Somehow, or other, the ex-mayor decided she could take Dr. Bartlett; she managed one surprise when she upset favorite Andrew Duck in the primary. As I suggested in a column, the only way Ms. Dougherty could pull the stunt off was to get heavy help from leading Democrats who publicly endorsed Mr. Duck. Not on The Square Corner, but in the privacy that closed doors demand, they helped her – as hard as they were able. Not incidentally, they contributed to her decision to run.


Going the other way were Democrats who don't like the lady a whole lot. They remember how she and her faithful banded together to help Republican Jeff Holtzinger move into City Hall; the ladies (primarily) bitterly resented how Mr. Young delivered her the primary knockout punch. One source told me: "She cost the (Democratic) party the mayor's office."


In recent months, Jennifer Dougherty made no secret that she was receiving support from former Congresswoman Beverly Byron. That's a name from the past. Mrs. Byron lost the Sixth District to brash Tom Hattery who beat her in the primary. Dr. Bartlett, in his first race, had little trouble finishing off Delegate Hattery, in 1992. You see how local politics and politicians interconnect.


Ms. Dougherty's legion has accused me of something personal against their darling. They are right. During only four years, she managed to wreck too many people's lives and careers. She and her father are not nice people, at least when it comes to politics.


This was the year of explosive growth in Democratic voter registrations, thanks to Barack Obama at the ticket's head. And she had that "special" help, including a former congresswoman's. Nothing could get Jennifer Dougherty elected. She pulled down exactly the same percent (38%) of voters that Andrew Duck took the last time around.


And there's talk she's warming up for her third run for mayor!


Please, Jennifer, not again!


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