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March 3, 2009

Weekend Political Wash

Roy Meachum

Only The Frederick News-Post's announcement that it was "suspending" its Monday edition competed; over the weekend there was intense talk about the probability that ex-mayor Jennifer Dougherty will run for her former office again. Everyone acknowledges she could be a tough foe.


Lost in the after-tow was what she could face trying to skunk Jason Judd. The other filed-Democratic hopeful, Jack Lynch, has caused nary a ruckus. There was buzz that Mr. Lynch might weigh in for alderman.


Mr. Judd approaches the prospect of his first elected office with a very political background; he was a union organizer in places where there's fierce opposition to labor. Go back to the word "organizer."


If the race comes down to her against him, Ms. Dougherty can count on her "guardian angels:" people like ex-mayor's wife, Rita Gordon. At this stage of the mayoral game, Mr. Judd has not yet put together a "team" – although the Café Nola crowd Thursday at his campaign's official launch can't be tossed into the corner.


Furthermore, when Pushkin took me for a daily walk last week, we bumped into Mr. Judd emerging on a Market Street sidewalk with Andrew Duck; Ms. Dougherty handed Mr. Duck his head in last year's 6th District congressional contest; they both ran for the Democratic slot to oppose Republican Roscoe Bartlett. Mr. Duck's 2008 effort was notable for its ability to bring out voters; he lost anyway.


In Friday's column, I pointed out what happened to Mr. Judd when he sought an endorsement from Democratic leader, Del. Sue Hecht. She made an offer that was predicated on Marcia Hall's filing or not; and, by inference, it can be taken that Ms. Hecht's backing will be entirely based on a candidate's personal plumbing. Most of her faithful fall into the same gender as Ms. Hecht's.


At various times, during 24 years of writing a Frederick column, I have sought to enhance the chances of women seeking office; even once for Ms. Dougherty, in her first, losing race for mayor. The winner that year was Rita Gordon's husband. Mayor Paul Gordon proceeded to alienate supporters, including the attempt to break the local Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP had diligently embraced Mr. Gordon's proposed changes, and then the mayor turned on them. Go figure!


Going into September's primaries, a strong stench of "entitlement" imbues everything about the Dougherty race; men aboard generally assume a position of inferiority. That was true in her administration, I am told. Those males that survived after forced resignations and structural "realignments" knew their place. There's no indication that attitude toward sex, female or male, would have a place in a Judd-dominated City Hall.


How do I know?


There's not a clue in his work around the globe that Jason Judd had a problem working with women. That applies to endeavors in Cambodia, Texas or against Wal-Mart; he pulled off victories because females hung in with his leadership. They would not be subdued or dominated or relegated to a back seat.


Furthermore, Mr. Judd is Frederick's own: he was born here and still has family near. Ms. Dougherty really couldn't know the city until after she graduated from Mount St. Mary's. Wearing the adopted label "business woman," Jennifer muffles the word "successful." In fact she was not. She met payrolls only with money borrowed or given by her father, a successful Washington attorney.


The Frederick's electorate still can hope the daughter-financially backed by her dad – will not file. City Hall, in modern times at least, has never known such turmoil and strife during the years she held office. That is the principal reason why voters turned her out after a single term. In that sorry niche, Jennifer Dougherty stands alone.


At least native-son – in his first political contest – Jason Judd brings freshness and hope for a city, staggering under politics and the sentiment that some candidates are "owed" by the electorate.


That is arrant nonsense.


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