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As Long as We Remember...

July 10, 2009

See How They Run

Roy Meachum

Heave a great sigh of relief: Tuesday's primary election deadline has passed. Now we'll have no more speculation about Republican Alan Imhoff running again for the mayor's office. He lost an earlier race but he was a Democrat then. (In the next column, we'll discuss the aldermanic elections.)


Republican Ron Tobin just managed to file for mayor before the gate clanged shut. He's made few enemies in City Hall where he's been Jeff Holtzinger's right arm administering construction projects and Frederick's public buildings. His name is known – and respected – but only to "insiders." He has the backing of Frederick's surviving Good Ol' Boys; that may not be enough. Will he establish himself, among GOP voters, as the right choice? He has less than 10 weeks before the September 15 primary elections.


Mr. Tobin's entry makes the city mayoral contest a three-candidate struggle on both sides.


First Republican in and best known, Randy McClement owns a downtown bagel shop close to Carroll Creek; that gives him a prime spot for advertising his candidacy. He's put in civic time by serving on various committees and is almost notorious for showing up at City Hall meetings. Despite Clint Hoffman signing all the paper work, he remains virtually unknown to the electorate, except as a tow truck owner.


Before Mr. Tobin's last-minute appearance on the ballot, Republicans I know were conceding the slot to Mr. McClement. He could still wind up with the primary's golden ring.


The unknown candidate on the Democratic ballot, Chris Simpson, is written off by most but not the man who broke news of his candidacy. George Wenschhof edits and writes for a cyber-journal (Air-It-Out-With-George) that makes no pretense of objectivity; it's one-hundred-percent Democratic. George's feel for the race has the other two candidates neck-and-neck; he said Mr. Simpson could surprise in September. Maybe. Anything's possible in politics.


Former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty, fresh off the loss to Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, wants to try again; she was the first Democratic hopeful to City Hall's election office. She reportedly is canvassing door-to-door; I don't know because, of course, she's never come near my house on North Market Street. Past columns have expressed my antipathy towards anyone who uses official power to abuse individuals. And that description fits Ms. Dougherty during her four years in City Hall. For their own reasons, voters rejected the lady – even as an incumbent – in the primary four years ago. That's never happened to a sitting mayor before: not in Frederick's modern history anyway.


Jason Judd's signs have replaced the green Dougherty placards in several windows; they appear downtown where I don't remember political advertising before. The events he’s staged attracted a number of enthusiasts, several hundred one evening. Many boosters went to Thomas Johnson High with him; he is a Frederick native. Ms. Dougherty was born in Alexandria, VA.


Mr. Judd's recent years have been spent in a form of public service: as community organizer in foreign countries he mastered the art of bringing people together; that makes him totally different from the ex-mayor who constantly – from the outset – managed to keep City Hall in an uproar.


Talking to voters Ms. Dougherty claims to have changed, and maybe she has. Can this city afford to find out? Jason Judd is fundamentally a decent, intelligent and caring human being. Furthermore he does not bring along an angry, bitter, quarrelsome father who likes to pick fights, even with his daughter's supporters.


Tuesday's column will tackle the 20 aldermanic contenders: nine Democrats and 11 Republicans.


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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