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July 13, 2010

Crowded Wannabes

Roy Meachum

It’s entirely possible that so many candidates filed for elections in recent years, I don’t remember.


For the state’s top job there are 14 wannabes, including Gov. Martin O’Malley and ex-Gov. Robert Ehrlich. Two husband-and-wife Democratic combinations are running in September’s primaries to replace their own party’s incumbent. I know I’ve never noticed that before. Spousal pairing could indicate nobody else had much confidence that those leading the tickets will win. I’m reasonably sure that each gubernatorial aspirant will choose somebody else in the unlikely event he/she survives the first-go-round.


In the county commissioners’ balloting, Democrats will choose among seven candidates, and Republicans will select five names from the 12 filed. Incumbent David Gray (R) gathered the most ballots four years ago among the three Republicans elected. But that was in another economic era. In 2006, trembles had not yet begun shaking Wall Street and presenting the country with scores and scores of mortgages collapsing.


What made those elections really rare for Frederick is the way Mr. Gray did not take the county’s highest chair but bowed to the Democrats top vote-getter Jan Gardner, who weighed all factors and decided not to run again this year.


Among today’s wannabes Republican Blaine Young steps out as the big banana, making the most noise. The morning after the filing deadline I found in the mail chute a campaign poster, including a note about how he was not going to distribute messy yard “signs that clutter the porches and sidewalks.” The message must have earned him at least a point from environmentalists. The appointed incumbent’s name is instantly recognizable from his radio shows; he also once served as a city alderman when his family still resided in Frederick.


From the same party, last time around Billy Shreve lost the fifth spot for Winchester Hall to John “Lenny” Thompson; they were back-and-forth in the vote count. Mr. Shreve is back again, although counting on new strength from his alliance with Blaine. And Kirby Delauter is chiefly renowned from sharing the platform with incumbent Commissioner Young.


There’s no discernable difference among the views held by all three.


Former Aldermen Alan Imhoff and Paul Smith obviously miss the political life; one year after both were defeated in November, they’re huffing and puffing to slide through September’s primary. Paul should make it that far. Alan suffers from being a longtime Democrat but running for City Hall he changed labels to the GOP.


During his chairmanship of the county’s planning board, Bob White stamped himself as firmly no-growth, aligning with Democrats like Kai Hagen. As an incumbent, Mr. Hagan hopes for another term. He may not get it. He is in the same danger as ally David Gray faces. writer Michael Kurtianyk is a thoroughly decent human being, knowledgeable about the county’s ins-and-outs from years spent in real estate. Another Democrat, Linda Norris, was once a colleague at The News-Post during the 20 years I wrote a column for the paper. She’s smart enough and feisty enough that nobody is going to push her around.


Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, Clerk of the Circuit Court Sandy Dalton and State’s Attorney Charlie Smith face no opponents in the Republican primary, and that’s smart thinking on somebody’s part; their performances have earned them high bipartisan praise.


Outgoing Orphans’ Court Judge Tim May takes on Virginia Fifer for Register of Wills, in the primaries, although I’ve heard no complaints over the years about how she’s handled the responsibilities. Elected four years ago former Mayor Jim Grimes decided also to step down from the court that looks out for orphans and others. Three Democrats, including appointed incumbent John Norman, square off in November’s general election against Republicans Cleopatra Campbell and former County Commissioner Mike Cady.


In this column, I’ve written only about names known on the street; all others can blame my aging memory or their providing no information. As usual shares no responsibility for the conclusions I’ve reached. But, hell, that applies to all my colleagues on this cyber journal.


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