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September 6, 2013

City Primaries

Roy Meachum

Shortly after dawn, Tuesday begets the eighth city primaries that I participated in. The move from Bethesda to Frederick happened in March 1983. The first house was at 107 East Fourth Street. Even with the Veterans Administration guaranteeing the mortgage, the rate was 12 percent.


Because I had been on television, political celebrities managed to meet me. The U.S. Representative was Beverly Byron; the longtime mayor, Ron Young, whom I chanced on earlier this week, now a state senator, his wife, Karen Lewis Young, is running for his old seat. I introduced the pair at Dick Zimmerman’s Fourth of July party, in 2001.


Vying for the same office is Galen Clagett, who was a Frederick County commissioner then. After I became a Frederick News-Post columnist, three editions a week, at Thanksgiving time in 1984, he was the main political topic. His problem? He doesn’t get out of his office to campaign. “Never has,” according to the man entered politics with him, former Mayor Ron Young.


My writings in appreciation of Galen irritated Del. James E. (Doc) McClellan, who ran the county’s version of a Tammany Hall. Supposedly he had reached an agreement with the Widow Byron; husband Goodloe died of a heart attack while jogging near Sharpsburg. He was also a Democrat. “Doc” ran the machine with a tight fist: the only Republican in state office was State Sen. Jack Derr. He was joined by GOP Commissioner Anita Stup and marked the final phase of “Doc” McClellan’s domination. Soon, two state senators and several delegates were not Democrats.


In her wondrous fashion, Anita managed to convert the county to the GOP – except for the city. The municipal elections featured a division in FDR’s party. There was such intensity that favorite candidates tended to turn-off supporters of anyone else. We’ve had a slew of Republicans in City Hall.


After the 2013 elections, Randy McClement may still sit in the mayor’s office; it depends on how Galen’s backers react to Karen’s success on Tuesday. Notice I haven’t brought ex-mayor Jennifer Daugherty’s name up: her four years were a disaster for the city. The exception was her recruiting Police Chief Kim Dine from Washington, which he chose to return to.


In my columns four years, I wrote favorably about Shelly Aloi, now running for mayor. I think Randy’s incumbency will make the difference Tuesday. I also must mention Republican Jill King. My beautiful and very intelligent colleague’s running for alderman. Also on the ballots will appear Democratic Kelly Russell and Michael O’Connor. Their four years in office have never offended – except Alderwoman Russell’s continuous support of Frederick Police. She retired as a lieutenant.


This is how Tuesday’s city primaries rock to me.


Good luck to all the candidates – expressing my opinions, which a columnist’s supposed to offer.


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