By John Clayton
Is June 24 circled on your calendar? Are you already beginning to worry about what you will do? I am sure you are not alone, but you may at least be lonely.That is the date of the Maryland Gubernatorial primary, and on that day, we will be voting for various gubernators, including governors, in primary mode; however, in all fairness to the many worthy and dedicated candidates out there, the races are not generating a lot of excitement.
I’m not sure if this says more about them (the candidates) or us, the unexcited, disinterested people who probably won’t vote anyway.
Yes, this is another one of those nagging you-really-oughta-vote columns.
Turnout in primaries is, of course, woeful. According to unofficial results from the 2012 Maryland primaries, courtesy of the Maryland State Board of Elections, about twenty-one percent of registered voters participated, counting both early voting and Election Day turnout. If you voted, four other people didn’t. That is why it is a fact that when groups of like people concentrate their votes in a primary, results are more easily skewed their way.
The Republican candidates for governor should be familiar to Monocle readers and other local residents as there was a large turnout for a symposium sponsored by the local Rural Women’s Republican Club and the Potomac Women’s Republican Club. The Democratic candidates have been in all the other papers, so I’m going to move on, but there should be enough information out there to make a decision and actually vote.
We have some pretty decent, qualified people running for office who deserve more attention than they get. For county executive alone, on the Democratic side, we have the incumbent Ike Leggett, former county executive Doug Duncan, and county councilman Phil Andrews. I don’t have any hesitation in saying that this is a very tough choice among three highly-qualified candidates. The Republicans have one candidate registered for the primary, Jim Halleck, an attorney with a distinguished resume, but it’s a tough climb in a one-party state, and he isn’t going to face a flawed candidate.
For District 15 State House races, challengers to the incumbents haven’t raised a lot of dust that I’ve noticed, except for our own local Boyds candidates, Robin and Flynn Ficker, who are running for Republican nominations for State Senator and State Delegate, respectively. They have a catchy slogan, “Fickers for 15” and a pretty good Upcounty sign presence, so who knows? We love dynasties, right? Aren’t the Bush and Clinton clans going to face off for president in 2016? Clever folks, those Fickers.
Speaking of local, if you’ve noticed the signs, the Upcounty has a candidate for Montgomery County Council at-large, Beth Daly of Dickerson, a well-known and respected local activist. She is running a strong campaign across the county, as I am sure she has to, and one aspect of her uphill climb is that she faces four solid incumbents: Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich, George Leventhal, and Hans Reimer, a one-term councilman. It has been noted that three At-Large candidates are from Takoma Park and one, Floreen, is from Garrett Park. I’m not sure what’s so at-large about having four At-Large councilmen from down county. If you don’t get out much, Takoma Park is on the Prince George’s County-D.C. line, and Garrett Park is nestled between North Bethesda and Kensington. Although I have never met Reimer, I have heard the other three discuss Upcounty issues and they seem reasonable, but I think it would be nice to have someone representing us who is actually from here. Daly’s qualifications aren’t just geographical; she is an accomplished and viable candidate.
The Washington Post did not endorse Daly, and gigged her for her views on “growth.” While the Post, for better or worse, slings a lot of weight with its endorsements, I am very dubious about its views on growth. To wit, I don’t think they have ever heard of a planned bridge, road, or development that they didn’t favor. This includes that bridge across the Potomac into the Agricultural Reserve that we all like to think disappeared forever. I think Daly understands our issues better than the Post does. Maybe if we all voted like a bloc of like-minded voters, we could make a difference.