Thursday, May 22, 2014

Spoiler-Free 13th - Summer Is Coming

The shift from campaigning to governing will come soon enough.  But with the Primary Season winding down...that means more direct mail pieces in mailboxes, TV ads on screens, and campaign finance reports to be filed.  

And candidate surveys to be completed and published.  Speaking of, The Baltimore Sun has a handy resource that is worth of exploration: 

In there, one can find hidden treasures, like swords forged with rare Valyrian steel. For example, did you know that Fred Eiland (HD 13 candidate) is against the death penalty repeal?  His stated rationale is that: “Some crimes are so haunting that death is the only answer.  The punishment needs to fit the crime.”  While the death penalty is not high on the list of pressing voter concerns in Maryland in 2014, it is, nonetheless, one of those issues where a candidate’s stance instantly winnows him or her in or out.

While he should be applauded for competing The Sun’s questionnaire, I believe his perspective on the death penalty is a little too House Bolton…out-of-step with progressive-minded voters…in short, the majority of the Democratic primary electorate in the 13th.

So, with Eiland out of the mix, that leaves the two incumbents (Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner) and two challengers (Vanessa Atterbeary and Nayab Siddiqui).

While I am a proud resident of the Fighting 12th, I would probably vote for the two members of Team 13 who are running for re-election to the House of Delegates. So, if I wanted to vote for three candidates for this multi-member district, the choice is simple: Atterbeary or Siddiqui.  

I lived in Kensington, Maryland in 2010, so I am familiar with Atterbeary’s previous campaign for the General Assembly. It was a little rough: there were issues with sign placement and questions regarding verbiage selection in an endorsement mailer.  It came across more than a little ragtag, in vivid contrast to her impressive resume.  For those who wanted another option beyond the D-18 slate, it was a frustrating campaign to behold.

It is important to recognize that she is running a much better effort this time around. 

Side note: I just saw her ad on television this morning, and by state legislative campaign standards, it was decent. From a technical perspective, the visuals are appealing/engaging (much better than Gisriel’s atrocious commercial) and some thought seems to have been put in to the messaging.

Her pubic speaking performances have ranged from merely OK (Columbia Democratic Club endorsement meeting) to pretty solid (with the League of Women Voters of Howard County Forum being one of her strongest).  At the latter event, her answers on transportation and attracting manufacturing & industrial jobs to Maryland stood out as reflective approaches to solving those specific challenges.

From the standpoint of ability, she has the brainpower.  From the perspective of issues, there is nothing to suggest that she would not be a good, progressive vote in Annapolis.

So let’s turn to Nayab Lannister.  Of course I mean Siddiqui.  Something must be amiss with my laptop this morning.

As a candidate for public office, he makes a great business leader.  I’ve seen this storyline repeat itself far too often.  Some people hit the balance just right (in terms of local folks, Ryan Frederic, the Democratic Senate candidate in the 9th comes to mind), while Siddiqui is Siddiqui.

I will be specific. Does he know that, if elected, he will be one of 141 Delegates?  Policy-making is a collaborative process. How well will he work with others? I’ve seen him truly bomb at some forums.  He can come across as haughty.  He hurled the news of his endorsement by a prominent office-holder at the Thurgood Marshall Club endorsement gathering in a manner that seemed rather patronizing.  Yes, the policy and media attentive citizens in the audience know who the good Congressman is, Mr. Siddiqui. These Tywin moments have occurred a few times. It must be a teeth-gritting experience for his campaign manager…what will Nayab say next?

I will give him credit for turning in a measured performance at the League of Women Voters forum.  His response on the problems with Maryland’s ACA insurance exchange was detailed and solution-oriented.

This is not an endorsement.  Let it be said simply that Team 13 is looking very much like House Stark and I have an affinity for those from Winterfell.  If I were a voter in that state legislative district, I would probably cast my ballot for that slate: Pendergrass, Turner and Atterbeary.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.


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