Here are initial thoughts on several County races…
County Executive: The Calvin Ball – Allan Kittleman match-up that the prophecies have foretold for eons. Will Harry Dunbar drop out or continue on until the June primary? Turning to the general, I can see Ball winning with up to 58% of the vote, or Kittleman securing re-election with up to 52%. Ball has more room to maneuver, bearing in mind the likely HoCo electorate in the fall, which helps reduce the incumbency advantage for Kittleman.
County Council One: Jon Weinstein bought himself a primary. Some of this has to do with optics and positioning but, in any event, it has been evident that certain Democratic circles in the First have been less than enthused with Weinstein’s term in office. Remember that this was the scene of a hard fought primary campaign in 2014, where Weinstein garnered 33% of the vote in a four-way race. I expect any Democratic challenger to start off with about 20% of the vote; and a good challenger may have a floor closer to 33%. Candidly, I don’t know much about Elizabeth “Liz” Walsh but this district just became quite a bit more “interesting,” which no doubt disquiets some. I expect Mr. Weinstein to win both the primary and the general, but neither will be a cake-walk.
County Council Two: Opel Jones started early and, effectively, cleared the field. A year ago, I would have expected three to five Democratic candidates for this office. Today, Mr. Jones is the presumptive Democratic nominee and is well-situated to be the next County Councilman representing the Second.
County Council Three: Four very good candidates. I expect the winner of the Democratic primary will emerge with around 33% of the vote. If I was a resident of the Fightin’ Third, I would cast my ballot for the candidate who I believe possesses the greatest depth of knowledge regarding Howard County public policy matters: Steve Hunt. I think Christiana Rigby has tremendous up-side potential as a candidate, and is perhaps a future County Executive. Greg Jennings reads like a future Delegate. Hiruy Hadgu is tapping into anti-development sentiment to fuel his campaign, and in this year…in this district…in a crowded primary…that could be sufficient to vault his candidacy into serious contention. Any of these four could win the nomination…and no Republican has filed (although third party candidates/independents have until August 29 to file for the General Election, which brings me to…)
County Council Four: My home Council district. I was bummed out when Byron Macfarlane withdrew his candidacy. I was further disappointed when Cynthia Fikes dropped her bid a couple of months later. I met with Deb Jung, she is an enthusiastic and thoughtful advocate for our community. She is, by far, the best choice for the Democratic nomination for County Council (District 4). Should she lose in the primary election to Dr. Janet Siddiqui, I believe it is likely that a candidate will file to run as an independent for the General Election, leading to a three-way race between her, Republican Lisa Kim, and a third option.
County Council Five: My hopes are not high for this district, but I have heard reports that China Christine Williams is fighting the good fight in a constituency that is generally tough sledding for Democrats. A Blue wave, hard work, and good fortune would be required for a D pick-up.
State’s Attorney: Rich Gibson all the way.
Clerk of the Circuit Court: Wayne Robey.
Register of Wills: Byron Macfarlane has my full support. Will Terrence McAndrews drop out? Stay tuned.
Judge of the Orphans’ Court: Six, count them, six candidates for three positions with all incumbents running. A quick review of the backgrounds of the three challengers appears to indicate that all are qualified. I don’t want to say a heck of a lot here. Leslie Smith Turner is a family friend and has served the County well for years. Nicole Bormel Miller is highly qualified and also deserves re-election. The third seat? Who knows…
Sheriff: No comment on this race pending further review of the candidates.
Next up: the Central Committee races and, possibly, the Board of Education.