Friday, June 13, 2014

And the Fourth Shall be Third

So I ventured out into the Great Drizzle of ’14 yesterday morning…eyeglass lenses fogging up from the humidity.   Driving past a Gisriel sign-spinner, I heard some kind soul shout out to him:  “Make sure you get paid! In cash!!” Solid career advice in any country, in any operation.

This brief journey in the mist ended at a voting booth, tucked inside of the Bain Center where, finally, I was able to cast my ballot for the 2014 Primary Election.

My sample ballot was completely marked up. Some choices were rather easy: Vote for Candace Dodson-Reed and the rest of the Progressive Democratic Central Committee Team…the Talented 10…round it out with Ethel Hill and Kim Pruim for a Dynamic Dozen.  A vote for Brian Frosh as he is a dedicated public servant and because Jon Cardin, based on his track record, would be an absentee AG.  Votes for Bormel Miller, Dodd and Smith Turner for Orphans’ Court because they are several cuts above Chase in terms of qualifications.

What to do about the 12th?

If one assumes that Clarence Lam and Terri Hill will finish in the top three, what remains is a bar-brawl for the third seat.  Realistically, there are four candidates that have a shot at that position: in alphabetical order, they are Rebecca Dongarra, Eric Ebersole, Michael Gisriel and Nick Stewart.

I am still hoping that progressive voters in the 12th coalesce around one quality, viable third option to prevent the election of disbarred attorney Michael Gisriel (of #GisrielGetsItWrong fame). But who should it be?

Nick Stewart is not a conservative by any stretch of a sane imagination, but he is clearly tacking to the center.  Going through such sites as:

and the League of Women Voters

you can see the points of differentiation emerge between Stewart and the other, more liberal candidates.  That said, he is raising a serious amount of dough, sending out high quality mailings and has the backing of Delegate Malone, which is not inconsequential in the Baltimore County precincts within the 12th.   Electable? Sure. But can he wear the progressive mantle?

Eric Ebersole is a polished public speaker.  He has amassed a decent war-chest but he is spending it on direct mail pieces that could charitably be deemed “mediocre.”  Is his message getting out?  Is he energizing an electorate? He is a progressive and is backed by the teachers, which is a Big Deal in many households, including mine.  The frustration here is akin to the letter “i” without the tittle… so close but just not quite there.  Almost the Clear Choice.

From both a policy and political perspective, you can make a (surprisingly) strong case for Rebecca Dongarra.  If many Howard County voters cast their ballot for only two candidates for HD 12 (presumably Lam and Hill), then whoever wins the Baltimore County side of the district – while pulling just enough votes out of HoCo – could eke out a third place finish and a nomination.  Dongarra, like Brian Bailey, is a proven vote-getter in Baltimore County.

But here is where I get a bit idiosyncratic.  Feeling more than a little burned by recent events, and being aware of the history between Dongarra and Bailey, I made up a rule:  I would rule out from consideration anyone who ran for the Baltimore County Council in 2010.  Gordian Knot solved.        

So why the title of this post?  Back when I had three choices for the 12th, I wrote that I also had a fourth, Adam Sachs.  Not seeing a clear favorite emerge between Stewart, Ebersole and Dongarra, why not vote for the liberal populist Sachs?  While he stands to the left of the rest of the field, he is qualified to hold the office.  He is aligning himself with Delegate Heather Mizeur’s tax relief plan (another strong positive) and, frankly, I am drawn to underdog progressive campaigns.  So I voted for Sachs…and Mizeur for Governor.

If Gisriel wins the nomination by one vote, you can blame me.  That said, I walked out of the Bain Center with some pep in my step.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.


  1. The Maryland State Education Association keeps sending me "Ebersole" mailings. One says "Teachers Do Their Homework." Perhaps, but not the MSEA. On the opposite side they want me to vote for Weinstein for Council District 1 and Calvin Ball for Council District 2. I live in Sigaty's District Four. I feel that don't really care about their message. Targeted mailings are supposed to be "targeted." Why don't they take the opportunity to say something more useful to the residents of Delegate District 12/HOCO District 4? Makes me want to vote for someone else.

    1. I expect that in the instances cited above that MSEA has targeted certain LD12 voters as the recipient of their messages. Certainly, they didn't waste postage on me as a full time voter in LD13. Legislative district 12 does cover parts of Council districts 1, 2, and 4. So I can understand why they would push votes for their favorite in district 1, which has a real contest. But neither Calvin Ball in district 2 nor Mary Kay Sigaty in district 4 has a primary opponent. So I'm mystified as to why they would be urging votes for Calvin Ball at this time. I'd be even more mystified if they urged votes for Mary Kay Sigaty in either the primary or the general election, since she has no opposition at all. Anyway, their legislative endorsees in LD12 would not seem to be to blame for their mailings.