Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Four-on-the-Floor , 15 up for '18?

First, allow me to thank Slats for his spirited analysis of the Howard County Executive race-that –might-be. Second, further permit me to assure you that his thoughts generally reflect the editorial line of this blog. 

Except for the limericks, I removed those.

Before I delve into an early look at County Council District #4, let me begin with some light math.

Population estimate for Howard County (2015) according to the U.S. Census: 313,414. 

Five Council Districts assuming all are roughly equal in size (key word: roughly) = 62,682 residents apiece.  This figure includes people who aren’t yet of the voting age population and it includes non-registered voters who are of legal age to cast a ballot.

Looking at recent contested primaries at this level, relatively speaking, it doesn’t take that many votes to win…

2014:  County Council District One.  Competitive four-way Democratic primary.  4,947 total votes cast, the leading vote getter won with 1,643.

2014: County Council District One. Competitive two-way Republican primary.  2,052 total votes cast, the winner had 1,343.

2014: County Council District Two.  Competitive two-way Republican primary.  1,337 total votes cast, with the eventual nominee obtaining 850.

2010: County Council District Four.  Competitive two-way Democratic primary.  6,238 total votes cast, with the winner securing 3,888.

So what happens if the Open Seat in 4 draws 6 candidates? 8? 10?  Even with a turnout of, say, 10,000 votes, how many votes would constitute a plurality? 

As of this writing, I received 15 names of potential candidates.  All Democrats.  Here they are with some back of the envelope analysis.  These candidates are in no particular order.  Or are they?  They might be in a particular order.  More or less. 

Candace Dodson-Reed.  Heavy hitter in the Ulman Administration who gets both politics and public policy.  Currently playing a key communications and public affairs role at UMBC.  Long-time Democratic activist with many friends in the Fourth.  Would be an excellent candidate for a County or State office.

Byron Macfarlane.  Register of Wills.  Progressive, good-government reform type. Proven County-wide vote getter (twice).  If he were to run, he would instantly be in the top tier.

Bill Santos.  Engineer by trade with a deep background in community engagement and planning/zoning issues.  No slouch on technical expertise.  No one knows Columbia better.  Unknown Factor: would he be a good candidate for public office? 

Josh Tzuker.  Attorney and former Hill Staffer.  Smart, policy-wonk-ish, especially on Federal issues.  Honestly? I don’t know him well enough to comment further on his skillset.

Meet the Feldmarks.  Jessica (current Council Administrator, one couldn’t ask for a better position outside of being a Council Member to see the ins and outs of how it works).  Extensive experience in County government.  And Joshua (non-profit and government experience with a particular focus on sustainability, a salient topic in Howard County). Both also have experience at the community level.  That said, how would either fare on the campaign trail?  From what I hear, Jessica might be the better bet of the two…but will she want to run?

Deb Jung.  Attorney who specializes in counseling non-profits.  First, she lives in the Fourth?  I’ve heard her name in connection with the Fourth but, like Josh T, I just don’t know her that well.  I also hear her name mentioned as a possible Board of Education candidate in ’18.

Now for three more Wilde Lake-focused possibilities:

Regina Clay.  Entrepreneur, trade association executive, former Ulman Administration official and Wilde Lake community activist.  With deep roots and many connections in the community, I could see her considering a run.

Kevin McAliley.  Wilde Lake Village Board Chair and owner of a management consulting firm.  He works rooms like a candidate.  I would be surprised if he isn’t weighing throwing his hat into the ring.

Nancy McCord.  Realtor and CA Board Member. When I saw her asking questions regarding Tax Increment Financing at a fairly recent Village Board meeting, she sounded like someone who was thinking about the future of Columbia’s Downtown…and how she might be able to play a different role there.  I don’t know if she is thinking about it, but I would not be shocked.

Back to the list:

Ellen Flynn Giles.  Does she live in the Fourth too?  I am inclined to believe that a future run on her part, if one were to occur, would involve a Board of Education comeback attempt.  Of the three incumbents who lost in 2016, this author believes that she was the best of the three. I am not trying to condemn with faint praise here.  I was elated about the election of Coombs and Ellis and pleased with Delmont-Small winning the third seat.  That said, I would not dismiss a future Giles run for the BoE out of hand.  But for the 4th?  I am not seeing it. [Note:  it has since been confirmed that she currently resides in another District].

Alan Klein.  I have seen nothing that would lead me to believe he would be a better candidate now compared to 2010, when he was defeated by Sigaty rather handily in a hard-fought race.  Based on his performance on the CA Board, I would be disinclined to vote for Klein in the General Election should he somehow obtain the Democratic nomination.

Ann DeLacy.  She isn’t a bad person.  I've had a couple of pleasant conversations with her. I just wonder what narratives run through her head sometimes.  I think she had some promise, as a public official, at one time but blew it based on some questionable decisions.  I believe her election to the Council would mean four years of divisive shenanigans at a time when our County needs exactly zero of that.  I am not saying that she would be behind all, most, or some of them…but she does have some issues when it comes to working well with others…or reading a room. 

Honorable Mentions:

Liz Bobo and Lloyd Knowles.  I think their years holding public office are behind them, but they retain a certain base in West Columbia.  Stranger things have happened.

So there you have it, an early look at my home district.

Next up?  Perhaps a combined post on Districts 2 and 3.  We shall see...

Stay tuned, as more will follow.


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