Saturday, January 7, 2017

Give ‘Em the Ol’ 2, 3

Back to the County Council races. - Edited Edition (12:52 pm Eastern).  3rd Edition (2:26 pm Eastern).

Let's just call this a living document.

The potential Democratic fields for the Second and Third County Council Districts are aces and pears.  Aces and pears, I tell ‘ya.

In marked contrast to District 4, where the list grows almost weekly, I am hearing fewer names for District 2 as time goes on.  As of this writing, there are five “potentials” on the Democratic side for District 2.  In no particular order, they are:

-       Bill Woodcock.  I have already discussed his possible candidacy for another office in my recent County Executive post.  I think he would have an easier time running for the Democratic nomination in District 2 than seeking a Countywide office, bearing in mind the resources involved. 

-       Opel Jones, mathematics lecturer, member of the Howard County Human Rights Commission, Democratic Central Committee Alternate.  This author is hearing a great deal of buzz surrounding his potential candidacy for the seat.  He has an event scheduled for January 19 at the AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar at 5 pm where more information about his intentions may become known.  Of the five, he is the most likely to seek the Democratic nomination. 

-       Dr. James Howard, mathematician, raconteur, member of the Board of Appeals (Chairperson). Half of the lethal Basu-Howard combination, Dr. Howard has recently bolstered his public profile by joining up with the aforementioned Mr. Woodcock on the renowned “Do It Live!” podcast.  Question: would he get more than one vote in his household?    

-       Nina Basu, litigator, long-time Long Reach Village Board member. A staunch progressive with deep roots in the community, Ms. Basu is well-positioned to be a formidable candidate for the seat.   Also, like Mr. Woodcock, she has the experience of running for elective office previously.  That cannot be discounted.

- Olga Butler, small business owner and community activist.  Ran a good campaign for the Board of Education in 2014.  Also from Long Reach.  Candidly, I thought she might try for the BoE in '18 but since the Great Mentioner spoke, I am including her name here. Would be a serious candidate if she sought the office.

Frankly, I expect no more than two of those five will run for the 2nd District seat in 2018.  

Turning to County Council District 3 (Democratic field only), again in no particular order:

-       Steven “Steve” Hunt, Corporate Services Manager at Abt Associates and member of several local boards, including his current service on the Board of Appeals.  If asked, “Who is the odds-on favorite to be the next Councilperson from 3?” I would choose Mr. Hunt.  He is well-qualified with an impressive record of community involvement.  If he runs, he will be tough to beat.

-       Alice Giles, Technical Specialist at the Howard County Public School System who has served on multiple local boards, including current engagements with the Howard County Conservancy, HopeWorks, the Commission for Women and the Public Transportation Board. Well-connected and well-liked, Ms. Giles has great credentials.  I don’t believe her mother’s loss in the Board of Education primary damaged the “Giles” brand, frankly the name should be a net plus in the Third.  On paper, an extremely formidable candidate.  Question: where does she stand on issues of importance to local Democratic primary voters?  Understanding that Council races tend to be less ideological than, say, state legislative races, her long service on the League of Women Voters gave her a non-partisan profile for many years.  How would she fare on the campaign trail?

-       Shari Zaret, long-time member of the Kings Contrivance Village Board and Democratic activist.  A good profile with an identifiable geographic base, she could emerge as a serious candidate. Question:  if both Hunt and Giles run, where is the Zaret constituency?

-       Christiana Mercer Rigby, former Senior Relationship Manager of the United Way of Central Maryland and current member of the Kings Contrivance Village Board.  An intriguing possibility from Southern Columbia who describes herself as a “passionate community advocate,” Rigby possesses decent credentials.  Question: similar to Zaret’s challenge, how can she position herself favorably in a race against better known names?

-   Jonathan Branch, Registered Nurse and Democratic Central Committee Alternate.  A Democratic activist, his name has popped up as someone interested in making a run. That said, the HoCo Echo Chamber at the present moment, seems more focused on the other possibilities. 

- Greg Jennings, Assistant State's Attorney at the Baltimore City State's Attorney Office, long-time political operative and current member of the Democratic Central Committee.  Serious credentials.  He reads more "Annapolis" to me but has the potential to be a top-tier candidate for County Council.  

I expect four of the six to run for the 3rd in 2018.   

Of course other candidates may jump in, for either seat.

So what next?  I will most likely look ahead to the 2018 Board of Education race.  Also, the tip line remains open…for any and all offices.  Hear something, say something.

Stay tuned, as more will follow.


  1. What's with all the mathematicians in district 2? By the way, there's an e^(i*pi)+1 chance I'll run for local office in 2018.

  2. Frank, e^(i*pi)+1 or [e^(i*pi)]+1 ?
    ������ Just kidding, love your comment!

  3. Don't forget Jennings in 3

  4. Smiley emojis showed up as question marks, sorry! Lol

  5. Come on, Opel, you know exponentiation has higher precedence than addition :-)

  6. Funny you should mention Olga, I was going to include her in my future BoE write-up. That said, when I last spoke with her, she wasn't exactly radiating a sense that she wanted to be a candidate any time soon. Is she seriously considering 2?

  7. I dont think Opel's undecided anymore.