Friday, July 6, 2018

District One: Pre-Re-Count Edition

Many questions surround Raj Kathuria, the Republican nominee in the 1st Howard County Council district.  It is important to bear these questions/concerns in mind as there is a good possibility (based on Liz Walsh’s current two-vote lead in the Democratic primary in the First) that the next Council will have five brand new members.

While his written testimonies are heavy on exclamation point usage (!), Kathuria’s answers to candidate questionnaires tend to be light on specifics.  In one candidate survey, administered by the conservatives behind Red Maryland, Mr. Kathuria was unable to cite a “favorable book about politics and policy.” A “no-response” here in what should be, for him, a friendly venue… it (pun sadly intended) speaks volumes.  He also once admitted to being “confused” upon receiving a questionnaire sent out by another organization on the topic of immigration (at least that was his excuse for not answering their questions). 

Kathuria’s campaign donations over the years have been interesting/evolving/wildly inconsistent/blatantly self-serving (pick your favorite descriptor).  Prior to 2017, he cut small checks to a few Democratic candidate committees (including Friends of Mary Kay Sigaty in 2013, Friends of Clarence Lam in 2016, and the Calvin Ball Team in 2016).  In light of making such contributions, it is slightly miraculous that he didn’t face a contested Republican primary in 2018.  Of course, as one might expect, his giving pattern changed over the past several months, with contributions showing up for Larry Hogan for Governor, Friends of Lisa Kim, the Committee to Elect John Liao, the Committee to Elect Allan Kittleman, and the Howard County Republican Central Committee.

Looking at donations to his County Council campaign, Kathuria received a $5,000 check on May 20, 2018 from someone who resides outside of the First and is employed by a firm in the real estate space, Greenwood Hospitality.  So how does this square with his views on development?
And how close is he, ideologically, with some other Republicans who cut him checks?  Here I am talking about David Bates (who donated $100 to Kathuria’s campaign on 9/16/2017) and David Yungmann (who $50 donated on 11/17/2017).

So many unknowns at a time when Howard County can ill- afford ambiguity.

Both Jon Weinstein and Liz Walsh possess cohesive worldviews and have professional pedigrees that demonstrate their readiness to be responsible and effective public servants.  Either is far better equipped to be a serious, steady, and independent voice for the First compared to Kathuria.  

In solidarity.

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