Thursday, April 18, 2013

JUICE: Sen. Robey, Del. Deboy & Del. Malone Retiring (Zirkin Too?) // PLUS: Don Dwyer Raffles AK-47 & 2014 AG Forum

Below Maryland Juice presents a round-up of recent tidbits relating to the 2014 election cycle, including several retirement announcements that promise to re-align politics in the Howard County area:

JUICE #1: DEMOCRATIC STATE SENATOR JIM ROBEY NOT RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION - District 13 State Senator Jim Robey has announced he will not be running for re-election in 2014. The Baltimore Sun's Blair Ames reported on the development (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: The end of the 2014 General Assembly session in Annapolis will mark the end of 48 years in public service for Howard County Sen. Jim Robey. Robey, an Elkridge Democrat, confirmed Tuesday, April 16, that he will retire next year after eight years in the Maryland Senate.... "I just feel it's time to step aside and let someone else step in."

Robey, 72, has served in the Senate since 2007 representing District 13, which covers much of southern Howard County. He previously served two terms as Howard County Executive from 1998 to 2006.... Robey said he "thoroughly enjoyed" his time in Annapolis, but acknowledged the legislature has made some tough decisions over the past two years....
Maryland Juice first caught wind of Sen. Robey's retirement when a reader pointed us in the direction of the following remark on Howard County Executive Ken Ulman's Facebook page:
KEN ULMAN: Senator Jim Robey is a solid public servant who does what he thinks is right on behalf of others. That's the legacy he'll leave behind. Wishing him lots of luck on his retirement! Thank you for your service to Howard County!

JUICE #2: DELEGATES STEVE DEBOY & JIM MALONE ALSO RETIRING // 3 OPEN SEATS IN MARYLAND HOUSE DISTRICT 12 - State Senator Jim Robey's retirement is piled on top of multiple retirements from politicians representing parts of Howard County. Indeed, all three House of Delegates seats in Maryland's District 12 will be vacant in 2014. Last September, Delegate Liz Bobo announced she would not seek re-election, and this week Bryan Sears from Catonsville Patch reported that the other two District 12 Delegates Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone are also not running for re-election (excerpt below):
CATONSVILLE PATCH: Dels. Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone say this term in the House of Delegates will be their last. In separate interviews, the two Democrats who represent the Catonsville and Arbutus areas said they have decided not run for a fourth and fifth term respectively....

DeBoy, who is finishing his third term, said redistricting and political changes in the House of Delegates were two factors in his decision..... Some of the issues that concerned DeBoy was the recent passage of the repeal of the death penalty and the recent gun control law....
Indeed, Steve DeBoy attributes his retirement decision to his disagreement with death penalty repeal and Maryland's new gun regulations. But Deboy's colleague James Malone was a bit more muted in his response. Shortly after the Patch article came out, Del. Malone emailed the following public announcement to his supporters:
DEL. JAMES MALONE: First and foremost, I want to thank you--my family, my friends and my supporters for your kindness and friendship over almost two decades of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates.  I feel that I have proudly served with distinction the area where I grew up, live and continue to raise my children. 

After serious and careful consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014.  As a result, I am canceling my fundraiser scheduled on May 16th, 2013.  I look forward to spending more time with my daughter Danica and my son Little Jimmy.

Over my and my family's lifetime in politics, my Dad, Mom and I have met so many wonderful people.  Thank you for sharing with me your time, your stories, your support and your friendship.

I look forward to continuing to serve the rest of my term and promise to always be a positive influence in our community,

May God Bless each and every one of you!

James E. Malone, Jr.
Delegate, District 12A 
Baltimore & Howard counties 

REASONS FOR THE RETIREMENT: Maryland Juice contacted some Annapolis sources for reaction to the news, and the consensus seems to be that District 12 is likely to elect three progressive Democrats to the House of Delegates in 2014. But one source explained some of the backstory to the retirements:
ANONYMOUS SOURCE: I can't tell you how bizarre this is. DeBoy and Malone were redistricted into a more Democratic district to give them easy elections and keep them around. But they were so used to voting conservative that they literally couldn't become liberal enough for their new districts.

Redistricting was designed to help these two, but they couldn't have it both ways. They couldn't have both the easy elections they wanted, AND vote the conservative way they wanted to. They voted their old districts perfectly but couldn't seem to make the transition to their new district. Well, that likely means two more progressive Dems from the Columbia-area.
Indeed Delegates DeBoy and Malone are both Democrats but over time have built relatively conservative voting records for Maryland Democrats. Notably, their current district includes parts of Baltimore and Howard counties, but starting in the 2014 election cycle their two seats will be merged with the far more liberal District 12B to create a new three-member House of Delegates District 12. Most importantly, the new D12 is projected to be dominated by the liberal Democrats in Columbia, Maryland. A second anonymous source remarked to Maryland Juice: "I think they saw the writing on the wall."

CONSERVATIVE VOTING RECORDS ENDANGER INCUMBENT DEMOCRATS: The writing on the wall in this instance was that DeBoy and Malone's voting records were clearly out-of-step with the new District 12. Delegate Steve DeBoy voted against the Dream Act, marriage equality, death penalty repeal, the gas tax, gun regulations, and drivers licenses for undocumented residents. Similarly, Delegate James Malone voted against the Dream Act, death penalty repeal, gun regulations, and the gas tax.

Given these voting records, the potential challenges facing DeBoy and Malone were becoming more real every day. After all, when Del. Bobo announced her retirement last September, almost a dozen candidates' names emerged as possible challengers for the single open District 12 seat. And in recent weeks, one 2014 candidate even began making an issue out of the incumbents' votes on death penalty repeal. Even still, the two conservative Democrats did themselves no favor with their new voters by continuing to vote against progressive issues in the face of these challengers. The race is now on to see what becomes of the new District 12, but one thing is certain: we are likely to see a stampede of HoCo Democrats running for the three open seats in 2014!

JUICE #3: IS STATE SENATOR BOBBY ZIRKIN CONSIDERING RETIRING? - Take the following bit of juice with a grain or two of salt, but several Maryland Juice sources are indicating that State Senator Bobby Zirkin is also weighing a potential retirement in 2014. I'll believe it when I see it, but a few sources swear that the District 11 Democrat sounds like he's serious. To be sure, Zirkin is fairly young for someone rumored to be weighing retirement, but after two terms in the House and two terms in the Senate, he will have been in office for 16 years when his current term ends.

If Zirkin does retire, there could be some interesting dynamics in the race for his seat. District 11 is currently represented by three Democratic members in the House of Delegates: Jon Cardin, Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein. An open Senate seat could provide Delegate Cardin a fall-back plan for his 2014 Attorney General run -- but sources seem to think that is an unlikely path for Cardin. Maryland Juice will be keeping an eye on a possible Zirkin retirement!

JUICE #4: TEA PARTY DELEGATE DON DWYER RAFFLING AK-47 AND AR-15 RIFLES FOR 2014 FUNDRAISER - Tea Party Delegate Don Dwyer faces a difficult re-election in 2014. First, redistricting drew him into an inhospitable new district, and then he was involved in a drunk boating accident that left several children injured. At last check Dwyer was embarking on a quixotic bid to switch parties and try and retain his seat as a Democrat. But Dwyer's latest move might be his strangest stunt yet.

To fundraise for the 2014 cycle, Dwyer is now raffling the now notorious AK-47 and AR-15 rifles that were recently banned in Maryland. He is hosting the event before the state's new gun regulations take effect, so for $10 Dwyer's supporters have a chance to take him assault weapons. ABC News reported on the development (excerpt below):
ABC NEWS: Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer has announced a fundraising event in support of guns rights and his re-election campaign. As part of the event he is selling raffle tickets for an AR-15 and AK-47. Tickets for the assault riffles are available for $10 and can even be purchased online.
 Check out the following screencap from Don Dwyer's fundraising website:

JUICE #5: BALTIMORE'S BEST DEMOCRATIC CLUB HOSTS 2014 ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATES FORUM - Baltimore's "B.E.S.T. Democratic Club is hosting a forum with candidates for 2014 Attorney General on June 6, 2013. See the event announcement below:
BEST DEMOCRATIC CLUB: We hope to see everyone at the next general meeting which will be June 6, 2013 from 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. The location is 4709 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214. The theme for this meeting is “The Attorney General Round Table” where we have invited all those that are running for the Maryland Attorney General seat to have a discussion with Baltimore.

Invited Guest

Delegate Aisha Braveboy
Delegate Jon Cardin - Confirmed
Delegate Bill Frick - Confirmed
Senator Brian Frosh


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