Friday, May 31, 2013

INTERESTING: Does Del. Jolene Ivey Want to Join Atty General Doug Gansler's Gubernatorial Ticket? // PLUS: More Tea Leaves

The big political news of the week has been that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has chosen Howard County Executive Ken Ulman to serve as his running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial battle. Politicos are now chattering over the developing dynamics of the race, and commentary is coming in from some interesting figures. Below Maryland Juice dissects recent commentary on the state of the gubernatorial race from Delegate Jolene Ivey (Democrat, Prince George's). But first, Maryland Juice had a chance to chat with The Daily Record's Alexander Pyles about the implications of the Brown-Ulman ticket (excerpt below):
DAILY RECORD:  David Moon, a Democratic political consultant and blogger for, said Gansler and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown appear to be taking opposite paths in their quest to succeed Gov. Martin O’Malley.... Brown became the first hopeful to officially announce his candidacy this month, taking cues from lessons apparently learned during O’Malley’s first campaign for governor prior to the 2006 election.

Gansler’s strategy has been different, Moon said, because of a belief in his camp that a campaign could lose steam or peak too early.... That strategy could backfire, Moon said, as Brown and new running mate Ken Ulman are being talked about as frontrunners....

JUICE #1: TEA LEAVES IN DELEGATE JOLENE IVEY'S COMMENTS ABOUT MARYLAND GOVERNOR'S RACE  //  DOES SHE WANT TO JOIN TEAM GANSLER? - Maryland Juice was very, very intrigued by Delegate Jolene Ivey's recent appearance on Bruce DePuyt's morning news show on News Channel 8. The point of interest is that I had recently written about possible running mates for Attorney General Doug Gansler, and some of my sources mentioned Del. Ivey (see Juice #4). But I had no clue whether she would want to leave Annapolis to gamble on a statewide run. Judging by her comments below, I would say Delegate Jolene Ivey definitely seems interested in teaming up with Gansler:

MARYLAND JUICE ANALYSIS: In the video above, Del. Ivey appears to be positioning herself to run with Doug Gansler. She offers lukewarm praise for Ken Ulman ("he's nice"), dismisses Mizeur's candidacy ("can't see her winning"), questions Ruppersberger's vigor ("does he have the energy?") -- and to top it all off, Ivey suggests that Gansler would do best to choose someone from Prince George's County, who (....wait for it....) is a woman and/or an African American candidate. Could she be describing .... herself?  Interesting tea leaves. But given the glacial pace of Doug Gansler's campaign roll-out, we could be waiting a lot longer to see how this story unfolds! Oy vey.

JUICE #2: GAZETTE COLUMNIST RACIALIZES ANTHONY BROWN'S CAMPAIGN, MOCO SENATORS GARAGIOLA & KING RESPOND? // MORE TEA LEAVES - Rightwing, old-school Gazette columnist Blair Lee recently rattled cages (again), by putting the gubernatorial campaign of Anthony Brown through a purely racial lens (excerpt below):
BLAIR LEE VIA GAZETTE: So, as the contenders come to the starting gate, let’s handicap the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls while mindful that next year’s primary is largely about race and place — about racial and regional rivalries and balance....

Lt. Gov. Brown kicked off his bid for the top spot last week. He has a solid gold resume (Harvard twice over, Iraq war vet, state legislature, etc.) and he’s African-American (ok, Jamaican-American) in a state where blacks can be up to 35 percent of the primary vote.... Apparently Brown’s strategy is to build a leftist coalition of blacks, guilty white liberals and remnants of the O’Malley machine echoing both O’Malley and Obama....

Who will pay for all this? The rich (which in Maryland means incomes over $100,000). And who will benefit? All those lower-income minorities whose votes Brown covets? And just in case minority voters miss the racial pitch, Brown’s campaign colors are, you guessed it, brown. Brown says his campaign is “more about results than race,” but it’s really more about race than results....
More interesting than Lee's latest screed is that the response to his piece came from State Senators Rob Garagiola & Nancy King of Montgomery County (excerpt below):
SENATORS GARAGIOLA & KING:  We were very disturbed by Blair Lee’s recent column [“2014 is about race and place,” May 17] about Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown launching his campaign for governor. It’s clear that rather than attending, reading or watching the speech of Brown’s announcement, Mr. Lee presented his own distorted world view as fact and resorted to what is essentially race baiting....

Throughout his speech, Anthony Brown made it clear that he is running for governor because he will fight for families that are still struggling to recover from the Great Recession, he will fight for better opportunities for our children, and he will fight to help businesses succeed in every corner of Maryland so people who want good jobs can find them. These are areas where families of all races and incomes live, and Brown made it quite clear that he wants to represent all of them should he be elected governor.
Does this mean the pair of State Senators who drafted this letter will soon be joining the Brown-Ulman team?

JUICE #3: BETHESDA MAGAZINE PROFILES DEL. HEATHER MIZEUR // MORE TROUBLE FOR GANSLER? - While running mate gossip has been the big news with the Brown and Gansler campaigns, Del. Heather Mizeur has been diligently traveling the state on her quest to become Governor. Bethesda Magazine's Lou Peck recently interviewed her for her thoughts on the race (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE:  The odometer on Heather Mizeur’s Chevy Volt has racked up 15,000 miles since she purchased it last October. “Every evening, I’m in some different corner of the state, and Saturdays and Sundays are usually filled with three to five events in any one day,” the two-term Takoma Park delegate related in an interview this week....

While saying a “formal decision” won’t come until this summer, Mizeur is holding house parties across the state to introduce herself to voters, while working actively to raise funds for a gubernatorial run...

Mizeur touted the precedent-setting aspects of her candidacy as she expressed confidence in her ability to narrow this gap. “The energy that is behind a candidacy like mine and the interest in breaking a few historic barriers – I would be Maryland’s first woman governor and the nation’s first openly gay one – opens up an energized donor network that is interested in helping to move this campaign forward,” she said....

Gansler’s life could be further complicated if Mizeur ends up as the only credible contender in the contest besides himself and Brown....

JUICE #4: HOCO DEMOCRATS RALLYING AROUND KEN ULMAN - While the rival campaigns start ramping up, the Brown-Ulman campaign is moving quickly on setting up their team. Judging by a report in today's Maryland Reporter, it appears that high profile Howard County Democrats are rallying behind the Brown-Ulman ticket (excerpt below):
MARYLAND REPORTER: After they declared “Ken Ulman Day” in Howard County Thursday, the four Democrats on the five-member County Council unofficially declared Monday “Ken Ulman and a Secret Partner Day.” This was a joking reference to the not-so-secret announcement planned on Monday by Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown that Howard County Executive Ulman would join his ticket as candidate for lieutenant governor in the 2014 gubernatorial race.
Howard County Democrats returning home from the annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Clarksville Thursday night even found a robo-call from Brown on their answering machines inviting them to the announcement on Columbia’s lakefront Monday morning. There would be coffee and doughnuts along with a “a big campaign announcement” of his running mate, promised Brown, who formally declared his run for governor at a rally three weeks ago....

While Ulman himself still wasn’t disclosing his plans, McPherson referred to him as “lieutenant governor” and suggested he put an award he received on his desk on the second floor of the State House. “We’ve been hearing a lot about Ken Ulman,” [HoCo Democratic Party Chair Michael McPherson] said. “We look forward to hearing great thing about Ken for years to come....”


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

RUMOR: Rep. Elijah Cummings to Make "Announcement" About Brown-Ulman // PLUS: Fmr B'more Exec Jim Smith In the Bag?

Earlier today, Maryland Juice reported on breaking news that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman have decided to team up in the 2014 race for Governor. We now have a few additional factors to consider in the race, starting with news of a mysterious announcement from Rep. Elijah Cummings:
FACTOR #1: REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS TO ENDORSE BROWN-ULMAN TICKET? - Two sources indicate that Congressman Elijah Cummings (who represents the Baltimore region), will likely be making a major "announcement" regarding the Brown-Ulman ticket. I haven't been able to pin down the date, but we can surely guess at what Cummings' mysterious commentary might be.

One interesting thing to note about Cummings' likely endorsement of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown is that it means Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger may not be able to count on the support of his Congressional colleagues should he decide to run for Governor. Ouch!

The second factor noted by politicos lies in the tea-leaves some perceive in former Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith's nomination to be the next Transportation Secretary for Maryland. The Baltimore Sun reported on the news today (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Gov. Martin O'Malley will turn to a longtime political ally, former Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith, to lead the Maryland Department of Transportation as it begins a new era of stepped-up construction, administration officials confirmed Tuesday....
Smith considered running for comptroller or state Senate in 2010 before deciding to sit out the election. Since Smith left office, his political future has been the subject of much speculation. He had more than $550,000 in his still-active campaign account as of January — money he could use toward seeking state or local office....

FACTOR #2: CAN FORMER BALTIMORE COUNTY EXEC JIM SMITH HELP ULMAN-BROWN CARRY HIS REGION? - A Maryland Juice reader speculated today that Jim Smith being named the new Transportation Secretary would help put Baltimore County into the Brown-Ulman column in the 2014 gubernatorial primary. Bernard John Hayden left the following comment on our blog today:
MARYLAND JUICE READER: With Jim Smith now clearly on the O'Malley-Brown-Ulman team, Baltimore County shifts to Brown in both the primary and general, unless Dutch runs for gov. And, of course, Brown-Ulman carry Prince George's, Howard, and The City by big margins.
One question Maryland Juice has is what will happen to the $550,000 in Jim Smith's bank account. Can and will these funds now be deployed for the benefit of the Brown-Ulman ticket? Can we expect to see Jim Smith stumping for the ticket in Baltimore County?  Hmm. Either way, it looks like the Lieutenant Governor is trying to lock down regional bases of support.


LEAKED EMAIL: Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown & HoCo Exec Ken Ulman Officially Forming a Ticket for Maryland Governor's Race

Maryland Juice has just caught wind of an article in the Daily Record announcing that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has chosen a running-mate in his quest to become the next Free State Governor. No surprise here -- it's Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (excerpt below):
DAILY RECORD: Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will join Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown‘s ticket in next year’s race for governor. The official announcement will come June 3 in Columbia, according to an email circulated by Annapolis lobbyists.

David Nitkin, director of communications for Howard County, confirmed Wednesday morning an announcement would be made June 3 in Columbia about the 2014 election but would not confirm the substance of the announcement....

LEAKED EMAIL: Maryland Juice obtained a copy of the leaked email mentioned above:
From:      Robin Shaivitz
Sent:       Wednesday, May 29, 2013 9:08 AM
Subject:  The Rumor is True!

Yes, friends, the worst kept rumor of the political season is true. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will be joining Lt. Governor Anthony Brown's ticket for the upcoming Governor's race!  The announcement will take place on the morning of June 3 at the Columbia lakefront. Ken told me to invite all of you who can make it around 9:00 am.

Ken and his entire family have been our friends in Columbia since I was a young Mom hanging out on soccer fields!  Now as County Executive, Ken has done an outstanding job to ensure that my home county is the best place to live and work in Maryland. He plans to bring those skills to the Brown ticket.

Anthony has had 7 years as the #2 slot in the Administration. He no doubt knows what it is like in this job. I fully expect that they are the victors. Ken will have much to say in some specific areas of interest, such as business and economic development.

By no means is this race a foregone conclusion. Attorney General Doug Gansler has the money to make a terrific primary race. Plus, the candidates on the Republican side include Blaine Young, the very colorful Frederick County Commissioner, and David Craig, the popular and very experienced Harford County Executive.

There is lots to look forward to in the upcoming race!


Robin F. Shaivitz
Chief Operating Officer
Government Relations Division

Attorneys at Law
54 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401

QUICK ANALYSIS: What does this mean for the race going forward? First, Anthony Brown will now be able to double his campaign appearances by dispatching Ulman to various parts of the state. Second, we can expect that Ken Ulman, like many political running mates, may be tasked with handling some of the Brown-Ulman ticket's dirty work (think responding to negative messages and being more free to serve in a "pit bull" role as examples). Most importantly, a Maryland Juice reader has reminded me that the Brown-Ulman alliance means that Attorney General Doug Gansler's cash advantage has been largely minimized by the combined war chest of the Lt. Governor and HoCo Executive. Lastly, this puts pressure on the other candidates to firm up their campaign timelines.

For example, this morning Barry Rascovar wrote in the Carroll County Times an article with the following headline: "Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger Must Decide Whether to Run." Indeed, the 2014 gubernatorial campaign is moving into full swing, and the time to sh*t or get off the pot is now (excerpt below):
CARROLL COUNTY TIMES: Dutch Ruppersberger has a major decision to make. Will the former Baltimore County Executive, who represents much of this area in Congress, run for governor? It won’t be an easy call for the five-term Democrat....

Ruppersberger has broad name recognition in the Baltimore region. That’s something Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and Montgomery County Del. Heather Mizeur lack. He’s the most moderate of the bunch. Everyone else is left or far-left of center....
Ruppersberger’s decision may boil down to whether he is willing to give up his seat in Congress. Right now, he’s an important figure because he’s the top House Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. But he’s term-limited and must give up his prestigious seat on the panel next year. Then he becomes an unimportant minority member of Congress....


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

JUICE: A Telling Poll in Maryland Governor's Race, Donna Edwards Endorses Brown, Gansler's Runningmate & More!

PLUS: Videos of Del. Heather Mizeur & Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger on the Campaign Trail

Maryland's 2014 gubernatorial contest is already moving into full swing, and we have a few new tidbits to provide readers on the current state of the race. The Baltimore Sun recently published an editorial highlighting the early start of the statewide campaign season and noting some of the reasons for the rapid escalation of the governor's race:
BALTIMORE SUN: Maryland's primary may be 13 months away, but ready or not, the 2014 election campaign cycle is about to hit full stride. If it seems early, it is. With the primary now in June instead of September, new legislative districts, and an existing law that prohibits state incumbents from raising campaign funds during the 90-day legislative session that starts in January.... But the time to start paying attention has arrived.
Below Maryland Juice highlights a few noteworthy developments in the coming epic battle, including discussion of a recent poll, video footage of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown's kickoff rally, Doug Gansler's campaign announcement, and much, much more!

JUICE #1: MARYLAND JUICE ANALYZES 2014 GOVERNOR'S RACE ON NEWS CHANNEL 8 - Last week Maryland Juice appeared on News Channel 8 with host Bruce DePuyt to discuss the 2014 gubernatorial battle. At this early stage, I noted that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown appears to be occupying the frontrunner position, but the race is still developing. Attorney General Doug Gansler, for example, appears to be feeling his way through some hot button issues facing Maryland, and I noted he was tacking to the center-right on some issues. Host Bruce DePuyt, however, countered Gansler was an early supporter of same-sex marriage. Make no mistake, issues will matter in 2014, and it will be very interesting to see how the candidates differentiate themselves on the key policy debates of our time:

JUICE #2: GANSLER SAYS HE MIGHT RUN FOR RE-ELECTION TO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, BUT BUMPERSTICKERS SAY OTHERWISE - Recent news reports about the Maryland Governor's race have shown Attorney General Doug Gansler to be playing coy about his campaign. In comments that appeared in a (lamely) pay-walled article in The Daily Record, Gansler stated he might still run for re-election to the Attorney General's office (excerpt below):
DAILY RECORD:  Gansler, however, declined to declare outright that he will run for governor, saying that announcement — if it comes — will likely not be made before fall. Nor did he foreclose the possibility of seeking a third term as attorney general.

“I haven’t ruled out anything,” Gansler said during a recent interview with Daily Record editors and reporters.... “What’s not to like about being attorney general?” he added, noting the job includes fighting crime and polluters and protecting consumers. “I love what I do....”
But Attorney General Doug Gansler has already announced for Governor in 2014, at least according to the bumperstickers that he was handing out at the recent Charles County Truman-Kennedy dinner:

JUICE #3: ANONYMOUS READER PROVIDES DETAILS OF A RECENT GUBERNATORIAL POLL // GANSLER IS TESTING GAS TAX & DEATH PENALTY - An anonymous Maryland Juice reader provided us with details about a recent telephone poll they participated in regarding the 2014 Governor's race:
ANONYMOUS READER: The first part of the poll asked how I felt about certain public figures, such as Martin O Malley, President Obama, Doug Gansler, and Anthony Brown. I had to respond either they've done an EXCELLENT job, GOOD, FAIR or POOR. Heather Mizeur was an option as well, but to be fair I don't know much about her, so she was 'skipped.' FYI, the guy conducting the poll couldn't even say her last name correctly! He even hinted that she "wasn't doing much one knows her!"

The next portion regarded Gansler. The conductor gave me different facts about him, and if each fact would help me vote for him. Such as helping Facebook and social media track down predators; being one of the first MD politicians to endorse President Obama during his first presidential bid; being for gay marriage before it was "popular", etc. He then moved on to Anthony Brown, with facts for him.

Another portion asked if I thought Maryland was on the right track (yes or no). Another question regarded if I thought the state was putting social issues before tax/economic issues, or there was a 'good mix.'

One of the last questions regarded the gas tax and the death penalty repeal. It was a simple "for" or "oppose" for each measure. I said I was"neutral" for the gas tax because I can see both pros AND cons to the tax. He was sort of shocked, he stated "You're the first neutral I've received; most people are vehemently against it!" Another question he asked that I just remembered: Should audits be done on all state and city agencies? I'm paraphrasing for the most part, but I hope this helps!

GANSLER'S POLL FORESHADOWS CAMPAIGN MESSAGING ON THE GAS TAX, DEATH PENALTY AND MORE - There are many interesting details and foreshadowing in what was obviously Doug Gansler's poll. First, they're gauging the impact of having Heather Mizeur in the race, which previous gubernatorial polls have not all done. Second, we can now see a few resume items that Gansler will seek to highlight, such as early support for Obama and marriage equality.

But on the issues, Gansler is making some interesting moves. It is worth noting that his calls for an audit of state agencies may foreshadow criticism of the O'Malley administration, and by implication Anthony Brown. It also appears Gansler may think Maryland has worked on too many social issues in recent years. Perhaps most interesting is that Gansler is testing his message on the gas tax and death penalty.

Only days later, Gansler clearly used the results of the poll above in media interviews. In the previously discussed Daily Record article, Gansler also made the following telling comments about the gas tax and death penalty:
DAILY RECORD: Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, sounding for all the world like a gubernatorial candidate, voiced deep concern about what he called the state’s failure to keep and attract large companies, and said he opposes the coming gas-tax increase proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley.... He called the coming 4-cents-per-gallon increase in the gasoline excise tax “extremely unfortunate,” saying it will be “hitting working families and poor people.”

...the usually loquacious attorney general and supporter of capital punishment was oddly silent this past General Assembly session as legislators debated legislation to abolish Maryland’s death penalty....  “The death penalty is an issue I don’t feel very passionate about,” Gansler said in explaining his silence. “I happen to agree philosophically with it....”
Not surprisingly, WYPR's take on all of this was captured in the headline to a recent blog post titled, "Gansler Biding His Time, Reshaping Image" (excerpt below):
WYPR: Nothing wrong with ambition, mind you. But you can’t be constantly looking to the next job. People might think you’re a careerist and driven by self more than by a desire to serve people. So, as Attorney General Gansler, you more or less lay low. You try to re-brand yourself. It’s not surprising to find Gansler demurring even more sincerely than most ambitious candidates when asked about running. He loves the job he has, he says. He might consider another term as AG. So many compelling cases. Such importance for the state he loves.

JUICE #4: ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG GANSLER SEEKS A RUNNINGMATE - Maryland Juice has been hearing buzz about potential runningmates for Attorney General Doug Gansler, and right now most discussion hovers around a few names:
  • Delegate Jolene Ivey (Prince George's County)
  • Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk (Prince George's County)
  • Delegate Kieffer Mitchell (Baltimore)
  • Wes Moore, Baltimore author, TV host & veteran
All four names above are African American Democrats (one is also a Latina), and two of four are women. Not terribly surprising, given the demographics of Maryland's Democratic electorate.

JUICE #5: VIDEO INTERVIEW OF CONGRESSMAN DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER SHOWS CONTINUED INTEREST IN 2014 GOVERNOR'S RACE - Center Maryland recently published a video interview with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger. In the remarks below, he continues to express interest in the 2014 Governor's race and explains why he thinks he'd make a good executive:


JUICE #6: DEL. HEATHER MIZEUR STUMPS FOR GRASSROOTS SUPPORT - While Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was announcing his campaign kickoff last week, Maryland Juice caught Del. Heather Mizeur stumping for Governor at a couple Montgomery County events. First we caught her at the Montgomery County African American Democratic Club's kickoff event, and then we saw her speak at a town hall meeting with the MoCo-based group Progressive Neighbors. Below we provide photos and video footage from both events (Note: apologies in advance for the inconsistent video and photo quality, but Juice has to make do with the equipment he's got):


Del. Heather Mizeur & Del. Aisha Braveboy @ MoCo African American Democratic Club
Del. Heather Mizeur & MoCo Councilmember George Leventhal @ MoCo African American Democratic Club

JUICE #7: LT. GOV. ANTHONY BROWN LAUNCHES GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN WITH ENDORSEMENT FROM REP. DONNA EDWARDS & MULTIPLE RALLIES - Last week Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown launched his 2014 gubernatorial campaign with multiple campaign rallies, and the endorsements of Gov. Martin O'Malley and Congresswoman Donna Edwards.

It is worth noting that numerous union members appeared to be out in force at several of Brown's rallies, including members of the Laborers, AFSCME and the teachers union. The teachers had even arrived with the "Thank You Lt. Governor Brown" signs at right. In any case, Maryland Juice attended Brown's kickoff rally in Prince George's County and captured the following video footage. My quick two second read on his Largo, Maryland kickoff was that I saw a lot of enthusiastic African American Democrats in attendance, and I imagine this foreshadows potential interest in electing Maryland's first black Governor:




The Washington Post also reported that Gov. Martin O'Malley endorsed Brown to replace him last weekend (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) on Saturday touted Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) as his preferred successor, calling the newly announced gubernatorial candidate an “outstandingly effective” leader. The event in Baltimore, at which the two shared the stage, was billed as O’Malley’s “official endorsement” of Brown’s 2014 candidacy for governor.... “I’m telling you, friends, I’ve seen this guy work,” O’Malley said of Brown, whom he called “one of the most effective and substantive lieutenant governors in the United States of America....”
Meanwhile, Bethesda Magazine published a worthwhile piece discussing Anthony Brown's Silver Spring rally and speculating on his campaign's Montgomery County strategy:
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: The sun came out in Silver Spring late last Saturday morning... It was Brown’s second appearance in Montgomery County in less than 24 hours, and robo-calls from the Brown campaign had sought to gin up attendance at the Silver Spring rally. Meanwhile, County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who represents the district in which Brown was appearing, sent out an email declaring of the two-term lieutenant governor, “I believe in his vision for a better Maryland for all Marylanders, and I hope that you will take this opportunity to speak with Anthony about Maryland’s future....”

“We are going to get that Purple Line, aren’t we?” [Brown] shouted, to cheers. It could be viewed as a dig at Gansler, who recently has been critical of the gas tax increase pushed through the General Assembly by Brown’s current boss, Gov. Martin O’Malley. But that increase has been welcomed by Montgomery County officials as integral to building the Purple Line and other transit projects....
Most of the handful of elected officials in attendance – state Delegate Tom Hucker, County Councilmember George Leventhal, and Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams – indicated they were there as a courtesy, and that their presence did not signal an endorsement. (The one local elected official present who said he is endorsing Brown, Kensington Mayor Peter Fosselman, is also a deputy secretary of state in the O’Malley/Brown administration.).... 


Friday, May 17, 2013

BREAKING: Congressman John Delaney Endorses Doug Duncan for Montgomery County Executive

A Maryland Juice source just received the following email blast from former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan announcing the endorsement of Congressman John Delaney:
Duncan for County Executive

Dear Anonymous Juicer,

We wanted you to hear it first. Congressman John Delaney has endorsed me for Montgomery County Executive!  "I am proud to endorse Doug Duncan for Montgomery County Executive. Montgomery County has been consistently blessed with tremendous leadership over the last two decades and Ike Leggett has served the county well. Doug Duncan’s record speaks for itself and his values and expertise are well-known around our county. I know Doug has the long term vision to make our county a great place to work, live, start a business, raise a family, and he has a plan to make Montgomery work," said Delaney.

Congressman Delaney will be joining me on Sunday at the Duncan Family Spring Picnic at Smokey Glen Farm to personally announce his support. Thank you to those who have responded letting me know whether you can make it or not. However, there are still a lot of you I have not heard from and it would be great to reconnect. More details can be found here.

If you cannot make it, please be sure to sign up for our email alerts to stay informed about campaign news and events through my website.

I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you on Sunday for great food, family and fun.


May 17, 2013

Rockville, MD – Congressman John Delaney announced his endorsement for Douglas M. Duncan for Montgomery County Executive today. “I am proud to endorse Doug Duncan for Montgomery County Executive.” Said Congressman Delaney, “Montgomery County has been consistently blessed with tremendous leadership over the last two decades and Ike Leggett has served the county well.” Adding, “Doug Duncan’s record speaks for itself and his values and expertise are well-known around our county. I know Doug has the long term vision to make our county a great place to work, live, start a business, raise a family, and he has a plan to make Montgomery work.”

“I’m honored to have Congressman Delaney’s support,” said Duncan. “His progressive leadership is a true asset and I look forward to working together to make sure Montgomery County is working for families, students, and everyone who calls our county home.”

Congressman John Delaney was elected in 2012 to serve Maryland’s Sixth District, which
encompasses almost half of Montgomery County and Western Maryland. Delaney is the only former CEO of a publicly traded company serving in the House of Representatives, having done that twice, and brings to Washington an extensive experience as a successful entrepreneur and as a private sector and non-profit leader. Delaney stunned the political establishment when he ran for Congress, beating the handpicked Democratic favorite and 20 year Republican incumbent by over 20 points.

Duncan has given his life to public service, something that was instilled in him as a child. Born and raised in Montgomery County, and raising his own family here, Doug remains committed to serving fellow residents of Rockville and the County since first being elected to Rockville City Council.

The election for Montgomery County Executive will be held in 2014. The Democratic Primary Election is June 24 and the General is November 4, 2014.

Douglas M. Duncan can be found online at:


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

UPDATE: Labor Unions Picketed the Montgomery County Democratic Party's Spring Ball // What Happened & What's Next

Over the last couple weeks, Maryland Juice has been writing about the heated conflict that emerged between some area labor unions and Democrats in Montgomery County. Labor leaders announced a picket of the MoCo Democratic Party's annual fundraiser last Saturday, causing elected officials from around Maryland to weigh in with varying opinions on the matter. So what happened at the protest?

Below Maryland Juice provides a range of photos, videos, and newspaper commentary describing and reacting to the conflict. My early read is that the final chapter in this story is not yet written, and politicos can expect to see this conflict continuing into the future. Details below:

JUICE #1: CONGRESSMAN CHRIS VAN HOLLEN SPEAKS AT MCDCC BALL //  WHO ELSE ATTENDED? - Maryland Juice has heard various accounts of notable attendees at last Saturday's MCDCC Spring Ball. Several guests have confirmed attendance from the following noteworthy area politicos:

Rep. Chris Van Hollen Speaks at MCDCC Ball
  • Congressman Chris Van Hollen*
  • County Executive Ike Leggett
  • County Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, George Leventhal, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice & Hans Riemer*
  • State Senators Rich Madaleno and Jamie Raskin*
  • Delegates Kathleen Dumais, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Anne Kaiser and Aruna Miller
  • Former MoCo teachers union political director Jon Gerson*

* NOTES: Congressman Van Hollen was at the ball to honor former Congressman Mike Barnes. State Senator Jamie Raskin dropped by late to the event to drop off a citation honoring a gun control advocate. Likewise, Gutierrez, Navarro and Rice were all presenting awards to Democratic activists.

Councilmember Marc Elrich posted a lengthy comment on Facebook explaining why he decided not to attend the MCDCC Ball. Councilmember Valerie Ervin was out of town for her son's graduation. Councilmember Nancy Floreen was out of town visiting family.

Many people noted the presence of MCEA's former political director Jon Gerson, but he was attending in his role as an MCDCC precinct official. This shows readers just one of the many complex personal ties involved in the labor dispute. Another example is that MCGEO union chief Gino Renne, who helped lead the protest, was previously scheduled to present an MCDCC award to a Democratic activist and personal friend. Obviously that didn't end up happening.

JUICE #2: MOCO DEMS LOSE UP TO $15,000  //  FOP SAYS THINGS WOULDN'T BE WORSE WITH REPUBLICANS ON THE COUNTY COUNCIL -The Gazette's Doug Tallman provided some basic facts about the financial consequences of the labor protest, and his article included some commentary from both Democratic officials and union leaders (excerpt below):
GAZETTE: About 200 union members protested outside a Montgomery County Democratic Party fundraiser Saturday, asserting the party had strayed from progressive positions. The action skimmed off about 15 percent of its normal attendance....

“They’re losing a lot of friends in the Democratic Party who would want to be there for them for the next one and now they’re not so sure,” said Councilman Hans Riemer (D-At large) of Takoma Park.

“I think it’s creating a schism within the Democratic Party against labor,” said Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Dist. 1) of Bethesda....
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Gabe Albornoz said about 340 people attended the fundraiser.... he said the event raised about $45,000; he had expected $10,000 to $15,000 more....

We wouldn’t be doing any worse with a couple of Republicans on the council, the way we’ve been treated the last four years. How could we do any worse?” former FOP president Marc Zifcak said....

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said he believed some of the unions’ grievances were legitimate....

JUICE #3: AFL-CIO PRESIDENT SAYS "NO EXCUSE ... 2014 STARTS TODAY" - The day after the labor protest at the MCDCC Spring Ball, the AFL-CIO Metro Council sent the following message to their email list subscribers (excerpt below):
AFL-CIO: Do Real Democrats Cross Picket Lines? Heavy rain couldn’t stop the festive mood Saturday evening as labor activists from all over the DC metro area picketed the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) Spring Ball. Started in response to the MCDCC’s position last year in favor of the Question B referendum (MCDCC Ball Boycott/Picket Focus is Solidarity UC 5/10/2013) the protest brought together activists from UFCW 1994 MCGEO and Local 400, IAFF 1664, ATU 689, OPEIU 2, Progressive Maryland, and many more. Picketers held umbrellas over home-made signs, ringing bells and blowing whistles as they cheerfully chanted “Do Real Democrats Cross Picket Lines? NO!” The Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) were at the center of the picket, proudly wearing their MCYD t-shirts as they boycotted the Ball.

“The future of the democratic movement is out here, not in there,” said Metro Council President Jos Williams, as activists gathered at the corner. Williams introduced MCYD President Dave Kunes, who passed up receiving the “Democrat of the Year” award at the Ball to boycott the event with many other MCYD members. “This isn’t about a single issue,” said Kunes to a cheering crowd. “You all out here – you are my party!” Music blasted from a band made up of AFM 161-710 members as Williams saluted the politicians who joined the picket. At press time, two politicians – County Executive candidate Phil Andrews and County Councilmember Hans Riemer – were seen having crossed the picket. “There’s no excuse for politicians going in there” said Williams. “We are sending a message. It will not be business as usual… 2014 starts today.

JUICE #4: SOMERSET MAYOR JEFFREY SLAVIN BOYCOTTS MOCO YOUNG DEMS EVENTS UNTIL NEW LEADERSHIP IN PLACE - In the days after the labor protest of Montgomery County Democrats, the MoCo Young Dems (who backed the picket line) sent out an email announcement for their next membership meeting. Their invitation was met with a stinging rebuke from Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, who was one of the Democratic activists receiving an award at the MCDCC Ball:
JEFFREY SLAVIN: Dear President Kunes,

Please remove me from your list.

I am shocked and appalled that you joined the protest on Saturday night.  You are supposed to be Democrats first!  And your reasons for supporting the so-called  "strike" make no sense.  There are lots of young people in office in Montgomery County and no one is stopping any of you from running.  The Central Committee does not make endorsements anyway and your group looked foolish.

I will not plan to attend any of your events until you have new leadership in place.

Thanks for considering my views. I have been speaking to many Democrats in the past few days and I can tell you that many others feel the same way.

Jeffrey Slavin
Mayor/Town of Somerset
2013 MCDCC Morgan-Jerney Community Service Awardee

cc: Maryland Juice

Interestingly, Center Maryland columnist Josh Kurtz had a different take on Young Dems President Dave Kunes (excerpt below):
JOSH KURTZ (VIA CENTER MARYLAND): When I’ve been asked over the past several days what I think of the decision by Montgomery County public employee unions to picket the county Democratic Party’s annual spring ball the other night, all I can say is, “A plague on all their houses.”

In a way you have to admire the unions’ chutzpah, and their success in disrupting the spring ball, which nevertheless was about three-quarters full....

On the other hand, the self-righteous indignation of some of the Democratic stalwarts who decided to make a show of crossing the picket line was also a little stomach turning – along with their warnings that the sky was falling due to the labor-county party schism....

Perhaps the most unfortunate consequence of the brouhaha was that Dave Kunes did not get his moment in the sun. Kunes, the president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, was supposed to be presented with the “Democrat of the Year” award at the dinner. But he did not hesitate to pull the Young Dems’ sponsorship of the spring ball when the unions cranked up their protest....

Kunes, who works as an aide to Del. Tom Hucker (D) during legislative sessions in Annapolis, doesn’t rule out a political career someday. But in his mind, there are more important battles to fight....

JUICE #5: SEN. MANNO, DEL. HUCKER & DEL. ROBINSON GET SHOUT-OUTS AT PICKET LINE // PLUS: PHOTOS & VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THE PROTEST - A participant in the labor picket at the MCDCC Ball reports that State Senators Roger Manno and Delegates Tom Hucker & Shane Robinson were recognized as supporters during the labor protest. Below we also provide photos and video footage from the event that we found on social networking sites. MoCo Young Dem Travis Ballie posted the following comment and video footage of the picket on Facebook: "I am SO PROUD of Montgomery County Young Democrats President Dave Kunes for his principled stand today WITH Labor in MoCo. I've never been prouder to call myself a Young Democrat!"

Progressive Maryland (a picket supporter) also posted a photo album from the event. We sample a couple images below:

WHAT NEXT? - This conflict is creating a very interesting backdrop to the looming 2014 Democratic Primary cycle. Maryland Juice will be reporting on how this all plays out very soon, and we are already hearing numerous theories about what might happen next. My personal hope going forward is that all parties involved will prioritize advancing justice as they plot their next moves. Hopefully we are all Democrats and labor supporters because we believe these entities are institutions that can help us advance social and economic justice. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, folks!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner Releases Letter He Sent to MoCo Democratic Party Chair Gabe Albernoz

Maryland Juice received the following letter from Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner to Gabe Albernoz, Chair of the MCDCC. The topic is obviously tonight's planned labor protest of the Spring Ball:

I am writing to reaffirm my commitment to tonight’s Democratic Spring Ball and to our Democratic Party  that has worked tirelessly for the core values that unite us. I look forward to attending tonight’s event as I always do and to honoring the women and men who are receiving well-earned awards this evening.  The Party  - its individual members, its precint chairs and the Central Committee – has steadfastly supported the County Council by voting to support Question B, and I would never consider for a moment not supporting the Party in return.
Unfortunately, there are some who apparently think there is no room for disagreement within our party and out of blind ideology or fear of retribution, are choosing to boycott tonight’s event and punish our party in the process.  I find this to be troubling to say the least.  One of the things that makes Montgomery County so special is that we are one of the most well-educated communities in the country.  We are a thinking, discerning community and wherever that is true, you will find thoughtful disagreement even amongst the most ideologically aligned individuals.  And that is something we should embrace, not shun or punish.
The moment we become the party of  blind obedience – to any one constituency or stakeholder group – is the day we lose our integrity as a party.  As in most things in life, good, thoughtful people can disagree.  But at the end of the day, our precinct officials overwhelmingly supported the legislative actions of a unanimous Council and the electorate weighed in similarly.  Let us move on.
Our country and our community have many challenges ahead, and it is important that we move forward with respectful, open dialogue, acknowledging that we will not always agree on every issue.  Let us come together tonight to celebrate our party and our common values and put divisiveness aside.

Roger Berliner
Montgomery County Council
District 1


Montgomery County Exec Ike Leggett, MCDCC & Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin Respond to Tonight's Labor Protest of MoCo Dems

Below Maryland Juice prints a press release we received a couple days ago from the MCDCC regarding tonight's protest of their Spring Ball. They note that County Executive Ike Leggett is supporting the Democratic Party. We also received comment from Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, who is being honored at tonight's MCDCC Ball:

MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE: County Executive and Local Leaders Support the Democratic Ball, Fundraiser Will Continue as Planned This Saturday, May 11

Kensington, MD – The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) is disappointed by the decision of some in Labor Unions to boycott and picket the 2013 Spring Ball. The MCDCC has been and remain strong believers and supporters of organized labor. The Party stands behind the working men and women in this County.

The MCDCC has made numerous attempts to reach out to Labor leaders to meet formally to discuss this matter. To date, Labor has not reciprocated a call for a meeting. “There is deep concern that this divisive action will make it more difficult to fight for issues important to both organized Labor and the Democratic Party.” Party Chair, Gabe Albornoz stated, “Historical data acknowledges that the strongest outcomes are produced when we work together.”

Many local elected officials continue to stand with the party, including: Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, members of the Montgomery County Council, members of the Democratic State Delegation, Federal Elected Officials, as well as numerous Democratic Clubs and Caucus have all pledged their support for the 2013 Spring Ball.

The Party and its strength are built from the grassroots volunteers and precinct organization. Last fall, the precinct organization overwhelmingly voted 109 to 14 in favor of Question B. The Committee affirmed this position, and made it the official stance of the Party during the November 2012 election.

The Central Committee, as the governing body of the local Democratic Party, works to educate voters, staff the polls on Election Day and get Democrats elected, including mailing a sample ballot to every registered Democrat in the County. The Spring Ball serves at the Party’s main fundraising event, without which the work of the Party may be dramatically impacted.

JEFFREY SLAVIN: Dear Maryland Juice,

As a lifelong Democrat and active philanthropist, I have spent my entire career working for families in need in our great County.  Many of these families are part of proud union households throughout Montgomery. Many of these are immigrants, and many of these are black, brown and yellow.

Tonight, as a result of my involvement,  I will be receiving the prestigious Morgan-Jerney Community Service Award.  I will, with great sorrow, cross the so-called "picket line"  (which I do not believe was voted on by the rank of file and is not a strike or work stoppage), so that I can accept this award and dedicate it to the thousands of workers here who have been left behind by Republican Tea Party inspired policies like the sequester.

It seems that me that the protest activity that is being proposed  is more of a power play by some elite leaders and that we will be losing sight of our common Democratic and Union goals to provide a better quality of life for the working families in Montgomery County.  That makes me sad.  United We Stand, Divided We Fall.


GUEST POST: Councilmember Phil Andrews on Union Protest of MoCo Democrats // PLUS: George Leventhal & Others Weigh In

Tonight is the Montgomery County Democratic Party's annual spring fundraiser, the source of a planned picket line from various labor unions in the area. Below Maryland Juice provides a final round of commentary on the controversy from various MoCo and Maryland politicos:

JUICE #1: GUEST POST FROM COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS - Statement by Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews on the boycott of the Democratic Spring Ball led by the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO
PHIL ANDREWS: It's no surprise that the Fraternal Order of Police is unhappy with the County Council (unanimous vote in favor), the County Executive, the County's Democratic Party (precinct officials voted 109-14 in favor), and the voters of Montgomery County (58 percent voted in favor, a margin of more than 60,000 votes). All supported eliminating the requirement in law that the Chief of Montgomery County Police bargain the effects of the exercise of all management decisions with the Fraternal Order of Police. No other County union has "effects bargaining" in law and the County Council was wise not to extend effects bargaining beyond its initial mistake in the 1980s of including it in the police collective bargaining law. As the chair of the Council's Public Safety Committee since 2000, my experience is that the effects bargaining provision prevented our County's police department from implementing policies in a timely manner to better protect both the public and police officers. The FOP disagrees and that is their right.

What is notable about the statements of those Democratic elected officials who say they will boycott the Montgomery County Democratic Spring Ball on May 11, as called for by the Washington Metropolitan AFL-CIO, is that none of the elected officials even attempt to defend the effects bargaining requirement that the County Council and the voters eliminated. Their statements essentially say, "If organized labor is against it, the Democratic Party should not be for it." That's what this boycott is about. Veto power. The public will be disturbed that so many elected public officials who are Democrats appear willing to cede the Democratic Party's independence to organized labor.

It's easy to understand why unions want a veto over public policy positions of the Democratic Party, but for elected officials, central committee members, and precinct officials to do so would be an abdication of responsibility to the people we represent -- the public. Public officials should support the positions of unions when they further the public interest (such as living wages which I led the battle for on the County Council, health care coverage, and workplace safety), and oppose the positions of unions when they conflict with the public interest (such as effects bargaining). If adhering to this approach costs the Democratic Party money from unions, that's the price of doing the right thing for the people we represent.

JUICE #2: COUNCILMEMBER GEORGE LEVENTHAL'S EMAIL BLAST ON THE MCDCC PROTEST - George Leventhal sent the following message to his email subscribers regarding the planned labor protest:
GEORGE LEVENTHAL: Dear Friends, I will be attending the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s (MCDCC) Spring Ball on Saturday, May 11. Several unions and some elected officials have announced they will boycott this event. I was MCDCC chairman from 1996 to 2001, and I know how hard the staff and precinct volunteers work to ensure a strong Democratic presence in Montgomery County. I have attended this event every year for 26 years, and I will not be swayed by the protest demonstration.

While I will attend the ball because my relationship with the county Democratic Party is a key part of my history, we should not dismiss out of the hand the protestors’ concerns as petulant. It is the job of leaders to listen to all sides, and try to bring people together.

Union members are understandably frustrated by an unprecedented fusillade of decisions that weakened their economic position and affected their family incomes. While some of these decisions were necessary in the midst of a deep recession, others may have appeared like political opportunism, egged on by The Washington Post editorial page. In 2010 and 2011, County Executive Leggett and the County Council restructured arbitration rules, revised disability benefits, abrogated contracts, increased health insurance and retirement premiums, repealed effects bargaining and some councilmembers even tried to prevent firefighters from raising money for muscular dystrophy research. In 2012, the council hired an attorney at public expense to purge the effects bargaining referendum from the ballot and County Executive Leggett used public funds to campaign against the referendum. To the unions, this barrage of anti-union legislation appeared like an overreach. While some political blowback should be expected, the unions are overreaching in response. They have the right to mount a protest but no right to decide for others who may attend the event.

Presidential historian Richard Neustadt relays an important story about the 1952 transition between Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower: "He'll sit here," Truman remarked (tapping his desk for emphasis), "and he'll say, 'Do this! Do that!' And nothing will happen. Poor Ike-it won't be a bit like the Army. He'll find it very frustrating."

An executive can issue orders, but can only achieve his or her goals by inspiring his or her workforce and earning its loyalty, and our county has an excellent workforce. These are the bus drivers, social workers, police officers and firefighters upon whose service we rely, and whose wages have stagnated. Over the last three years, these people gave up on average about $30,000 through pay freezes, larger contributions to health and retirement plans, and furloughs. The County also eliminated more than 10 percent of the workforce. These sacrifices saved $469 million over those four years, and they continue to save the County $154 million annually.

That’s why I thought it was reasonable to vote for new contracts for county employees that do not amount to double-digit increases in a single year, as has been misconstrued. After four years without raises, the contracts call for a 3.25% cost-of-living adjustment, step increases of 3.5% for eligible employees, and small retroactive step increases for police officers and career fire fighters. The total cost in 2014 is $32 million, still a $122 million savings to the county in that year alone.

The county makes budget decisions year by year. If economic circumstances worsen, when we examine the 2015 budget, we can make adjustments. I don’t feel that a social worker making $53,000 is undeserving of a raise amounting to $75 a week, or that a police officer doesn’t earn his or her $3,600 increase. These are the people who dutifully serve the residents of this county.

Labor and its allies are not only protesting anti-union decisions. Union leaders have told me that the protest is also against an unwarranted tax giveaway approved by the state legislature for Lockheed Martin and special expedited rezoning to allow a Walmart in Aspen Hill. Young Democrats are protesting longtime officeholders who treat their seats as an entitlement. They are unhappy about a sense that the party that they know and love is drifting from its principles. The elected officials who make these decisions do so in good conscience, pursuing their own vision of the public interest. But these same elected officials are accountable to the people who campaigned and voted for them, and the political blowback is not surprising.

With time, cooler heads will prevail. In the meantime, let’s all respect each other’s point of view, not draw lines in the sand over whether or not to attend a social event on Saturday night.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance to you in any way.


JUICE #3: MARYLAND YOUNG DEMOCRATS PRESIDENT JOINS LABOR PROTEST -  The MoCo & Prince George's Young Dems previously announced support of the labor protest tonight, and now the statewide Young Democrats are weighing in with the following press release:
YOUNG DEMOCRATS OF MARYLAND: YDM President to join MoCo Picket Line Tomorrow - One of my most vivid memories as a kid was waking up early some mornings to join my dad on his bus route. He was a school bus driver and on the days childcare fell through, I was with him on the bus…big Joe and Little Joe. Those days helped developed my passion for education even before I was in school myself. Those mornings also helped introduce me to the labor movement. It was because of his union contract that my parents knew if babysitting didn’t work out I could ride the bus with dad. It was because of his contract my family had good health benefits. It was because of his contract that college was always within reach for me if I did my part. Labor has been a key foundation of my family and my life personally. It fundamentally is why I am a Democrat.

This weekend I hoped to join my friends and fellow young democrats to honor the President of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, Dave Kunes for all his hard work at the MCCDCC Spring Ball. He has done an outstanding job not only with MCYD but the entire Montgomery County Young Democrats. However news that the AFL-CIO has established a picket line of the event makes that impossible. The first lesson I learned from labor is to never cross a picket line, and it is a lesson I’ll honor this weekend.

The Democratic Party is a big tent but one of the strongest pillars holding that tent up is the labor movement and an unyielding belief in the right to collectively bargain. So instead of dressing up in a nice suit and going to a dinner party, I’ll have my marching shoes on standing with the men and women who help keep our community moving forward.

-Rev. Joseph Lynn Kitchen Jr.
President - Young Democrats of Maryland

JUICE #4: MORE ELECTED DEMOCRATS JOIN LABOR PROTEST OF MCDCC -  The latest AFL-CIO Metro Council newsletter highlights additional elected Democrats who are joining the labor protest of the MCDCC:
AFL-CIO: Local 1994's Renne reports that the local has lined up live music, food and refreshments for the 5:30p picket, which continues to generate support, with UFCW Local 400 on board, as well as Maryland delegates Kumar Barve, Bonnie Cullison, Sheila Hixson, Shane Robinson, Luiz Simmons and Craig Zucker joining the boycott yesterday.

JUICE #5: DEMOCRATIC PRECINCT OFFICIAL COMMENTS ON MCDCC PROTEST -Emily Koechlin, a Democratic Precinct Official in Montgomery County has provided Maryland Juice with the following letter she sent to some of her friends who are leading the protest of the MCDCC Ball:
EMILY KOECHLIN: This situation has me very, very, distressed.

I have served as a precinct official with the Montgomery County Democrats for over ten years. I am one of the precinct officials who voted to recommend a YES vote on Question B in last November’s election. 109 out of 123 of us precinct officials present at the ballot initiatives meeting voted to endorse a YES on Question B.

I strongly support Labor.  I am very concerned that collective bargaining has been weakened in so many ways throughout the US. However, at the precinct meeting last fall where we precinct officials voted for our positions on ballot initiatives, no proponents of the Police Union position demonstrated that supporting Question B would weaken Organized Labor. I did not walk into that meeting planning to vote against Labor’s position. However, once I heard the arguments pro and con, I voted in support of Question B because I felt I could not do otherwise. Montgomery County Police Chief Manger, as well as other police officials who testified, presented us with very strong, reasonable, arguments in favor of their position. Officials speaking for Labor provided us with pretty much no reason at all to support theirs.

109 out of 123 of us voted to endorse a YES on Question B. 109 out of 123 is 89%. Do you really think that 89% of your Democratic Party grassroots activists are anti-labor and that 89% of us want to “gut collective bargaining?”

Perhaps there were some very good reasons to vote NO on Question B. I would have loved to have heard them.  However, no one testifying against the ballot initiative presented any such arguments. I would have been delighted to have voted to support Labor. However, I am not willing to show blind loyalty to anyone, even family or close friends.

I wish so much that those who are planning to carry anti-MCDCC signs and join the picket line Saturday night had been present to see what really happened at that meeting. In my opinion this action drives a wedge between organizations that all support the hardworking people in our County, our State and our Country. I want to keep unions strong (or make them strong again) in Maryland and in the US, but I think that this approach will not help in this effort, but rather turn people against unions.

Emily Koechlin
Takoma Park


Thursday, May 9, 2013

GUEST POST: Councilmember Craig Rice "Why I'm Going to the MCDCC Spring Ball" // PLUS: Former Pol Gail Ewing Comments

The planned labor protest of this Saturday's MCDCC Spring Ball is continuing to roil politics in Montgomery County. After all, the event is the party's biggest fundraiser of the year. Below Maryland Juice publishes a guest post from Democratic Councilmember Craig Rice and former Councilmember Gail Ewing.

JUICE #1: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER CRAIG RICE - "Why I am going to the MCDCC Spring Ball"
CRAIG RICE: What is missing in this debate about the MCDCC Spring Ball are the awardees.  I am presenting the Rosalie Reilly Lifetime Service Award to Tina Clarke.  You will not find a Democratic candidate in this County that Christine ”Tina” Clarke has not worked for.  Over the past years, she has volunteered her time, her car, her family, her friends and her work colleagues to help Democratic candidates.  Tina’s kitchen in Poolesville is known as “Election Central”.  She is famous for bringing candidates to Black churches and for generating volunteers and support from these congregations for the candidates.
In addition, there is not one non-profit, school or civil rights organization in the County that Tina has not helped.  Tina has provided enormous assistance to children in need and parents from challenged communities.  She has never asked for credit, she just works behind the scenes to help.

Her and her family are stalwarts in the historic Black community of Poolesville and in Montgomery County as a whole.  There is nothing that would stand in the way of me honoring her and her commitment to our community.

My wife and I will be there to honor her and the other community volunteer awardees that have fought hard for years to enact and foster Democratic principles in our County.

It is my hope that all parties will join me in honoring those that have given of themselves to help us all have a better way of life here in Montgomery County.

JUICE #2: FORMER MOCO COUNCILMEMBER GAIL EWING - A reader posted the following letter in the comments section of a post earlier today:
GAIL EWING: Dear Montgomery County Democratic Elected Officials,

I am ashamed of our elected officials who are participating the the boycott of the Spring Ball on Saturday. This Labor action is despicable -- intended to bring the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and Party to it's knees.

By supporting this boycott our elected officials are saying and affirming that our Democratic Party is just a front for Organized Labor. Whatever Labor wants -- Labor gets.... and when they don't, the Party will pay -- dearly -- and we, as elected officials, think that is okay and support Labor's actions by joining in the boycott.

Organized Labor is a major part of the Democratic Party but just one of many partners and the thousands of supporters who make up the heart and hard work of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

Our Central Committee is an elected body chosen by Montgomery County Democrats. They didn't do what Organized Labor wanted them to do on this one issue. After all the 30+ years of doing just about everything Organized Labor asked them to do.

Is Organized Labor afraid of the Central Committee's power?

How else to explain the insanity of turning their backs on the award winners who will receive recognition Saturday night for their hard work and dedication to the Democratic Party.

How else to explain failing to contribute to the Party's major fundraiser of the year.

How else to explain the ridicule, humiliation and embarrassment to the Party caused by this boycott -- for all to see.

Organized Labor has made their point and the only salvation in this situation is to call-off their boycott. If they do not, I, for one, will proudly cross their picket line on Saturday and support the Montgomery County Democratic Party that has been there for all of us and will continue to be there with us in spite of this action by Organized Labor.

I urge all our elected officials join me and be there Saturday night.

Gail Ewing
Former Montgomery County Councilmember


LEAKED EMAIL: Del. Kathleen Dumais Explains Impact of Labor Protest on MoCo Democrats // Shuttered Office & Layoffs?

UPDATE: Senator Roger Manno released the following response to Del. Dumais' letter on his website today:
ROGER MANNO: In reading the following letter regarding the Montgomery County Labor Boycott, I think this discussion needs some context.

Regardless of whether you support collective bargaining or Question B, the issue is: Whether a major financial contributor (organized labor) to the Party should reasonably expect that its financial resources would not be used by the Party, in a county-wide mailing to all members of the Party, in order to reduce the rights of that contributor's members. 

A Maryland Juice source leaked to us the following email from Delegate Kathleen Dumais (a MoCo Democrat) to some of her colleagues in the Assembly. Her message highlights the potential consequences of the labor protest of this weekend's Democratic Party ball:
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathleen M. Dumais <XXXXX>
Date: Thu, May 9, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Subject: MCDCC Spring Ball: Consequences of the Boycott/Picket by the FOP, AFL-CIO, and Others
To: "Kathleen M. Dumais" <XXXXX>

Dear Colleagues:

Clearly, we've all received communications from the AFL-CIO, Progressive Maryland and others asking that we "boycott/picket" the Spring Ball on Saturday because the MCDCC supported Question B on the Ballot in the general election last year.   This is very unfortunate and we will all feel the consequences in 2014 when we look to the MCDCC during the election for assistance, as will all of the new, fresh candidates yet to be identified - and who labor and some of the groups supporting the boycott/picket will be promoting.

First, as we all know and regardless of our individual positions on Question B, the Central Committee did not support Question B in a vacuum.  Just as each of the labor organizations have a process for vetting issues, so does the Montgomery County Democratic Party.  All of the Ballot Questions were submitted to a Ballot Questions Advisory Committee (BQAC) which reviewed each of the questions and prepared a report.  On September 19, 2012 the Precinct Organization met to adopt a position on each question.  Presentations by proponents and opponents were made on each question after a member of the BQAC discussed the committee's position.  The Precinct Organization then voted on each question and the vote on Question B was 109 in favor and 14 against.   Exactly what does labor believe the members of the Central Committee should have done after the vote?  Ignore the vote of the Precinct Organization and not put the result on the sample ballot just because it was against a "labor" issue?  Remember, the police union petitioned the question to the ballot.  Would labor leadership have the authority to ignore the vote of their membership if they disagreed with it?  I doubt it.

So, where are we now and what are the consequences?    Be prepared to contribute heavily to the MCDCC sample ballot for the November general election.  I just learned that as of today, MCDCC is in the hole financially for the event on Saturday night with the low number of reservations, cancellations and the fact that with low turnout the silent auction will probably be a complete bust.  Further, at this point, the MCDCC leaders believe that at a minimum they will have to cut staff and stop mailing newsletters.  They also may have to close the office in Kensington based on the amount they anticipate losing on the event.    Certainly doesn't bode well for what the MCDCC will be able to accomplish for Montgomery County democratic candidates 2014  -- incumbents and new candidates.   Just FYI -- in 2006, my contribution to the sample ballot was $750; in 2010 my contribution was $830.  I suggest we each budget much more than that for 2014.   Assuming the purpose of the boycott/picket was to cripple the Montgomery County Democratic Party - mission accomplished.

But, I certainly cannot say job well done because this is a clear case of cutting off one's nose to spite one's face.  Lord knows I do not always agree with the MCDCC but, during the general elections their assistance is invaluable and the sample ballot - particularly for first time candidates is, as they say "priceless."   However, by killing the primary fundraiser for the party, the sample ballot for 2014 probably won't be priceless.

Let's be honest, not one Montgomery County elected official, precinct official or member of the Democratic Central Committee is anti-labor.  Whatever our individual positions may have been on Question B, boycotting/picketing the MCDCC Spring Ball is certainly not an effective remedy given that the MCDCC has absolutely no authority to change the law!   Although this is obvious, MCDCC is NOT an employer or a party to any contract involved with the bargaining rights that are the subject of Question B and the event on Saturday night is simply a Democratic Party fundraiser.    Therefore, calling whatever the action is that takes place on Saturday a "picket" line is absolutely outrageous.   This is NOT a picket line.  This is NOT striking workers protesting a grievance against an employer for unsafe work conditions or poor wages or loss of collective bargaining rights!

Apparently labor and other organizations were and are unhappy that in a transparent, democratic process they lost the vote on Question B at the MCDCC, and ultimately in the general election.   I am the first one to acknowledge that the MCDCC Ballot Committee/Precinct Official meeting where the Ballot Question votes were taken was one of the most absurd, poorly run meetings I've ever witnessed - but there was an opportunity for both sides to make a presentation and then there was a VOTE.

I have never seen anything like this.   But, I am going to the Spring Ball.  The democratic volunteers that worked hard to put this event together and that work on all of our campaigns do not deserve to be treated this way - particularly when this boycott/picket is just plain wrong.  It was a ballot question!  It was voted on by the precinct organization like ALL of the other ballot questions.

When we are asked next Fall to kick in hefty sums for the sample ballot, we should all remember why the price tag is higher for the 2014 election.  If no one answers the phone at the Montgomery County Democratic Party office in the near future - we should also remember why.

Legislatively, I vote with labor and will continue to do so.  But I disagree with the proposed boycott/picket because I do not think it is properly directed.  There were and are ways to make the point that labor issues are important - and the best way to do that would be for labor to attend the Spring Ball and communicate with the Democratic Party volunteers and Precinct Officials!  Again, the consequences of this action may actually hurt candidates that I believe the organizations promoting the boycott/picket support - whether incumbents or new, fresh faces in 2014.  (And, yes, I understand - I may not be one of the ones supported!)

Just my thoughts.

Best regards.

P.S.  In case you haven't seen it - below is a copy of the Post Editorial on this topic from this morning.

Kathleen M. Dumais

UPDATE: Doug Gansler & Doug Duncan Join Labor Picket of MoCo Democrats // PLUS: Washington Post Slams Protesters

Below Maryland Juice provides a few more updates on the planned labor protest at this Saturday's Montgomery County Democratic spring ball:

JUICE #1: DOUG GANSLER, DOUG DUNCAN & MORE DEMOCRATS JOIN LABOR PROTEST - This morning the AFL-CIO Metro Council emailed a newsletter with an update on which politicians are participating in the labor protest of the MCDCC ball. Notable new participants are Attorney General Doug Gansler and former County Executive Doug Duncan:
AFL-CIO: Political Support Building for MCDCC Spring Ball Boycott/Picket: All four Democrats reportedly seeking the Maryland Governor's office in 2014 are now supporting the Metro Washington Council’s boycott/picket of Saturday’s MCDCC Spring Ball. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman have joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur on the growing list of political leaders boycotting the Ball. The boycott and picket have been organized to protest the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s support last year for the Question B referendum, which took away the police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions. “Real Democrats walk picket lines,” said Metro Council President Jos Williams. “We’re very heartened by the leadership shown by those who are supporting us and their messages of solidarity.” Also on board are FOP Lodge 35, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO, IAFF Local 1664, CWA Local 2108, the Montgomery County Young Democrats, Prince Georges County Young Democrats, Progressive Maryland, Fund Our Communities, retired Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, who join U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Maryland senators Brian Frosh, Rob Garagiola, Roger Manno, Karen Montgomery and Jamie Raskin, and Maryland delegates Charles Barkley, Aisha Braveboy, Bill Frick, Tom Hucker, Ben Kramer and Eric Luedtke. The picket starts at 5:30p on Saturday in Rockville.

JUICE 2: WASHINGTON POST RELEASES EDITORIAL SLAMMING LABOR PROTEST OF MOCO DEMOCRATIC BALL - The planned labor protest of the MCDCC spring ball has attracted the interest of the Washington Post editorial board. Last night they released the following editorial slamming the picket line (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Some Democrats say they will not cross a picket line “on principle.” But exactly what is the principle they’re upholding? An absurd rule, unmatched in other police departments, that was rejected by 60 percent of Montgomery voters? In this case, the “principle” at stake looks more like political cowardice....
It is particularly troubling in the case of Mr. Brown. If he can’t stand up to bullying by arrogant special interests — even to attend a fundraiser by his own party — what kind of spine can Marylanders expect from him as chief executive?

JUICE #3: PRINCE GEORGE'S YOUNG DEMOCRATS ISSUE STATEMENT ANNOUNCING SUPPORT OF LABOR PROTEST AT MCDCC BALL - The Prince George's Young Democrats released the following feisty statement indicating support for the labor protest of the MCDCC ball:

Prince George’s County and Montgomery County Young Democrats stand against Montgomery County Democrat Central Committee’s decision on 2012 Question B referendum

Prince George's County, MD (May 8, 2013)- Prince George’s County Young Democrats (PGCYD) collaborate with Montgomery County Young Democrats (MCYD) in an acclaimed support to picket and boycott the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s  (MCDCC) Spring Ball held on Saturday, May 11th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

Their decision to picket and boycott has come after MCDCC voted in favor of the 2012 Question B referendum, which discards police union’s right to bargain the effects of management decisions. Furthermore, this political uproar caused County residents to question MCDCC’s integrity. “MCDCC has gone against our Democratic principles and have shown they are no better than Republicans in Wisconsin when it comes to economic policy,” said Larry Stafford, President of PGCYD.

With statewide officials set to cancel their attendance and donors to seek refunds, the picket and boycott could bankrupt the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

For more information on this boycott, please contact Larry Stafford, President of PGCYD at 202-907-9597 or via e-mail at

About Prince George’s County Young Democrats

The Prince George's County Young Democrats is an organization devoted to inspiring the young residents of its county to increase political engagement through voter registration, education, and commitment in engaging young residents to take a stance on the local issues and to participate in political campaigns; local or national. For more information on PGCYD visit or contact Maurielle Stewart, Vice President of
Communications at

About Montgomery County Young Democrats

The Montgomery County Young Democrats is an organization committed to engaging and developing young residents into future leaders through political action to working for sustainable just communities. For more information on MCYD visit or contact Nik Sushka, Director of Communications at

About Question B Referendum

In 2012, Montgomery County Democrat Central Committee voted for Question B Referendum, which includes the distribution of significant police equipment and the revision of “Use of Force” policy. Many residents found the bill to actually hinder the Police Department's mission to protect officers, county residents and property. For More information on Question B Referendum, visit Support MOCO Police Officers.