Monday, June 17, 2013

JuiceBlender: Minorities Organize for Garagiola Vacancy, 5 HoCo Delegate Vacancies, Jon Cardin Slams Lawless Sheriffs

Below Maryland Juice highlights a few items of interest to politicos around the state, starting with more organizing around pending legislative vacancies:

JUICE #1: MOCO PEOPLE OF COLOR ORGANIZING AROUND SELECTION OF SEN. ROB GARAGIOLA'S REPLACEMENT - Maryland Juice previously noted that Del. Brian Feldman was seeking the District 15 State Senate vacancy caused by the surprise resignation of Sen. Rob Garagiola. Feldman has received early support for a promotion from some of his elected colleagues and a District 15 Democratic political club, but already some Democratic Party members are agitating for a different direction.

PEOPLE OF COLOR ORGANIZING IN DISTRICT 15: Several Maryland Juice sources indicate that this past weekend, a group of Democratic activists met in Potomac to try and organize a push to ask the MCDCC to take diversity seriously in selecting a replacement for State Senator Rob Garagiola. I received the following statement and photo from a coalition of leaders representing communities of color following a meeting in Potomac:
A group of leaders representing the African American, Asian, Muslim, and Latino communities met today to challenge the efforts of elected officials and democratic party activists to shut-out qualified members of ethnic groups, People of Color, Young Democrats and others from the opportunity to fill the State Senate seat that will be vacated by State Senator Rob Garagiola from District 15. 

The group also maintains that although Montgomery County is a majority people of color County, the County has never elected a Person of Color to the Maryland State Senate.  Based on recent demographic data, we maintain that the Montgomery County Senate Delegation is not representative of the residents of the County.  The retirement of Senator Garagiola is an opportunity for the voters and leaders of Montgomery County to remedy this inequity. 

The people of color leadership group called for an open and transparent process over the next three months and were critical of efforts to anoint a successor by elected officials, party activists and others.  They also cautioned that efforts to intimidate central committee members, elected officials, and potential candidates will not be tolerated.  We believe that qualified candidates who live in District 15 should have a fair chance of interviewing for the vacancy.

Redistricting has had a significant impact on people of color in District 15 and in other communities in Montgomery County.  Many qualified candidates of color were redistricted out of their districts by design.  Communities with growing numbers of ethnic democratic voters as well as voters of color had their voting power diluted,  and the results of those decisions have been the disenfranchisement of voters of color. These and other issues were discussed today and we believe that we have no other alternative but to begin the process of interviewing candidates that we will forward to the Central Committee to be vetted for the District 15 Senate vacancy.  We will also to reach out to young voters, labor unions and other grassroots activists throughout Montgomery County.

DEMOGRAPHIC & ELECTORAL BACKSTORY: Montgomery County is now a majority-minority jurisdiction and barring a national shift in politics, District 15 is highly unlikely to be won by a Republican in the near future. That means that (within reason) almost any Democrat with the juice to win the 2014 primary for this seat ought to be able to easily defend the office in a General Election. But the D15 State Senate vacancy will be filled by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, and the MCDCC has a less than encouraging record at filling vacant seats with women and people of color.

Maryland Juice does not think the reasons for this usually have to do with race or gender per se; rather the MCDCC (like many Party entities) favors political insiders and connected individuals, by virtue of existing social networks. Thus, yielding to the inertia of "who you already know" replicates the national glass ceiling effect in MoCo politics. The argument from folks opposed to looking at a range of candidates for the D15 seat is that in order to defeat Robin Ficker (or someone else) in 2014, we will need to anoint a strong insider to keep the D15 Senate seat blue. Hmm. But no matter your view on Del. Feldman or whether the MCDCC should diversify the Senate delegation, that is clearly a spurious argument. You would really have to believe that there are no qualified women or people of color in highly educated MoCo who could win a State Senate seat in a jurisdiction that Barack Obama carried easily in two consecutive elections!

In any case, this is a very interesting development in District 15. I guess we will soon know whether the rebel forces will be heard. Notably, Maryland Juice is hearing about similar dynamics brewing among Democrats in Howard County. More soon!

JUICE #2: DEL. GUZZONE TO RUN FOR SEN. ROBEY'S SEAT & DEL. BATES TO RUN FOR SEN. KITTLEMAN'S SEAT  // 5 OPEN HOCO DELEGATE SEATS! - The Baltimore Sun reported that Delegate Guz Guzzone would be seeking retiring State Senator Jim Robey's seat in 2014 (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Guy Guzzone, a Columbia Democrat, announced Thursday evening that he would run for State Sen. Jim Robey's seat in 2014. County Executive Ken Ulman and Councilmember Mary Kay Sigaty were among his supporters.
Amazingly, Howard County voters will be electing five new Delegates in 2014, as Del Guy Guzzone is just the latest in a string of Maryand House members vacating their seats next year. Several of Guzzone's Democratic HoCo colleagues previously announced retirement from the House, including Democratic Delegates Liz Bobo, Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone.

Meanwhile, in District 9A Republican Delegate Gail Bates is vacating the House to seek the State Senate vacancy caused by D9 Sen. Allan Kittleman's run for Howard County Executive. Bates told The Baltimore Sun she'd be announcing her campaign for State Senate after July 4th (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Del. Gail Bates, a West Friendship Republican, said Kittleman is the right choice for Howard County because of his experience on the council and in the Senate. "He sees both sides, and I think he can be very effective as county executive," she said. Bates said she will announce her candidacy for Kittleman's former Senate seat after July 4....

JUICE #3: DEL. JON CARDIN SLAMS MARYLAND SHERIFFS WHO REFUSE TO ENFORCE THE STATE'S NEW GUN CONTROL LAWS - Maryland Juice just caught an interesting op. ed. from Del. Jon Cardin in today's Baltimore Sun. Notably, Cardin is running for Attorney General in 2014, and his commentary below suggests that gun control will have strong support among voters in the upcoming Democratic Primary. In the column below, Cardin condemns Garrett County Sheriff Robert Corley for proclaiming he would not enforce Maryland's newly passed gun regulations (excerpt below):
JON CARDIN (VIA BALTIMORE SUN): While the vast majority of sheriffs nationwide serve honorably, enforcing the laws and putting their lives on the line for our safety, a small number of sheriffs have begun to claim that, in their opinion, validly enacted state and federal laws are unconstitutional. These sheriffs have ordered their subordinate law enforcement officers to ignore the law of the land and enforce only the provisions the sheriff personally feels are constitutional. By stating he will selectively enforce the Maryland Firearms Safety Act of 2013, [Garrett County Sheriff Robert] Corley ignores the oath he took to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the Maryland Constitution and the laws of the state of Maryland — while putting us all in danger of proliferation of violent crime....


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