- CE 2014: Although arguably still a far way off, I have been fascinated to see the slow clicks and snaps of the Howard County political machinery start to move in anticipation of the 2014 election. The primary alone will be exhaustive, during which the electorate will be selecting the presumptive candidate for both Governor and County Executive. Unlike others, I'm not counting State Senator Allan Kittleman out completely. Admittedly, there is a registration gap of about 9,000 voters between Democrats and Republicans in this County, with about 37,000 "weak partisans" (happy Frank?) aka Unaffiliated voters. But the Kittleman name is a political brand in this County and one that could find significant traction, particularly after a drag-out primary. All the same, I think we have a surplus of well-qualified, intelligent, and well-intentioned candidates for the position and look forward to seeing them contrast policy notes.
- CC 2014: If County Executive candidates are the worst kept secret in Howard County, the County Council races seem mostly quiet. Obviously, if Courtney Watson goes for County Executive as presumed, the only real race to watch will be D1. Jon Weinstein has been the only candidate to show real interest in this position, but, as noted previously, he has his feet in both courts as he also considers the newly formed Delegate District 9A. There have also been some rumors about Jen Terrasa considering a run in Delegate District 13 (left open by Guy Guzzone), which would invite what I would imagine to be another heated democratic primary in D3. Other than that, and barring an early retirement, Calvin Ball, Mark Kay Sigaty, and Greg Fox are expected to be with us for another term, which is a good thing.
- Gov 2014: This race is shaping up to be the most exciting of them all. I'm (still) young, but I can't recall there ever being a time when so many qualified candidates were settling into a primary for Governor in this State. A lot of that may be premised on the fact that Anthony Brown never took the reigns as front-runner and has been running a lack-luster shadow campaign for the past year or so, coming in last in the fund-raising battle last year. I know, I know. He's "focusing on the job at hand". But here's the thing, we have a lot of Dem busy-bodies in Howard County and they've already started lining up for the primary. I've met a lot of Franchot supporters. I've met an abundance of Ulman supporters. I've met a few Gansler supporters. I have yet to meet an Anthony Brown supporter. Obviously, my anecdotal experience is of little value, but without a big showing in finance reports next January, our Lt. Gov. may become an also-ran.
- GOP 2014: While Howard County gets obsessed with the Dem side of the ticket, the most interesting races may be on the right. If Senator Kittleman were to run for Executive, he would be opening up the most prominent "safe red" position in Howard County. I think Gail Bates is the presumptive receiver of this spot, but the Republican party can be unpredictable when it comes to succession. Gail is undoubtedly the most popular elected official amongst the Republicans, and a primary against her would be harmful for the morale of the party, but I wouldn't count anything out, particularly when Carroll County may want its own candidate in the fray. If that were to occur, any open Delegate seat in 9B is sure to be a battle, with a number of GOP operatives seeing this as their time to shine. No one expect Greg Fox to go for a spot in the General Assembly, mostly due to the fact that he has a very demanding job that would conflict with the demands of a Delegate. That means we are looking at new faces. Make sure to keep your eyes on this one.
"We love God and Chick-Fil-A" -- a slew of supporters all over the Country participated in Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day yesterday, including Howard County. I drive past the restaurant along Route 100 and it seemed like there was a line of cars trying to get to the drive-thru. Browsing comments on Facebook, I saw one person mention that one local franchisee was donating the proceeds from his/her restaurant to a gay pride parade. That made me laugh. "But I paid for free speech against the gays! Give me my money back!" (That's not to say if you ate a Chick-Fil-A you are against marriage equality. It's a joke.)
Mayor SRB's efforts to consolidate community centers took another step "forward" with the closing of four smaller centers throughout the City. From the article: "The mayor wants to create a smaller system of high-quality centers, featuring updated facilities and expanded programs. She has pledged to spend nearly $20 million on building or improving centers." Right. Respectfully, closing centers with the promise of $20 million on "building or improving" sounds like a political fast-one. The real question for these kids will be "where am I going tomorrow?"
Former Raven Jamal Lewis was arrested for "child abandonment" in Georgia yesterday. He will be inducted into the Raven's Ring of Honor this season.
A man who legally owns two dozen firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, calls himself the Joker, and threatened a work-place massacre has been charged with a misdemeanor count of "misusing the telephone". This is a tricky issue. Most people are none too excited about returning this man's armory, but he has not committed a crime and there is no police power to prevent "creepy". After all, he owned these weapons "legally".
Featured Blog Post of the Day: TJ takes Councilman Greg Fox to task for his Charter Amendment to limit contingency funds to 3%, which was defeated by the Council last week. Nice to see TJ get back to politics. We can use more voices on that subject around here.
That's all for today. Have a great Thursday doing what you love!