Tuesday, November 20, 2012

HoCo 2014: Council Races

Another slow news day, another pull from the post-bank.  With the County Executive race set, there will be a number of Council districts that open up for newcomers to the HoCo political scene.  These are some of the more unpredictable races, but, again, I thought I would share what I know.

Council District 1

This seat seems the most likely to be open with Courtney Watson going for the number one spot.  Many projected this seat to be open even if Courtney did not run for County Executive due to the draw of a new Delegate seat that closely follows the borders of her district.

One of the early names thrown around has been Chris Merdon (R) former Council representative for D1.  Chris has recently joined the Howard County Republican Central Committee and would seem poised for a jump back into public life.  Then again, most folks who know Chris say they would be "surprised" if he went back into County politics.  Obviously, if he did run, Chris would be the favorite to win.  He knows the District (even with shifted borders) and has name recognition that may have lasted the eight years in hiatus (may have).

Another possible candidate is Jon Weinstein (D), who has clearly indicated his interest in running for office in 2014, leaving the targeted office TBD between Delegate District 9A and Council District 1.  As you may recall, Jon had unsuccessfully run for a Delegate Seat against Warren Miller and Gail Bates in 2010.

Wildcard: Bob Ballinger (R) lives in the new D1 and may be considering a go.  He is fresh off of a hard fought 2012 race for Board of Education and may still have the fire in his belly for a more geographically limited Council race.  Updated Note:  Bob commented below that he is not interested in running for Council D1.

Because it was suggested yesterday, I thought I would add that I have no plans to run for County Council in 2014. 

Council District 2

It is very unlikely that Calvin Ball will leave his seat, but even more curious is who would fill it should he ever choose to do so.  Budding politicos in the Eastern part of Columbia/Elkridge may have an open field to run over the next six years.

Council District 3

Jen Terrasa may be looking over a potential vacancy in Delegate District 13 should Guy Guzzone decide to run for County Executive.  If that would happen, I would not be surprised to see Dennis Schrader (R) try again for the Council seat.  Sure, he faced a nearly insurmountable registration deficit in 2010, but he also was confronted with a flood of last minute campaign cash into the district that would not be expected for an open seat.  The new District is not much more favorable for Republicans, but he would have a name recognition advantage out of the box.

On the D side, I would love to see someone from one of the Village Boards run.  Owen Brown and Kings Contrivance have some very impressive leaders on their Boards who would do fantastic at the County level.  I'm not going to call anyone out, but I hope this race is on their radar.

Council District 4

This race has already received some buzz with the retirement of Liz Bobo from Delegate District 12 setting off speculation about whether Mary Kay would look to fill her seat.  I think she will, which would leave another vacancy in Council District 4.

When you're talking about the heart of Columbia, you're looking at a lot of potential candidates.  I would expect Democratic Central Committee member Clarence Lam (D) to be looking at his options, as well as CA Board Representative Regina Clay (D).  But above all, I think Alan Klein (D) will be locked and loaded for another hard primary run.  With a crowded field of 3-4 primary candidates, I would not be surprised to see the party establishment split the vote and Alan bring home the win.  This would set up the very unlikely circumstance of a Republican actually having the shadow of a chance at winning the ultra-blue district.  Presuming Tom D'Asto (R) has retired his timeless campaign materials, we may see former blogger Trevor Greene (R) (D) in the race...and watching Rudy on repeat.

Updated Note: Trevor Greene comments below that he will not be running for County Council in 2014...and is a Democrat.

Council District 5

As I've mentioned before, I do not see Greg Fox going anywhere.  In fact, I don't even see anyone from the Blue Team challenging him this time around.

It is still very early, but with so many open seats, prospective candidates will need to get their names out there by early 2013...or November 20, 2012.  The most likely openings are in D1 and D4, with D3 depending on what Guy does in the Executive race.

That's all for today. Have a great Tuesday doing what you love!