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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Frederick Co. MD Democratic Buzz

George Wenschhof Bio

I started these weekly local posts only one month ago and they have rapidly become widely read among our local viewers. If you have some local Democratic news you feel we should be sharing with our readers, send me a email at and I will try to include in a future post on the site.

City of Frederick Election - The biggest news since last Tuesday was the announcement by Alderman Marcia Hall at last Thursday's City of Frederick Mayor and Board meeting she will not be running for office this year. Several weeks ago, on Katherine Heerbrandt's Saturday morning radio show "Frederick's Forum" on WFMD 930 AM radio, Marcia Hall indicated she would be running for Mayor.

Ms. Hall's reason for not running for any office was due to family issues. I had speculated she would be the front runner for the Democratic Party nomination, if former Mayor Jennifer Dougherty could stay out of the fray. The battle in the Democratic Party primary would have then been a battle of the surrogates of Ron Young - Jason Judd and Jennifer Dougherty - Marcia Hall. A somewhat remake of the 2005 Democratic primary.

Jack Lynch is the only Democratic candidate who has filed for Mayor. At this point, he is considered a long shot in securing the party nomination on September 7, 2009. However, as current Republican Mayor Jeff Holtzinger proved, nothing is a given until the voters have cast their ballots. In 2005, Holtzinger first beat heavily favored Joe Baldi in the Republican primary and then went on to upset Democrat Ron Young in the general election to become Mayor.

Before supporters of Jason Judd, who is likely to file his candidacy for Mayor within the next month, get too excited, Jennifer Dougherty still looms as a potential Democratic candidate for Mayor. I spoke with her briefly last Friday after Marcia's announcement and she indicated to me that this certainly does change things. In subsequent emails, she indicated she would be discussing entering the race as the issues facing the City of Frederick are big ones.

In the 2008 6th district election for Congress, Ms Doughery won 56.51% of the vote in Frederick County election district 2 which is the bulk of the voters in the City of Frederick. If she would announce her candidacy for Mayor, she would be the front runner in the Democratic primary.

Expect Dougherty to make an announcement sooner rather than later as incumbent Democratic aldermen Donna Kuzemchak and David "Kip' Koontz will be reevaluating their interest in Mayor with this announcement by Marcia Hall. If Dougherty files for Mayor, do not look for Kuzemchak or Koontz to run for Mayor. Otherwise, expect one or both to seriously consider a run for Mayor.

Meanwhile, Democrat Jason Judd continues to explore his candidacy for Mayor and is holding a fun-raiser on Thursday February 26 at Cafe Nola in downtown Frederick. The suggested donation is only $20 and the Band "Hard Swimming Fish" will be performing. The event begins at 7:00 PM and Cafe Nola is located on E. Patrick Street.

Last Sunday, Democratic mayoral candidate Jack Lynch met with the Frederick Young Democrats and discussed his positions on future growth for the City of Frederick.

On the Republican side for Mayor, incumbent Mayor Jeff Holtzinger filed his paperwork last Friday, making his reelection bid official. As I indicated last week, I had heard he would announce shortly after Randy McClement, the local deli owner, had filed for Mayor. There continues to be chatter among some Republicans that now that Holtzinger has filed for Mayor, Mr. McClement may withdraw and file for Alderman. Mr. McClement ran for aldermen in 2005 and lost and the thought is his run for Mayor is a bit of a reach.

Mr. McClement is a nice and thoughtful man. However, his chances of securing the Republican party nomination for Mayor is about the same as his supporter, Maryland delegate Rick Weldon (district 3-b which does not include the City of Frederick), getting on the ballot in the state of Maryland and winning a race as a Unaffiliated candidate. Yet, as I mentioned earlier, that is why we hold elections so voters and not pundits decide who is elected to office.

It is still early, as the filing deadline for candidates is not until July 7, 2009. So, there is still plenty of time for others to join the race.

The only Democratic alderman to file remains Kelly Russel, who so far is running a stealth campaign. Should neither enter the race for Mayor, Donna Kuzemchak and David "Kip" Koontz remain favorites to be reelected as aldermen.

Yesterday, I received a email from Ken Berlin who indicated he will not be running for alderman. He also indicated he is not bitter over his loss in the 2005 election and said he had met a lot of nice people during his campaign. However, he doesn't like how some things are being done by the current Mayor and Board.

Stay Tuned.


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