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Thursday, March 5, 2009

City of Frederick, MD Democratic Chatter

George Wenschhof Bio

I wrote back on January 20 the 2009 race for the Democratic party nomination for Mayor of the City of Frederick, Maryland could wind up being a battle of the surrogates of the Democratic candidates in 2005. In that election, former four term Mayor Ron Young took on incumbent one term mayor Jennifer Dougherty. Ron Young beat Jennifer Dougherty but then lost to current Republican Mayor Jeff Holtzinger.

The surrogates were shaping up to be Alderman Marcia Hall who appeared to have the support of Jennifer Dougherty and newcomer Jason Judd who has the support of Ron Young. Marcia Hall had said she was running for Mayor on Katherine's Heerbrandt's "Frederick's Forum" WFMD AM radio talk show on January 11.

I indicated in my column on January 20, this would be the case unless Jennifer Dougherty could not resist the temptation to enter the race herself. Whether Jennifer entered the race or not, it looked as if the Dougherty supporters would be facing the Young supporters again in the 2009 Democratic primary.

I also indicated I believed neither Alderman Donna Kuzemchak or David "Kip" Koontz would run for Mayor. Instead, they would run for reelection as Aldermen and be favored.

When Marcia Hall announced at the February 19 Mayor and Board meeting she would not be running for any elected position this year, the odds for Ms. Dougherty to enter the race increased as I indicated in my column dated February 24.

I also pointed out in that column that Jack Lynch who at that point was the only Democrat to file for Mayor was a long shot and he remains so today. Mr. Lynch has genuine concerns for future growth for the city but in order for him to mount a competitive campaign he will need to raise money and develop his organization.

The fund raiser planned by Jason Judd was also mentioned in that column and on February 26, Mr. Judd had well over 100 attend the event at Cafe Nola in downtown Frederick. In fact, he informed me they had 150 attend per their head count. Ron Young spoke and it is obvious Jason Judd has some organization supporting his race. He also surely added to his campaign coffers that evening. A good start for his campaign. However, before anyone gets too excited, I was one of several hundred who attended Ron Young's campaign kick-off for the 2005 campaign. After raising a reported $130,000, he lost to current Mayor Jeff Holtzinger.

Judd is following up on that event with an official announcement kick-off of his campaign on March 11 at the Delaplaine Center. You can read more details on that event here. We will be publishing his announcement column on why he is running for Mayor within the next several days. He informed me I would receive from him no later than today. We will do the same for all Democratic candidates as they announce their candidacy.

I met with Jennifer Dougherty yesterday morning and she indicated she was indeed considering running for Mayor and would make an announcement within the next one to two weeks. She has been keeping busy talking with her closest campaign advisers and voters in the community.

We spoke of a wide range of topics. The economic aspects of Mayor Holtzinger's pension plan and buy out along with his purchase of land for a City park were two areas of concern for Ms. Dougherty.

She also spoke of lessons learned from the 2005 city primary and felt she handled the 2008 6th district congressional primary in a much better manner, avoiding the fractured nature of the Democratic voters in the 2005 city election. In that primary, she beat favored Andrew Duck who was the Democratic nominee in 2006. She went on to lose to incumbent Republican Roscoe Bartlett by the same margin as Duck had lost by two years previously.

Let's see what she decides to do. If I were a betting man, I would say she will run for Mayor. After all, she realizes she won 56% of the vote in the city last year in the Congressional election. If she did enter the race, she would be the Democratic front runner.

Meanwhile, Aldermen Donna Kuzemchak and David "Kip" Koontz have to be mulling running for Mayor now that Marcia Hall has dropped out. However, do not look to see either do so if Dougherty announces for Mayor.

As to Jack Lynch, he indicated to me he had met with Frederick County Commissioner Kai Hagen several weeks ago. Hagen is supporting Jason Judd and suggested to Lynch that he withdraw and run for Alderman. Lynch indicated to me he did not see himself running for Alderman.

In regard to Democratic candidates for Aldermen, Kelly Russell continues to be the only one to file to date. She continues to be extremely quiet.

One new face to possibly look for is Burke Miller, the President of the Frederick County Young Democrats. He is a very impressive young man and would make an excellent Aldermen. He has applied for Law School and work along with his involvement with the Young Democrats may keep him from filing. He indicated to me he is interested and would have a better idea come May.

Stay Tuned...


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ha! Commissioner Hagen as the county kingmaker behind Judd, he’d like nothing more than a chance to sell his influence beyond Winchester Hall.

If that were his aim, he played his hand poorly...Had Hagen worked well with others he might’ve seen a coalition built to generate a slate of Aldermanic candidates, instead, he sadly saw only his own ambitions.

Many suspect he will have a difficult time getting re-elected in the county.