While many believe the winner who emerges will be the candidate who is stongest on the issues, often in local political contests, it is personal history that influences voters.
Slater told me "based on his record in Annapolis, Galen has been a progressive and a strong supporter of the Democratic party. I would also add that he has strong management skills."
Slater, who is supporting Clagett for mayor, said there is certainly a split among some Democrats and in a broad sense is centered on growth issues. He also felt there remains bad feelings among some Democratic voters from the last city election who perceived Galen did not support the Democratic candidate for mayor; Jason Judd, who lost in a close race to Republican mayor Randy McClement.
He added it was well known there have been long standing issues between Galen and former county commissioner Jan Gardner (D) and former state delegate Sue Hecht (D), both of whom are expected to support Karen Young for mayor.
Clagett detractors often bring up to me it is also no secret that Clagett Enterprises, owned by Galen, contributed to Republican Blaine Young’s Frederick County commissioner campaign in the 2010 election.
When I asked Clagett about the donation, in a recent interview, he said “… it was a business decision made by the corporate board and the discussion was centered on improving the business climate of Frederick County.”
Many believe Karen Young has been running for mayor ever since winning the most votes for alderman in the 2009 election.
Karen's supporters say she works harder than anyone they know, will thoroughly research an issue before taking a position, has a strong financial background and would be a good manager.
Her constant disagreements with Mayor McClement often led her to align her votes with Republican alderman Shelley Aloi, leaving her at times in disagreement with her fellow three Democrats on the board.
In addition, some voters believe Karen developed a reputation of being somewhat caustic when discussing her opinion on the issues.
The lone unaffiliated candidate; Jennifer Dougherty, another candidate who has received the “caustic” label from some voters, is receiving a free pass to the general election, which is both a positive and a negative.
The positive is she faces no opposition until after the primary election and can save her campaign funds for when it is needed prior to the general election.
The negative for Jennifer is this is the fifth straight election she has run for mayor and outside of the uniqueness of her running as an unaffiliated candidate; she has received little media attention due to her not participating in the primary election. (Editor correction: this marks her fourth straight city election. Dougherty ran in 1993, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013, but not in 1997.)
She will have her loyal supporters, but in order to win, even in a three way race, she will need to pull from Democratic and Republican voters.
So far, I have interviewed mayoral candidates; Republican Mayor Randy McClement, Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett (D) and alderman Karen Young (D). Next up is Jennifer Dougherty as I hope to interview all the city candidates prior to the election.
As one can readily see, there are many moving parts to this mayoral election, with past history and interpersonal relations likely to have as much impact on the outcome as a candidate’s position on current issues most important to voters.
Voters would be well served to read candidate interviews, visit their websites and attend forums prior to casting their vote.