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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Donations Needed for

George Wenschhof

City Hall
I appreciate the financial contributions many of you have made and it is through your generous donations I have been able to continue to publish political news and commentary.

Donations of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more are appreciated and can be made easily by clicking on a donation button located in the right hand margin. Your pay pal account and most major credit cards are accepted.

It is through your donations and advertisement on the site that allows me to be able to continue bringing you timely news and thoughtful commentary on local as well as national issues.

Earlier this year, I broke the news that former Frederick Board of County Commissioners Jan Gardner had formed a candidate committee and was seriously moving forward toward filing for the new county executive position next year. 

She will be making her official announcement on Saturday November 9 at 1:00 PM in front of Winchester Hall in Frederick, Maryland.

I also was the first to report that local Democratic businessmen Gordon Cooley and Earl Robbins are considering a challenge to Jan Gardner in the primary election.

There remains a strong possibility of what promises to be a bitter contest between present Republican Frederick Board of County Commissioners Blaine Young and Democrat Jan Gardner.  But, much will transpire before that can take place.

When local activist Val Dale brought to my attention the proposed sale of the Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Care facilities, I penned commentary that was presented as testimony to the Maryland Board of Public Works, who voted to delay approval of the sale, pending the outcome of pending litigation.

During The City of Frederick election, I have interviewed candidates for mayor and alderman in the City of Frederick and published their positions on the issues for you to read.

After many interviews with the city candidates, I have given my endorsements prior to the general election to be held on Tuesday November 5.

During the city campaign, I was the first to report on loopholes being used by candidates to get around the financial limits an individual/entity could contribute. My disclosure of Galen Clagett’s campaign for mayor receiving $30,000 from multiple entities associated with two people, has led to a move by the city to amend the campaign contribution law.

Your donations are what enable me to bring timely political news and commentary to you.

Please consider making a donation today of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more. Your contributions are appreciated and can be made easily by clicking on a donation button located in the right hand margin and using a major credit card or your pay pal account.

Thank You!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Who Will Win Mayoral Race?

Randy McClement
Jennifer Dougherty
Karen Young

The question I am asked multiple times a day is; “Who is going to win the mayoral race?” and I have always answered “I don’t know it looks like it is going to be close”.

With under a week to go to The City of Frederick election on November 5, I will offer my thoughts, based on observations over the years of many city elections.  However, there is no survey, poll or data I am relying on to make my assumptions, so that is what they will be; a best guess on my part and nothing more.

In fact, as people would ask me, who I thought was going to win, I would always end up asking them and receiving their thoughts on whom the next mayor will be.

First of all, there is no loud deafening cry coming from city voters to “throw the bums out”, as was the case in the last election when a whole new board and mayor were elected. So, this becomes a plus for incumbent Republican mayor Randy McClement.

Staying with this thought, a little further, is the added dynamic that both incumbent Democratic alderman; Kelly Russell and Michael O’Connor have performed in an exceptional manner, are well liked, and will certainly be reelected.

Leading me to give Randy another boost as voters will be tempted to vote for both popular incumbent aldermen and then add another incumbent as their choice for mayor.

However, Randy’s biggest negative is he is just not the leader or strong mayor the voters of The City of Frederick deserve.

The recent announcement from city hall there had been a $2.3 million accounting error in the city budget may also impact on the reelection of McClement.

Karen Young was quick to state "Wasn't the accounting error really $5.1million? We thought that we would start FY 2014 with a $2.8mm surplus. Then a $2.3 deficit for the Rainy Day Fund was identified. The two total $5.1mm."

She added "I find it totally unacceptable that there was a $5.1 million accounting error with little or no explanation, no apologies and no accountability."

The entry into the race by Jennifer Dougherty has made this a first time ever three way contest for mayor of the city and this also is another plus for the incumbent as it will certainly split the vote.  The incumbent typically receives a plus in a multiple candidate race.

I have known Jennifer for twenty years and like most friends and family members, we have had our differences over the years.  But, she remains a friend and someone I respect very much.

She ran her first of what will be five races for mayor in 1993, losing to Gary Hughes, the first city African American mayoral candidate, in the Democratic primary.  Former four term Democratic mayor Ron Young backed Hughes in that election.  Republican Jim Grimes would win that election.

After losing in the Democratic primary for Frederick board of county commissioner, Jennifer won the 2001 election, becoming the first woman elected mayor. She defeated two term Republican mayor Jim Grimes, who had been damaged by the infamous “Black Book scandal”. The scandal involved a local Madam and some of Frederick’s notables, with one name released being Democratic alderman Blaine Young.

Blaine did not run for reelection, reinvented himself as a conservative Republican radio talk show host and parlayed that into being elected president of the Frederick board of county commissioners.

Two big accomplishments of Dougherty’s term in office were the creation of the Neighborhood Advisory Councils and the hiring of popular and effective Kim Dine as Chief of Police.

However, her term was marred with constant battles with a less than cooperative board of aldermen and a confrontation played out in the media with Karen Korrell, president of the board of directors of the Weinberg Center, over city funding levels.

Karen Korrell, would later marry Ron Young.

The many political battles encountered during the Dougherty administration led to a challenge in the 2005 city Democratic primary by Ron Young, who after overcoming residency issues, defeated Jennifer, before losing himself to political neophyte Republican Jeff Holtzinger.

In 2009, after witnessing a stumbling Marcia Hall bow out and a youthful inexperienced Jason Judd enter the race for mayor, Jennifer would run for the fourth time for the Democratic nomination.

She would lose one more time and Judd was upset by Republican Randy McClement; the owner of a downtown Bagel shop.

Speculation was rampant after the 2005 and 2009 elections; it was disgruntled Dougherty supporters who were responsible for the narrow victories won by Republicans Holtzinger and McClement.

In 2013, Jennifer decided against trying for the Democratic Party nomination and instead gathered the necessary signatures to run as an Unaffiliated candidate for mayor.

Karen Young, a Democrat, with an impressive resume in the banking industry in marketing and financial services management, decided to run for alderman in the 2009 election. After, receiving the most votes, she became mayor pro tem.

It did not take long for Karen to assert herself on the board of alderman and it was obvious early on she was frustrated with the lack of leadership and management skills displayed by Mayor Randy McClement.

Her announcement earlier this year, she was running for mayor came as no surprise.

What wasn’t anticipated was the entry by Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett in the run for the Democratic Party nomination for mayor.

Galen, a long time local politician and successful business owner proved to be a formidable opponent for Young.

Karen matched him in campaign donations and outworked him during the primary campaign which led to her 10 point win over Galen in the Democratic primary.

You are probably asking yourself about now, “I thought George said he was going to give us his best guess on the mayor’s race”.

And, I am.  I just felt a little of the history leading up to this vote would be helpful in understanding the dynamics at work.

I, of course, just scratched the surface, understanding you might lose interest in reading a novel or long essay on the subject.

However, let me also mention, the long anticipated “cat fight” between Jennifer and Karen never materialized.  Most likely due to both candidates being aware that is what some were expecting to happen between two strong willed women.

Okay then, another reason for the short narrative is with a small voter turnout, history and interpersonal relations have an impact on who wins.

First, the turnout is not expected to exceed 22% of the registered voters and will be around 8,000 votes.

As I stated in an earlier column about moving the city election to coincide with the presidential election cycle “I can confidently predict 10% or less of the 36,539 registered voters (as of January 1, 2013) will determine who the next mayor will be on November 5 and the mayor elect will not receive a majority of the vote.”

There is no run-off provision for The City of Frederick, so the winner will become mayor by winning only a plurality of the vote. Also disconcerting is there is no vote recount procedure which may have an impact in a close election.

The voter party registration breakdown in the city (as of January 1, 2013) is Democratic – 17,299, Republican – 10,749 and Unaffiliated – 8,164.

Out of the total registered voters, Democratic registration in the city makes up about 46%, Republican 32% and Unaffiliated 22%.

Now, at first blush, you would be correct to say, this favors the Democratic candidate for Mayor; Karen Young.  You would be right, if Democrats vote party line.

But, with Jennifer in the race, it is likely she will draw more Democratic votes than Republicans.  Also, remember Democratic Maryland state delegate Galen Clagett was defeated by Karen in the primary and was known to have supported Randy over Jason Judd in the 2009 election.

Galen has stayed out of the spotlight since losing a bitter primary election against Karen and it would not be surprising if behind the scenes, he supported Randy again.

This makes it important for Karen to pull Republican voters to counteract anticipated defections from the Democratic voters.  Not surprisingly, influential Republican leaders in the city, who are frustrated with the lack of leadership displayed by mayor McClement have held meet and greet events for Karen after she won the Democratic primary.

I believe it is highly unlikely Jennifer will pull any significant Republican votes, leaving her to have to receive enough Democratic and Unaffiliated votes to win.  This is an uphill struggle for the Dougherty campaign and why I am guessing she will receive between 20% - 24% of the vote.

Long time city election observers have told me they would be surprised if Jennifer won more than 10% of the vote.

They will be surprised, but Jennifer will lose her bid for mayor for the fourth time in five tries.

It appears Randy and Karen will be locked in an extremely close contest with both receiving between 37% - 41% of the vote.

The get out the vote effort by both campaigns will be critical in this election.

Past experience has me predicting there will be about 2% under votes resulting from people who go to the polls, vote for alderman candidates, but choose not to vote for mayor.

Who will be the next mayor?  The odds favor the incumbent in a close race and combined with all the twists and turns in this election, it is Randy’s race to lose.

However, Karen has proven to me to be a hard campaigner and a strong closer, so I have her winning by a nose.

It is the voters who make the final decision - Make sure you cast your ballot on November 5!

Stay Tuned.


George Wenschhof is Publisher/Editor of, a political news and commentary Blog.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

McClement Fails to Lead

George Wenschhof

The City of Frederick election is only a week away and with a first time ever three way mayoral race and the off year municipal election guaranteeing a low voter turnout, the race for mayor promises to be very close.

The second largest city in the state deserves leadership and vision with a path forward, not a mayor who has exhibited a lack of management and at best could be described as one who is treading water or maintaining the status quo.

Republican mayor Randy McClement boasts he has kept city taxes at the same rate and has maintained the same level of services over his four year term.  He adds this took place during a period of economic downturn across the country.

In my most recent interview with him, he told me the only service he cut was bulk trash pickup and the city only received 30-35 calls a year in response, with half of them settling for the new process.

Interestingly, alderman candidates tell me one complaint they hear most from voters, as they campaign door to door, is the elimination of bulk trash pickup, followed with their desire for it to be resumed.

The other most often heard description of the mayor is “he is a nice guy.”  In my interviews with him over his term in office, I have always found him to be cordial.

However, his management style, or lack thereof, is what his critics point to and is what led to a record number of 7 candidates for mayor in this election.

The city has a charter form of government that calls for a strong executive; the mayor and a legislative branch to provide balance; the board of alderman.

Due to lack of leadership during the McClement administration, the board of alderman has had to step up and provide administrative support which is not their role and makes for a cumbersome and sluggish way to run local government.

Watching a mayor and board workshop or meeting, Randy remains silent, never offering his position on an issue or why a yes or no vote on the issue being discussed should transpire.

The mayor, who is the elected city executive, by charter, should be leading and not expecting the board of aldermen, who are legislators, to be administrators.

Following the inability by McClement to hire an executive assistant and then reading a local paper headline stating the board of alderman hires new police chief; his lack of leadership becomes readily apparent.

The less than satisfactory manner in which the contract with the Frederick Keys was conducted and the bungled rollout of a long proposed downtown hotel/conference center are more examples of his inability to grasp the political aspect of being a mayor.

In regard to his claim to have balanced the budget and kept city taxes level, Democratic mayoral candidate Karen Young was quick to criticize.

She pointed to the recent announcement from McClement the city was $2.3 million below the legislative agreed upon level for the rainy day fund, with the explanation it was a human error by finance director Gerry Klobfleisch.

This was immediately followed by Gerry Kloblfleisch announcing he had found a surplus in the current budget ($1.9 million from the capitol improvements program) to handle the deficit in the rainy day fund.  So, all was well.

Or, is it? Following the disclosure and Kolbfleisch’s admission to an error at a city workshop, Alderman Karen Young told me she sent the following memo to the mayor:

“* Wasn't the accounting error really $5.1million? We thought that we would start FY 2014 with a $2.8mm surplus. Then a $2.3 deficit for the Rainy Day Fund was identified. The two total $5.1mm.

* How did this occur? I still haven't received an answer to this. This could not have been a simple math error. Were there erroneous assumptions? Were expenses underestimated? This is too much of a discrepancy to go without an explanation.”

You can read the response from Klobfleisch here.

When I asked Alderman Young what was the response from the mayor, she said in an email to me "Randy never responded to me." She added "I find it totally unacceptable that there was a $5.1 million accounting error with little or no explanation, no apologies and no accountability."

I agree.

Being a nice guy is not enough for the mayor of the second largest city in the state.  The City of Frederick needs a visionary leader who is comfortable with managing professional staff, setting priorities and communicating policy effectively with staff and the public.

It is time for a change and why Karen Young is the best choice for mayor to move The City of Frederick forward.

Make sure you vote on November 5.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

McAuliffe Leads in Virginia Governor Race - In an election that polls show is his to lose, one of the last hurdles between the Democrat and the Virginia governorship is making sure African-American voters don’t stay home without President Barack Obama on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Turning out party loyalists is critical for candidates of either party in any off-year election, when voter interest tails off dramatically. Republican Ken Cuccinelli has staked what slim chance he has left of an upset on firing up the GOP base. has more here.


NY Times Endorses de Blasio - The rise of Bill de Blasio, New York City’s public advocate, has been remarkable. In a clamorous primary campaign against better known, more seasoned candidates, he won the Democratic nomination without a runoff, by appealing directly and doggedly to struggling New Yorkers who see a city of lofty wealth rising out of their reach. With the election only 10 days away, Mr. de Blasio is polling so far ahead of the Republican, Joseph Lhota, that commentators have already anointed him leader of a national rebirth of left-wing populism.

Hold on. We’re electing a mayor here, someone to keep streets plowed and safe, budgets balanced, schools working well and constituents of five boroughs satisfied. Someone to sustain and build on the 12-year legacy of Michael Bloomberg, while realizing his own vision for New York. It’s a huge job, never mind the revolution.
Luckily, Mr. de Blasio is up for it.  The NY Times has more here.


Federal Reserve Unlikely to Make Change in Monteary Policy - Federal Reserve officials are unlikely to make any shift to monetary policy this week as they wait for more evidence of how badly Washington's budget battle has hurt the U.S. economy.
Indeed, they could stand pat for the rest of the year.

"I would say January or March at this point," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida, on when the Fed would begin to scale back its bond-buying stimulus. "Odds for December are less than 50/50." has more here.

--- will Work Smoothly by End of November - The troubled federal health insurance website will be fixed by the end of November, giving uninsured Americans two weeks to get signed up in time to have health insurance by the earliest possible date, officials pledged Friday.

One of the main government contractors, QSSI, has been assigned to oversee the fix, says Jeff Zients, the newly appointed chief White House economic adviser who’s been tasked to fix the logjammed website.

“We are confident that by the end of the November, will be smooth for the vast majority of users,” Zients told reporters on a conference call.

“Over the last week we worked with a team of experts to conduct an assessment of the overall state of the site," Zients said. They lent "fresh eyes" to the problems plaguing the site. “The system is getting better,” he added. “There is a lot of work to do but is fixable.”  NBC News has more here.


Senate To Vote Monday for Griffin as General Counsel for NLRB - On Monday, the Senate will vote on whether Richard Griffin should be the next general counsel for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). His nomination is expected to be approved.

Supporters like Ross Eisenbrey, the vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, say that Griffin is “just a super qualified person” for the powerful post, but conservative critics have raised a row about his intentions for the union watchdog. has more here.


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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Obama Weekly Address

George Wenschhof

In this week's address, President Obama discusses the launch of the Health Insurance Marketplace for the Affordable Care Act, which gives millions of Americans the opportunity to have access to affordable and reliable healthcare—many for the first time.


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Republican Weekly Address

George Wenschhof

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) said Republicans have concerns about future problems related to ObamaCare, beyond website glitches.

Interestingly, the video of the weekly GOP address was not available at time of publication.

You can read the transcript and listen to the audio here.


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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Dacey, Nash and Schmidt Try to Hide Republican Party Affiliation in City Election

George Wenschhof

It is widely known voter registration highly favors Democratic candidates in The City of Frederick, so it is hardly surprising Republican alderman candidates Phil Dacey, Katie Nash and David Schmidt are trying to cozy up to Democratic voters by projecting a moderate voice.

Yet, when you look at their background, they are all proud conservative Republicans, a political philosophy that does not play well with progressive Democratic voters in the city.

Their political mantra has been to call for nonpartisan elections, because they don’t believe in party labels at the local level.

However, it is widely known and documented by numerous studies, nonpartisan elections actually result in a lower voter turnout at the polls.  Not a change, The City of Frederick, which averages less than 25% turnout, needs to implement. 

The reason for masking their political affiliation by these candidates is Democrats have 17,300 registered voters compared to 10,750 Republicans in the city.  Their combined cry for nonpartisan elections is also driven by their knowledge there are 8,160 unaffiliated registered voters in the city, who they hope to entice to vote for them.

During my interviews with the Democratic candidates for alderman and mayor, not one indicated to me support for a change to nonpartisan elections in the city.

Former alderman Alan Imhoff, the only Republican candidate with extensive municipal experience, opposes nonpartisan elections and favors moving the city election to coincide with the presidential election cycle.

It is also not surprising, there are no Republicans calling for a change to nonpartisan elections in the county, where they hold a voter registration advantage.

The road to victory by a Republican alderman candidate is tough, unlike the mayoral race, where Democrats have been beating themselves in every election, but one, since former four term mayor Ron Young was defeated in 1989.

Dacey, Nash and Schmidt are young and inexperienced in municipal government, but all have been involved supporting conservative Republicans in their party.

Phil Dacey shared with me “I became a Republican because I believed they were the party with better ideas and was influenced by former Congressman Newt Gingrich’s 1994 “Contract with America” that promoted welfare reform and a balance budget.”  When, he noticed I was writing this down, he said “oops!”

Further earning his conservative spurs was the support by him and his family of former state senator Alex Mooney and his experience working as chief of staff to Maryland state senator Nancy Jacobs.

Katie Nash, in addition to serving on the local Republican central committee, also served as chief of staff to another state senator E.J. Pipkin.

Both Pipkin and Jacobs were former Republican senate minority leaders and known as far right conservatives in the state.

Dave Schmidt, has made no secret of his attempted love affair with Democrats, attending their local events and telling everyone party affiliation doesn’t matter in the city.

When I interviewed Dave, he shared with me his interest in politics started early when he knocked on doors for former sixth district Republican congressman Roscoe Bartlett. He also served as president of student government and started the first Republican Club at Frederick Community College (FCC). At FCC, he hosted the first alderman debate in 2005 which was moderated by Blaine Young, who is now president of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners.

All three have downplayed their Republican Party affiliation with the hopes to win Democratic votes and with them, a seat on the board of alderman.

Interestingly, while all three have extolled the importance of nonpartisan elections in the city, not one changed their political affiliation to Unaffiliated.

Registered voters in The City of Frederick will elect their mayor and a five member board of alderman on November 5.

Stay tuned.
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Democratic Dream Team Will Move Frederick Forward

George Wenschhof

The experience, passion and vision shared by Josh Bokee, John Daniels, Donna Kuzemchak, Michael O’Connor, and Kelly Russell clearly demonstrates why the Democratic candidates running for The City of Frederick board of alderman deserve your vote on November 5.

After conducting multiple interviews with the candidates and being closely involved in city government for many years, it is great to see these talented candidates recognize the uniqueness and diversity in the many neighborhoods that make up the city, are committed to working with the neighborhood advisory councils and know the value of giving citizens a voice in government.

It was encouraging to see them campaign door to door and hear from them, after they listened to voters firsthand, they understand the importance of addressing traffic congestion, increasing public safety, spurring economic development to create local jobs, providing cost effective and performance focused government services, and lobbying for city schools to get their share of state dollars for needed construction and renovation.

It is exciting the city, already a sought out place to live, is poised to become a sustainable friendly, safe, family community interconnected with pedestrian/bike walkways and trails combined with employment opportunities close to home.

It will take teamwork, expertise and dedication to ensure Frederick becomes the extraordinary city it can be. 

Josh Bokee, John Daniels, Donna Kuzemchak, Michael O’Connor, and Kelly Russell, have the drive, knowledge and the skill set to work with the leadership of mayoral candidate Karen Young to productively move Frederick forward. 

Make sure you vote on November 5.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

53% Blame Republicans for Shutdown and GOP Approval Rating Drops to 32% - Asked who they consider responsible for the impasse, 53 percent of poll respondents cite Republicans, 29 percent blame Obama and 15 percent fault both sides equally. Republicans who support the tea party movement overwhelmingly blame Obama for what happened, but among Republicans who do not back the tea party, almost as many cite congressional Republicans as name Obama or both.

There was little in the findings for the GOP to feel good about. The party’s image has sunk to an all-time low in Post-ABC surveys, with 32 percent of the public saying they have a favorable opinion and 63 percent saying they have an unfavorable view. Almost four in 10 Americans have a strongly unfavorable view of the GOP.

The tea party fares just as badly. Barely a quarter of the public has a favorable image of the movement, the lowest rating in Post-ABC polling.  The Washington Post has more here.


Prospects for Democrats to Pick up Seats in Senate Increases after Shutdown - Senate Democrats have emerged from the government shutdown more confident about holding control of the upper chamber in 2014 — with some polls fueling hopes the party could pick up a seat or two currently held by the GOP.
The sentiment marks a shift in attitude even from this summer, when partisans on both sides viewed control of the Senate as a toss-up. has more here.


Cruz Promises to Continue Fight Against Obamacare - Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, returned home to a heroes welcome on Monday, pledging to a crowd of excited supporters that he would continue his crusade against President Barack Obama's health care law despite criticism from some members of his own party.

The Texas firebrand began his remarks at a tea party rally in Houston by jokingly acknowledging the ire some fellow Republicans have directed at him after helping to orchestrate a government shutdown that resulted in a sharp drop in the GOP's approval ratings. has more here.


Christie Drops Appeal, New Jersey Latest State to Adopt Same-Sex Marriage - Christie, who faces inherent geographic suspicion with the base as a Northeastern Republican, asked the state’s acting attorney general to nix the appeal on a ruling making same-sex marriage legal in New Jersey.

The reason, according to a statement from his office? He knew he’d lose, and, the implied point goes, what’s the point in going down swinging just to make a point — especially for a former U.S. attorney?

“Chief Justice Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,’” the statement from his aides said. has more here.


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Monday, October 21, 2013

Karen Young the Choice for Mayor

George Wenschhof

The City of Frederick is a wonderful safe place you want to call home and raise your children - electing Karen Young as mayor will help make certain it stays this way.
Karen Young is a strategic visionary leader who understands the mayor articulates the vision and leads the effort to move The City of Frederick forward to become an interconnected and sustainable community where families desire to live.

Her goal to make Frederick a regional economic hub is admirable and will help parents reduce their costly commute allowing them to be able to spend more quality time with their children.

Whether it is economic development, public safety, education, transportation or other issues facing the city, Karen understands the need to work with all levels of government.  Her time spent working with the Maryland Municipal League, The Washington Council of Governments and the Maryland General Assembly has prepared her well in this regard.  

Karen’s extensive experience in the public/private sector has given her the knowledge and training to ensure the city is using the best practices when it comes to human resources, risk mitigation, organization design and investment management.

She will use her financial analysis and management background to help right-size the city budget that has grown by 98% over the last ten years.

Furthermore, her term as alderman helps her understand the need to work early and often with the board of alderman to move an agenda forward.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What if you held an election and no one showed up to vote?

George Wenschhof

Sadly, with only two weeks to go until The City of Frederick election, we are about to find out.

I can confidently predict 10% or less of the 36,539 registered voters (as of January 1, 2013) will determine who the next mayor will be on November 5 and the mayor elect will not receive a majority of the vote.

City election law does not require a mayoral candidate to receive a majority of the vote. A runoff election between the top two finishers in a multiple candidate race, to ensure a majority vote, will not happen.

The three way race between incumbent Republican mayor Randy McClement, Democratic alderman Karen Young and unaffiliated Jennifer Dougherty has me predicting the winner will receive between 37-41% of the vote.

Assuming 22% of the registered voters go to the polls (the likely turnout based on past history), the winner will have been elected by only 9.1% of the registered voters, or 3,296 votes.  This represents just 5% of the estimated city population of 66,382.

For more years than I want to admit, I have been banging the drum to move the city election to coincide with the presidential election cycle.  The rationale is that voter participation would more than triple from the current anemic 22% average.  The bonus for taxpayers is the cost savings for the city would be in the $200,000 range and voters would go to polls in schools where they are accustomed to casting their ballot.

But, as most understand today, rational thinking does not often prevail in politics.  The naysayers main theme is the local election would be drummed out by the presidential election.

This is an interesting argument when so few voters are paying attention now. 

The other prevalent statement from opposition to a change in election cycle is the voters would not be as “informed”.

This argument is worrisome because it sounds eerily similar to the institution of the “poll tax” and the tests given to keep certain voters from the polls many years ago during the Jim Crow days. 

Of course, there is nothing in our constitution that requires a voter be “informed” when they go to the polls, or for that matter, a candidate be “informed” when they run for office.  I often wonder how these folks who make this argument determine the voters who are presently voting are “informed”.

Further confusing the change to coincide with the presidential election cycle are those few who clamor for nonpartisan or open elections, when nonpartisan data shows both reduce voter turnout.

Nonetheless, these collective arguments have been successful to date, primarily due to natural resistance to change.

In addition, why would the few people who are currently voting and determining the elected officials in the city want to give up their influence? 

What is known is that the national average of voter turnout for municipalities who hold off-year elections is 25%.

There is no current cry or political support to change the election cycle, so do not expect it to happen anytime soon.

Unfortunately, in the meantime, this allows less than 10% of the registered voters to determine the mayor of The City of Frederick.

Two hundred years of being wrong, doesn’t make it right.

Stay tuned.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Questions Raised on Dacey’s Fundraising

George Wenschhof

Phil Dacey
With less than three weeks to go until General Election Day in the City of Frederick, concerns are being raised on the fundraising efforts by Republican alderman candidate Phil Dacey. Dacey finished first in the Republican primary election held on September 10.

Upon reviewing his impressive 205 reported contributions totaling $18,000, 65% of them came from outside The City of Frederick, raising the worry of outside influence on local elections.

What is common to see among city candidates is 25% or less of total contributions coming from outside the city. The majority of these donations typically come from residents of Frederick County who know the candidate, with the rest coming from family members or close friends who live outside the county or state.

Democrat John Daniels, who reported the second highest level of contributions ($13,000) among alderman candidates, fell within the average of 25% of his donations coming from outside the city, with most of them coming from residents of the county.

This outside fundraising is also raising questions of Dacey’s relationship with ultra right wing conservative and former state senator Alex Mooney, whose political philosophy resembles tea party Republicans of today.

Interestingly, Republican sources told me Dacey is using the Mooney donor list to raise funds.

Mooney was well known for his fundraising skills, tapping into national sources to fund his campaign, including paying workers to go door to door for him.

Dacey’s second campaign finance report showed he was also paying workers to go door to door, which he confirmed when I inquired.

I sent Dacey a email asking him “did you receive donor lists from Alex Mooney or anyone associated with his former campaign and second to what do you attribute to such a large portion of the funds you have received to date coming from outside the city?”

He replied with "We've worked very hard to raise the money that we have -- we set a budget at the start of the campaign and have worked to raise that amount.

To answer your question, I have not gotten lists from any other campaigns including Alex Mooney. I'm really not sure how the funds I have raised breaks down geographically because I really haven't analyzed the report in that way. I am humbled and grateful to have the support of a lot of people who believe in me and my vision for Frederick."

Some who question where his fundraising is coming from say that further illustrating Dacey’s ties to far right conservatives are campaign account donations from Republican elected officials; state senator Nancy Jacobs, state delegate Michael Hough, former state delegate Joe Bartlett and a donation from City Cab owned, in part, by Frederick board of county commissioners President Blaine Young.

Those making the connection of Dacey to right wing conservatives point out Dacey worked as chief of staff to conservative state senator Nancy Jacobs and his family; including his brother Ted, who worked as his campaign manager, has long been a supporter of Mooney.

City voters will elect their mayor and five member board of alderman on November 5.

Stay tuned.
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Obama Weekly Address

George Wenschhof

In his weekly address, the president outlined why lawmakers should come to a consensus on a budget that tackles the nation’s deficits, reform the "broken" immigration system and pass a new farm bill.

“We won’t suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed,” he said in the recorded statement, days after the government reopened its doors. “But we shouldn’t hold back on places where we do agree, just because we don’t think it’s good politics, or just because the extremes in our parties don’t like compromise.”


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Republican Weekly Address

George Wenschhof

Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli blasted the implementation of ObamaCare as a "national embarrassment" and called the program a "grave threat" in Saturday's weekly Republican address.

The Virginia attorney general said the law was "the hallmark of a reckless federal government that has lost its way," as Republicans looked to seize on a rocky first month of the ObamaCare insurance exchanges.


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Friday, October 18, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama to Nominate Jeh Johnson for Homeland Security - President Barack Obama will nominate Jeh Johnson, a former Pentagon official, to lead the Department of Homeland Security, a White House official confirmed Thursday to POLITICO.

The president will make the announcement at 2 p.m. Friday at the White House.

Obama has chosen Johnson, who served as the Defense Department’s general counsel from 2009 through 2012, “because he is one [of] the most highly qualified and respected national security leaders,” the official said.

While at the Pentagon, Johnson “was known for his sound judgment and counsel” and was “responsible for the prior legal review and approval of every military operation approved by the president and secretary of defense,” the official added. has more here.


Chamber of Commerce Slams Tea Party - After tea party intransigence brought the United States dangerously close to default, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce indicated that it will take on loyalists to the conservative movement.
Citing a need for serious elected officials, Scott Reed, a senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, told Bloomberg in a story published Thursday that it plans to get involved in next year's midterms.

“We are going to get engaged,” Reed said. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.” has more here.


Shutdown Leads To Record Fundraising for Senate Democrats - House Democrats' campaign arm raised a record amount in September, and now has more than $20 million cash in the bank for the 2014 elections.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee brought in $8.4 million in September and now has $21.6 million cash on hand. That's more than double what the committee had in the bank at this point last cycle. has more here.


McConnell Criticized for $2.9 Billion Hidden in Debt Bill for Kentucky Project - After Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell helped broker Wednesday’s deal that reopened the government, his critics found something in that agreement they’re using to attack him with -- a $2.9 billion locks and dam project.

A conservative group has pounced on McConnell for what it calls a “Kentucky kickback” – money included in the legislation to finish a troubled infrastructure project on the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky.  NBC News has more here.


Saudi Arabia Declines U.N. Security Council Seat - Saudi Arabia, in an unprecedented show of anger at the failure of the international community to end the war in Syria and act on other Middle East issues, said on Friday it would not take up its seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The kingdom condemned what it called international double standards on the Middle East and demanded reforms in the Security Council.

Riyadh's frustration is mostly directed at Washington, its oldest international ally, which has pursued policies since the Arab Spring that Saudi rulers have bitterly opposed and which have severely damaged relations with the United States, Saudi analysts have said.

Saudi Arabia has also been angered by a rapprochement between Iran, its old regional foe, and the United States, which has taken root since President Barack Obama spoke by telephone last month to the new Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, in the highest-level contact between the two countries in more than three decades. has more here.


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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Karen Young Wins Online Mayor Poll

George Wenschhof

Karen Young, who is the Democratic mayoral candidate for The City of Frederick has won the online poll with 43%.

Coming in second was Unaffiliated Jennifer Dougherty with 41%.  Incumbent Republican mayor Randy MClement received 16%.

The City of Frederick general election will be held on November 5.

Stay tuned.


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