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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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1 comment:

Dave Schmidt said...

Because of the focus on the city,
no one has asked any candidates
their opinion of non-partisan
elections on the county level, I
would whole-heartedly support non-
partisan elections in both our
county and city. Local services are
not an issue that is defined by
national philosophy. Additionally,
partisan elections here on the
local level uses everyone's tax
dollars to allow private
organizations (D & R) to pick their
own private nominees. If they're
going to spend everyone's money,
everyone should have a chance to
participate. Both in the city and
in the county.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond.

~ Dave Schmidt

Candidate for Alderman, City of Frederick