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Friday, December 27, 2013

Blaine Young Keeps Voters Guessing

George Wenschhof
Will Frederick County board of county commissioner president Blaine Young run for the newly created county executive?  This is the question voters in the county have as Republican Blaine Young stays mute on the issue.
You can’t tell what he is going to do by listening to Blaine, who doubles as a local conservative radio talk show host, when not driving a yellow cab.  He often takes advantage of his on-air program to bash Democratic candidate for county executive Jan Gardner and to challenge her to a debate, while also saying he would like to step down from elected office and spend more time with his kids.
In a recent exchange we had on Facebook, he again challenged Gardner to a debate.  This latest challenge resulting from my publishing the column titled; Gardner Questions “State of the County”.  The column coming after Blaine released a glowing report of how well the board of county commissioners (BoCC) has performed during their three years in office.
In the Facebook exchange with Blaine, I said I saw no reason why Gardner, who has filed for county executive, would debate someone who has not filed for the position.  Having followed politics for a lifetime, I have never seen this happen.
It seems Blaine and the local Republican Party is having problems coming up with a candidate to run against Gardner, with at least three elected officials saying “no”.  First, it was county sheriff Chuck Jenkins, who Blaine admitted polled higher than himself in a recent survey he conducted of Frederick County voters.  Next, it was Maryland state delegate Kelly Schulz who said no and the latest to turn down an overture was Maryland state senator David Brinkley.
Why is Blaine spending so much time trying to recruit another Republican to run? This is another question that is probably answered by the devil in the details surrounding qualifications of a county executive.
The county charter writing board spelled out the well paid and full time county executive could not have other employment.  This would mean that Blaine would likely have to extricate himself from his financial entanglements with the local Yellow Cab business and would be unable to host his radio talk show program.  Blaine already is prohibited from hosting the radio program once he has filed for office and throughout the campaign.
While Brinkley said no to a run himself, he did send a letter, presumably, on behalf of Blaine to the office of the Maryland attorney general asking for guidance in regard to the Frederick County charter language pertaining to a second job by the county executive.  The response by the attorney general’s office was "Consistent with longstanding policy, I must respectfully decline to provide legal advice regarding the proper interpretation of the Frederick County Charter.Thus, the question remains unanswered and is a major hump for Blaine to hurdle before he could legally run for the office.
This leaves the Republican Party with BoCC members David Gray, who has announced his intention to run and Billy Shreve as potential candidates for the county executive position.  Gray, a long time ally of Gardner, who was present and supportive at her announcement, is not a favorite of Blaine and Shreve appears to be Blaine’s last candidate of choice.
In a recent fundraising mailer sent by the Shreve campaign, Shreve is saying he will run for county executive if Blaine does not and county council if Blaine runs for county executive.  In the mailer, Blaine adds his appeal for them to send money to Shreve.
When I asked Jan Gardner her response to Blaine wanting to debate her, she sent me an email that said in part “I made my decision to run for County Executive because I want to do the job and serve the community.   I made this decision without knowing who might decide to enter the race.   I will run a positive campaign and expect to debate all the other candidates who file for County Executive during the election process.  
Comm. Young remains indecisive and even made a public statement the week before Christmas that he couldn't wait to get out of office (though his actual statement was a bit more colorful).  What he decides to do doesn't change what I am already committed to do.”
It is clear that if Blaine wants to debate Gardner, he will have to file for county executive – a debate I would be happy to moderate.

The deadline for candidates to file in the 2014 state of Maryland election is February 25.  The primary election will be held on June 24 and the general election will take place on November 4.
Stay tuned.
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