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Monday, June 25, 2018

Frederick County state senate district 3 race, a close one

Ron Young
George Wenschhof
The Maryland June 26 primary election is tomorrow and the state senate race in district 3 has plenty of interesting dynamics at play.  In the Democratic primary, incumbent Ron Young has said this will be his last term, a phrase he has uttered in previous elections.  Ron has been involved in politics his entire life, serving as mayor of The City of Frederick for 4 terms and now as state senator for two terms.  He is well known and after a lifetime in politics has his supporters and detractors. Ron’s length of service and the ability to get things done along with a name recognition that is likely the highest of any politician in Frederick County, may help him eke out a victory.
He is opposed by Jennifer Brannan and Jennifer Dougherty in the Democratic primary.  Brannan is not well known and her campaign efforts have not helped voters to get to know her.  Dougherty on the other hand is known as someone who always appears on the ballot and one who has been divisive in local politics.  This election will mark the tenth time Jennifer has run for office in Frederick County.  Her sole win was in the 2001 City of Frederick mayoral election, aided when she won by 36 votes against more experienced Meta Nash in the primary held on 9/11, a day many voters stayed home. Republican two term mayor Jim Grimes had already beaten himself with a multitude of bad decisions, so the Democratic nominee was assured the win in the General Election.
There is no love lost between Jennifer and Ron. In her first race, Jennifer ran for mayor in 1993 and was opposed in the Democratic primary by African American Gary Hughes.  Hughes received support from Ron Young and beat Jennifer in that primary election.  Republican Jim Grimes would win that election for mayor.
During Dougherty’s only term in office, she alienated voters so badly, including Democrats, leading Ron Young to run against Jennifer and beat her in the 2005 city Democratic primary. Upset at being challenged and beaten as an incumbent, she would urge her supporters to back Republican mayoral candidate Jeff Holtzinger.  Holtzinger would upset Ron in that 2005 city election.
Frederick County Republican leaders are excited about the strong possibility of picking up this seat, realizing neither Jennifer’s or Ron’s supporters will likely vote for the other should they lose the primary.  This had been a Republican held seat for many years with Alex Mooney being the last Republican state senator.  To the delight of many Frederick County voters, Ron Young would beat Mooney in the 2010 election.
Capturing this seat for Republicans however will not be easy.  The Republican primary is also filled with intrigue with Frederick County Burger King franchise owner Craig Giagrande and his significant personal campaign financial contributions facing Billy Shreve, a member of the Frederick County council.
Giagrande has received the endorsement of popular Frederick County sheriff Chuck Jenkins(R) and the conservative Blog 
Shreve was a member of the Frederick board of county commissioners when Blaine Young (R) was president.  When charter government was passed in Frederick County, Blaine Young would face Democrat Jan Gardner for county executive and lose. Shreve would run for county council and win, enduring what must have been a difficult four years for him under Gardner. Obviously, frustrated with his lack of influence in county government and knowing Ron Young(D) barely won against an unknown Republican candidate four years ago, Shreve decided to challenge Ron Young for state senate.
Now, Shreve is locked in a close contest against Giagrande in the Republican primary and may well lose.
Both of the Democratic and Republican primaries for Maryland state senate in district 3 will be close, as will the General Election.  How well the nominees for each political party unite their voters and are able to appeal across party lines will determine the ultimate winner in this race.
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