Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Primaries to Watch IV, Part Three

By Marc Korman and Adam Pagnucco.

Here are races Six and Five!

6. District 16 Open Seat
Previous Rank: #7

Chaos is the order of the day in District 16. There are thirteen candidates vying for three Delegate seats. Perhaps that should not be a surprise since eleven ran for one seat in 2007 when Delegate Frick was appointed. It is an odd race. One of the incumbents has never run before, one of the challengers has run five times, and the district has little to drive turnout at the top of the ticket.

Obama campaign staffer Kyle Lierman, business owner and Montgomery County Young Democrats President Scott Goldberg, and former NARAL Executive Director Ariana Kelly have been the most active thus far. But Mark Winston is coming out strong with Ike Leggett’s endorsement and Hrant Jamgochian has been carpet bombing the district with signs and campaign frisbees.

Bill Frick and Susan Lee have been canvassing with teammate Brian Frosh and few have anything bad to say about them. Frosh has really stepped up for Frick and Lee, spending lots of time door knocking despite not having a primary and being the heavy favorite in November. Most people think the real fight is for the third Delegate slot. With a race this crowded with a low turnout, it could be anyone’s for the taking.

A fun little note is that one of the three Republicans waiting in the general will be Prince Arora, who ran as a Democrat for the appointment in 2007.

Full disclosure, I am a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee from District 16 and have supported Bill Frick.

There are too many candidates in this race. Most of them will get lost in the shuffle and District 16 residents will learn to get very acquainted with throwing out mailers. This greatly helps incumbents Susan Lee and Bill Frick, who should win solidly by racking up institutional support and cash and running with Senator Brian Frosh.

So for the challengers, how do you stand out? There are usually two ways to do so: endorsements and money. Ariana Kelly is the early endorsement leader, collecting support from MCEA, NARAL, NOW and SEIU. There could be more to come. Kyle Lierman will rely on his famous last name and his Obama connections to raise great heaping gobs of cash. Kelly is the only female Democratic candidate other than Lee and Lierman’s campaign experience is unparalleled. All of these factors make these two stand out.

The others are all white males who will probably wind up agreeing on most issues. As the deluge of literature begins to swamp mailboxes, voters will have a hard time telling them apart. These candidates must figure out a way to break out from the pack. Could it be Mark Winston, who was endorsed by Ike Leggett? Could it be Young Dems leader Scott Goldberg? Could it be someone else? Or will this be a Kelly-Lierman race? It’s too early to tell.

5. District 14 State Senate Challenge
Previous Rank: #5

Karen Montgomery is knocking on doors and talking about progressive issues. Rona Kramer has slated up with incumbent Delegate Anne Kaiser, and Delegate candidates Craig Zucker and Bo Newsome and is talking about Montgomery missing the 2007 Special Session. Absenteeism is an old, effective campaign favorite and Kramer will make a big deal out of it. Both candidates are out working but given Kramer’s money this is a real uphill climb for Montgomery. Progressives are happy to have a champion talking about issues such as the death penalty, but it may not be enough against the entrenched Kramer.

Jamie Raskin toppled Ida Ruben in 2006 in part by tapping into a wave of progressive activism in Silver Spring and Takoma Park. One of the questions in this cycle has been where those progressives would wind up. A school of thought held that many of them would head up US-29, New Hampshire Avenue and Georgia Avenue to help a credible liberal defeat Rona Kramer. So where are they?

This race is behaving rather predictably so far. Montgomery is racking up endorsements from unions and environmentalists. Kramer has assembled a slate for self-defense and will soon be spending lots of money on mail. If Montgomery’s endorsements are accompanied by real live boots on the ground, she has a chance. Otherwise, Kramer is going to win.

More tomorrow!