Friday, September 17, 2010

Pucker Up! (Updated)

Last night saw the county Democrats’ traditional post-primary Kiss and Make Up Party. And boy, there was a whole lot of kissing up going on!

Dems gather to listen to fighting words from the Mighty Babs!

The purpose of the Kiss and Make Up Party is to recover from the heated rivalry of the primaries and to unite for the general election. Food, gossip and deal-cutting are just bonuses, as are the opportunities to rub shoulders with dignitaries like the Governor.

It’s easy for the primary winners to show up for such things. Successful candidates love to bask in glory and be told what wonderful races they ran, whether such races were truly wonderful or not. But the real credit belongs to those who did not win and still showed up. The natural instinct for anyone who loses an election is to curl up in the bedroom and not come out. But those who lost and still came were welcomed with extra warmth. Your author heard not a single cross word exchanged – only well wishes and relief for the end of primary season. In fact, all the candidates were repeatedly feted by the speakers whether they won or lost. Even Amy Yockus Hartman, Nancy King’s fearsome campaign manager, cheerfully welcomed your author when she could have easily welcomed yours truly with a sharp object instead. If we had known she was such a sweet thing, we would not have been so mean to her on the blog!

Cheryl Kagan – this bunny just keeps on hopping!

Let’s recognize the courageous and gracious candidates who came to the event despite not winning their primaries. They included:

Ilaya Hopkins (Council District 1)
Sharon Dooley (Council District 2)
Jane de Winter (Council At-Large)
Peter Dennis (District 16 House)
Bill Farley (District 16 House)
Scott Goldberg (District 16 House)
Craig Herskowitz (District 16 House)
Hrant Jamgochian (District 16 House)
Kyle Lierman (District 16 House)

From left to right: District 16’s Craig Herskowitz, Bill Farley, Bill Frick, Scott Goldberg, Ariana Kelly, Peter Dennis, Susan Lee, Kyle Lierman and Hrant Jamgochian.

Cheryl Kagan (District 17 Senate)
Mike Heney (District 18 House)
Hoan Dang (District 19 House)
Jay Hutchins (District 19 House)
Tony Puca (District 39 House)

District 19 House candidates Jay Hutchins and Hoan Dang.

So who did not attend? More than the party would like to admit! But these people were notably absent.

Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg
Council District 2 candidate Royce Hanson
Senator Rona Kramer (D-14)
Vanessa Atterbeary (D-18 House candidate)
Dana Beyer (D-18 House candidate)
Senator Mike Lenett (D-19)
Senate challenger Saqib Ali (D-39)

One wag noted of Atterbeary, “She wants to preserve her perfect record of never coming to a party event.” Meeoow!

Everybody shut up! Pete Franchot is talking, dammit!

Aside from all the food, hand-shaking, gabbing and wine-guzzling, there was one serious undertone to the gathering. MoCo’s abysmal primary turnout is clearly worrisome to the state Democrats. They are nervous about what that means for the general election between Governor O’Malley and his predecessor, former Governor Bob Ehrlich. It’s unlikely that any Kiss and Make Up party can fix that issue. But the Democrats had better find some way to deal with it, because otherwise, the next Kiss and Make Up event will include the GOP.

Update: We hear that District 14 House candidate Gerald Roper and District 16 House candidate Charlie Chester showed up too.