Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Women and Minorities in Montgomery Elections

Overall, last night was not a great for woman and minority candidates. Ike Leggett's victory was a rare bright spot. Stu Simms and Kweisi Mfume lost the marquee statewide primaries. Janet Owens now trails in the statewide race for comptroller.

Women in State Legislative Elections
Women didn't fare any better in Montgomery County state legislative elections. Going into the election, women held four of the eight state senate seats. Now, they hold two due to the replacement of retiring Sen. Sharon Grosfeld (District 18) by Del. Richard Madaleno and the defeat of Sen. Ida Ruben (District 20) by Prof. Jamie Raskin.

In, District 19, incumbent Del. Adrienne Mandel and Del. Carol Petzold ran against each other for the open senate seat. Both lost to newcomer Mike Lennett. All of the new delegates from the district will be men. Incumbent Del. Joan Stern was defeated by a male challenger in District 39. The sole state legislative gain made by a woman in Montgomery County is the pickup of a seat in District 20 by Heather Mizeur.

Despite the net loss of one seat, women will continue to hold 11 of the 24 delegate seats, assuming that Republican Del. Jean Cryor wins in District 15. Women will hold no seats only in Districts 17 and 19. Women will hold two of the three seats in all of the other districts except District 39 where only one woman will hold a house seat.

Women in County Elections
Women fared much better in County Council races. Incumbent Nancy Floreen held on to her at-large seat and will be joined by newcomer Duchy Trachtenberg. Neither will necessarily celebrate the victory of the other, however, as they represent rather different ends of the spectrum with the Montgomery Democratic Party.

School Board Member Valerie Ervin won the open District 5 Council seat. Incumbent Marilyn Praisner cruised to renomination in District 4. As a result, the number of women on the Montgomery County Council will likely rise from two to four out of nine. No women competed for the nomination for the county executive's office. The Clerk of the Circuit Court remains the only other countywide office held by a woman.

Minorities in State Legislative Elections
No minorities won election to the state senate from Montgomery.

Saqib Ali becomes the first Muslim and the third Asian American elected to the House of Delegates with his impressive win in District 39. Asian American Del. Susan Lee (District 16) and Del. Kumar Barve (District 17) won renomination.

African-American candidates fared very poorly in Montgomery state legislative elections. While Del. Herman Taylor (District 14) easily won renomination, Del. Gareth Murray (District 20) incredibly managed to come in last place as he went down to defeat. Elbridge James came in seventh of eight in District 17. Similarly, Kensington Councilman Al Carr came in seventh out of eight in District 18. In District 19, Melodye Berry and Guled Kassim ran last in a field of eight; Berry even had the MCEA endorsement. Craig Rice faced no opposition for the nomination of one of the delegate seats in District 15 but it is going to be tough for him to defeat incumbent Republican Del. Jean Cryor in the general election.

Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (District 18) remains the only Latino or Latina in the Montgomery state legislative delegation. Newcomer Oscar Ramirez also won a seat on Democratic Central Committee from District 18.

Minorities in County Elections
Ike Leggett's victory was of enormous significance. Valerie Ervin (District 5) will become the first African American on the Council since Leggett left the Council four years ago. She is the third African American to ever serve on the Council and the first black woman. Ervin replaced Tom Perez, the first Latino elected to the Council, who was disqualified from the attorney general's race. No new Latino was elected to the Council.

None of the three at-large African-American candidates came close to winning a seat. Bo Newsome even has the endorsement of the Post and the Gazette but was unable to capitalize on it. Former School Board Member Reggie Felton also ran well back in the pack of Council candidates. Felton was also endorsed by the Gazette. Donnell Peterman ran last in the race for one of the four at-large seats. Rockville Councilman Robert Dorsey was crushed 3-1 in his bid to unseat incumbent Councilman Phil Andrews in District 3.

Tufail Ahmad, the sole Asian American candidate for a council seat ran second to last in his bid for one of the four at-large seats.