Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Politicians Pummel Pepco

From Washington Post video:


District 16 Team Mailer


Roger Berliner's First Mailer


Jennie Forehand's Jobs Mailer


Becky Wagner's Second Mailer


Kelly Lights Up Lierman

District 16 House candidate Ariana Kelly has posted the following item on her website about the Post's article on fellow candidate Kyle Lierman's fundraising.

The Washington Post today exposed the forces supporting Kyle Lierman's campaign for delegate. The Post reports the 23-year-old's bid is bankrolled by wealthy friends and patrons of his father Terry -- the former state party boss and drug company lobbyist who is now Chief of Staff to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Only Ariana Kelly has the credentials and support to stop Terry Lierman from bullying and buying a delegate seat for his son, and to give Montgomery County the representation it deserves in Annapolis. To see Ariana Kelly's track record and list of supporters, click here.

On the one hand, there is some truth to Kelly's charges. Terry Lierman is intensely involved in his son's campaign. Kyle's donor list is full of Terry's friends and supporters and we have heard MANY stories of Terry making fundraising calls, complaining to organizations that failed to endorse his son and even getting involved in designing campaign materials. And the participation of ethics-challenged Congressman Jim Moran in Kyle's campaign (a story that went national) is problematic at best. If Kyle Lierman was instead named Kyle Jamgochian, Kyle Farley or Kyle Winston, he would probably not be a front-runner in this race.

But candidates in round-robin elections like Delegate contests usually avoid going negative against a rival for fear that a third candidate will go up the middle and win. Could that happen in District 16?


Roger Manno's Washington Post Mailer

District 19 Senate challenger Roger Manno is using quotes from his Washington Post endorsement to promote himself and damage incumbent Mike Lenett in a new mailer. Enjoy!


Police, Fire Fighters and MCGEO Launch Independent Expenditure Campaign

MCGEO and the unions representing the police and the career fire fighters have joined forces to launch an independent expenditure campaign with three goals: decry budget cuts, push back against the school system and help three candidates in the Council At-Large race.

The independent effort, called Protect Your Montgomery, includes both a website and one mailer (so far) that we reprint below.

Here’s what they say about the school system:

The budget and service cuts didn’t have to be so deep, so harsh, or so concentrated on just a fewessential County services.

The County’s School Board Bureaucracy got 57% of the $4.3 billion County budget. The School Board budget protected 2,626 Education bureaucrats who earn more than $100,000
a year. The School Board did cut some classroom teachers, but School Superintendant Jerry Weast, with an annual compensation package worth $489,763 last year, refused to participate in any austerity— rejecting even a symbolic “furlough” to cut into his own income.

The Education Bureaucracy is highly skilled at protecting itsprerogatives, leaving it up to you, your neighbors and your communities to absorb the harshest cuts in this budget.
And here’s what they say about the three at-large candidates they are supporting:

Some candidates for office in the County agree with our concerns, while others have turned their backs on us.

There are three At-Large seats on the County Council. In 2010, incumbents George Leventhal and Marc Elrich have proven themselves to be Champions of Public Service. We believe that Hans Riemer, because of his background and experience, also qualifies as a Champion of Public Service.
Ironically, Leventhal, Elrich and Riemer have also been endorsed by MCEA.


Heard a Good Rumor?

There are MANY rumors floating around in the County Council races right now. Let’s be irresponsible and review a couple of them, shall we?

1. The Rockville consensus is that Craig Rice should and will win the Council District 2 seat. No one believes Sharon Dooley has a shot, and no one in either the council building or the Executive Branch wants to see combative former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson get in. As a result, lots of people are wooing Rice and hoping to earn his vote later. Ike Leggett, for example, gave Rice $3,000.

2. The at-large incumbents loathe Hans Riemer and are picking up their whisper campaign against him. More than one person who has publicly supported him has told your author that they have been pressured by one or more incumbents to retract that support. There has been an intense effort to discredit Riemer and plant derogatory allegations about him in the media. One such allegation is that he has never worked for AARP. Your author knows that is a lie because Riemer would answer the phone at AARP when called there by yours truly.

3. A civic activist who despises Council President Nancy Floreen has started an illegal, anonymous anti-Floreen website and has begun erecting illegally-placed road signs calling for her defeat. The activist is known to be a supporter of Council Member Marc Elrich. Elrich denies responsibility for fomenting the anti-Floreen effort, but his pleas are not entirely believed. Rumors are spreading that the activist is planning an attack mailer against Floreen. This is beginning to stress the incumbents’ four-way mutual non-aggression pact.

4. Council Member George Leventhal has taken an increasingly hard line against challenger Becky Wagner in the at-large candidate forums. Leventhal is suspected by many of tacitly supporting Wagner a year ago, a charge he denies, and some are now accusing him of throwing Wagner under the bus as part of the incumbents’ deal.

5. Council Member Duchy Trachtenberg is so upset about the growing circulation of stories about her mishandling money while she was Treasurer of Maryland NOW that she is vowing to locate their source. Perhaps she should blame the Gazette, which originally reported on the issue. Our informants are wondering whether distraction over this matter explains why Trachtenberg, who is sitting on over $200,000 in the bank, has apparently not yet sent out mail.

6. More than one council incumbent has recently butted heads with Council Vice-President Valerie Ervin, who will likely become President this December. That is EXTREMELY unwise as Ervin will be determining committee assignments, including chairmanships. Ervin is a tough cookie who will not tolerate mischief and will break heads if she has to.

7. We’ll finish with something positive. Yes, we know such things bore you, but you received plenty of dirt above, so deal with it. The County Council and the county’s statehouse delegation are often criticized for not talking to each other, but that could change for the better. One example is that Council Member Roger Berliner, who has significant expertise on energy policy, and Delegate Brian Feldman (D-15), who sits on the House committee that oversees electric utilities, are collaborating on legislation to establish performance standards for Pepco. We don’t care what they come up with, but the very fact that they are working together may be a sign of good things to come.


Hans Riemer: Here's How I See the World


Cheryl Kagan's Third Negative Mailer


Primaries to Watch V, Part Two

By Marc Korman and Adam Pagnucco.

Here are races Eight and Seven!

8. District 14 Delegate Open Seat
Previous Rank: #8

Incumbent Anne Kaiser and 2002 candidate Craig Zucker are widely considered locks for two of the three Delegate seats. Zucker should probably be sweating a little just because of the uncertainty created by two open seats.

For the third seat, the crystal ball is a little cloudy. Eric Luedtke continues to chug along with door knocking and many solid endorsements. I have heard anecdotally that Jodi Finkelstein is impressing lots of people, including the Washington Post of course. Bo Newsome’s campaign had a late and real slow start, but benefits from being on the slate of incumbents plus Zucker.

It is hard to say with any certainty who breaks through here. I give the edge to Luedtke who started early when he was planning a State Senate run and is hitting so many doors, but I am probably biased.

Full disclosure, I donated to Kaiser, Luedtke, and Zucker. Neeta Datt’s son and I attended high school together. I have volunteered for Luedtke and Kaiser.

Kaiser is definitely a lock. Zucker has been a smart pick for nearly a year. Of the remaining candidates, Luedtke has the best combination of money (although not much), endorsements, door-knocking and mail. Bo Newsome may be technically on a slate with Rona Kramer, Kaiser and Zucker, but they are effectively letting him sink or swim on his own. The other candidates’ financial performances are truly woeful. One candidate whose fundraising record is unknown is Vanessa Ali, who never sent in her August 10 report and has racked up $150 in late fees.

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

From where I am sitting, which is far, far away from District 14, Delegate Karen Montgomery is not picking up the momentum she needs to topple Rona Kramer despite a steady stream of door knocking. The incumbent State Senator is taking Montgomery seriously, has formed a full slate, and has the full-throated support of Ike Leggett and others as a result. To win, the challenger will need to rapidly amp up her campaign to try and demonstrate why Kramer is out of touch with primary voters.

Both candidates are working hard at crunch time. Both are mailing, both are knocking and both have allies. The unions have stepped up to help Montgomery with the first of what could be multiple independent mailers, but Kramer can always write checks to herself to counter them.

Kramer is holding an ace that has not yet been seen. It is widely known that Montgomery was in China during the critical 2007 special session and missed votes on tax hikes, slots and the budget. But it appears that she missed the 2006 special session too. She was recorded as having an “excused absence” on the only two bills to make it to the House floor during that session: a bill to crack down on sex offenders and a bill to limit increases in electricity rates. Given the recent problems with Pepco, that latter missed vote could make for a damaging mailer.

Our informants are split down the middle on this contest and many are calling it a toss-up. But when the incumbent holds the money advantage, these kinds of races usually go in their favor.

More tomorrow!


Kirill Reznik's Third Mailer


Saqib Advertises on New York Times Website


Monday, August 30, 2010

Post Blogoscabbing Spreads to Redskins Coverage

Redskins blogger Curly R reports that the Washington Post is spreading its blogoscabbing program to cover the Redskins. This is even more evidence that the Post, which has virtually abandoned Montgomery County political coverage, is seeking to revive its failing financial performance through reliance on free labor. Post management needs to bear in mind something that everyone who has ever hired a home improvement contractor knows: you get what you pay for.


Council At-Large Forum at Montgomery College

This video from Montgomery College shows the entire Council At-Large forum at Montgomery College on August 23.


Roger Manno: Results Speak Volumes


Sam Arora's Education Mailer

Hey... doesn't that Apple look familiar? Who else uses an Apple? Hmmm, maybe it will come to me...


Al Carr's First Mailer


Marc Elrich's First Mailer


Park Police Union Makes Endorsements

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 30, which represents the Park Police, has announced their endorsements for County Council and the state legislature. Following is their press release.

For Immediate Release:
August 29, 2010

Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #30 – Representing the Men and Women of the Maryland National Park Police announce their endorsements for Montgomery County Council, State Senate and State Delegate for Montgomery County.

Upper Marlboro, MD – Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #30, announce their endorsements for Montgomery County Council, State Senate and State Delegate for Montgomery County. FOP, Lodge #30 represents the men and women of the Maryland-National Park Police in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, protecting both citizen and environment in over 60,000 acres of recreational area and parkland.

We proudly endorse the following candidates for State Legislature:
Senator Rona Kramer – District 14
Senator Rob Garagiola – District 15
Senator Brian Frosh – District 16
Senator Jamie Raskin – District 20
Delegate Kathleen Dumais – District 15
Delegate Bill Frick – District 16
Delegate James Gilchrist – District 17
Delegate Ben Kramer – District 19

For County Council:
Roger Berliner – District 1
Royce Hanson – District 2
Valerie Ervin – District 5
Hans Riemer – At Large
Becky Wagner – At Large
Nancy Floreen – At Large


Vanessa Atterbeary's Misleading Flier‏

By Paul Gordon.

Remember the sleazy “Ehrlich Steele Democrats” flier that was used in 2006 to mislead African American voters in Prince Georges County into thinking that the two Republican candidates had both been endorsed by Democrats Wayne Curry, Kweisi Mfume, and Jack Johnson?

I came back from vacation Sunday and found a campaign mailing from Vanessa Atterbeary that reminded me of that notorious flier from 2006. In the center is a photo of Atterbeary with popular Democratic officials including Chris Van Hollen, Ike Leggett, and Barbara Mikulski, with the caption “We all agree that Vanessa Atterbeary is the one.”

So have these leading Democrats endorsed Atterbeary, as her mailing implies?

Hardly. Van Hollen and Leggett have endorsed the District 18 Slate of Al Carr, Ana Sol Gutierrez, and Jeff Waldstreicher. So has Valerie Ervin, whose photo also appears on Atterbeary’s flier.

I happen to be paying sufficient attention to this campaign to know this. But I suspect that most voters receiving Atterbeary’s flier will conclude that the officials pictured in it have endorsed her.

As a District 18 voter, I am conducting an extended job interview for who is going to represent me in Annapolis for the next four years. Endorsements from people and organizations I trust are important factors in my research.

So when one of the job applicants seems to be trying to mislead me, I ask myself: What kind of person is this? Can I trust anything she says? And what must she think of me to send me something like this?

Disclosure: Paul Gordon hosted a fundraiser for the District 18 Democratic Team earlier this summer.


The Most Devastating Attack Mailers in MoCo

Senator Nancy King’s two new lit pieces targeting challenger Saqib Ali are malevolent masterpieces of mayhem. Brace yourselves, folks, for the most devastating attack mailers in MoCo!

These two mailers showed up very close together, with some households getting them on the same day. Such are the vagaries of working with mail companies.



Until now, the standard for negative campaigning was set by the End Gridlock slate’s effort to defeat former Council Member Blair Ewing and former Senator Ida Ruben’s effort to get rid of Delegate Dana Dembrow, both of which succeeded. But King’s effort exceeds both of them in terms of the depth of her opposition research on Ali and the multitude of platforms she is using to convey it. The photos, the attack website, the attack blog and now the mailers probably constitute the most comprehensive campaign of political destruction ever conducted in MoCo.