Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Early Morning Analysis: Winners and Losers

Our early morning winners and losers analysis. It's a rough cut but here you go:

1. Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA)
Love them or hate them, MCEA did well tonight in key races. Former President Bonnie Cullison is headed for a second place finish in District 19's delegate race. Teacher Eric Luedtke is winning the third delegate seat in District 14 even though he was not on the slate, he was outspent, and two of his mail pieces were sent to the wrong district!

MCEA appears to be getting wins in other races in which they invested resources, including Craig Rice's big win in District 1 over former Planning Board Chair Royce Hanson and Sharon Dooley. Equally interesting, Hans Riemer won and Duchy Trachtenberg lost in the at-large contest. Sen. Nancy King is currently leading Del. Saqib Ali, though that contest remains close with all ballots not yet counted. Rona Kramer similarly trails Karen Montgomery by an even smaller margin. I imagine Jon Gerson and Doug Prouty are smiling tonight.

2. Political Consultant David Moon
Hans Riemer didn't only get on the Council but is in second place for one of the four seats. Another triumph for the man who ran Nancy Navarro's successful campaign. In District 18, he worked for the vastly outspent incumbent slate with one appointed delegate and one delegate who won with less than a majority of the vote last time. All three delegates won.

3. Diversity
Not all minorities won but several solid candidates did very well and even some who lost came very close. Most notably, African-American Craig Rice will now represent the whitest district in the County. African-American County Executive Ike Leggett couldn't even draw a challenger despite facing a very difficult four years at the top--a real testament to his skills. No one also wanted to take on District 5 Councilmember Valerie Ervin.

Jay Hutchins ran a good race in District 19, though he lost to Asian-American Sam Arora. (I hope Jay runs again--a good person and candidate.) African-American Al Carr won election in his own right in District 18. On the District 15 slate, Asian-American Aruna Miller looks set to go to Annapolis. Asian-American Del. Susan Lee had her first hotly contested primary and won easily.

Three new gay and lesbian candidates will go to the House this Fall: Bonnie Cullison in District 19, Luke Clippinger in District 46, and Mary Washington in District 43 in Baltimore City. The last is far from least as she is the first African-American LGBT delegate and will be a powerful new advocate for equality. All incumbent gay and lesbian legislators won their primaries easily, often leading their tickets.

4. Marc Elrich and Valerie Ervin
Marc Elrich didn't just win but easily came in first by a large margin in the at-large council race despite having far less money than many other candidates. His formula clearly worked even better this year than in 2006 when anger about growth played to his strengths. Valerie Ervin couldn't draw a challenger and took a risk that paid off in endorsing former opponent Hans Riemer. No doubt both Marc and Valerie's names will be mentioned as potential successors to Ike.

5. Prince George's County
Kudos for to Montgomery's eastern neighbor for choosing hope and reform over more of the same with the nomination of Rushern Baker as the next county executive. Prince George's has tremendous strengths but I agree with Rushern that it needs leadership to take it to the next level. Hopefully, he can deliver.

1. The Washington Post
The grand dame and maker and sinker of political reputations with a single editorial just didn't have the mojo this year. Leaving aside the failure of their numerous editorials to carry Adrian Fenty back to office on the other side of Western Ave., they didn't do too well in Montgomery either.

In District 14, the Post endorsed Jodi Finkelstein but Eric Luedtke won. In District 16, Hrant Jamgochian got the nod and lost to Ariana Kelly. In District 18, Post-picks Dana Beyer and Vanessa Atterbeary lost to the incumbent slate. Cheryl Kagan is trailing by a bit in her Senate bid in District 17. Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg will not be returning to Rockville. The Post tried to anoint Royce Hanson in Council District 1 but Angry Dad will not be joining the Council.

The one race where the Post trumped MCEA is Roger Manno's big win in the Senate race in District 19, though one can't help but think that Mike Lenett helped pad Roger's margin of victory with an over the top negative campaign. And the last mailer, ugh. Memo to candidates: do not use the Holocaust in campaign mailers.

2. Duchy Trachtenberg
An old political saw is that "You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You." Duchy violated this wise maxim when she turned on her many 2006 endorsers while in office. She made some tough fiscal calls but failed to convince her supporters that they were the right ones. In short, she alienated her base but didn't grow a new one.

They say victory has many fathers but defeat is an orphan. However, I daresay Duchy's many opponents--starting with the unions--will claim this one. An odd campaign that didn't maximize its resources. Mind you, Duchy may gain some pleasure in knowing that her successors will face many of the same problems in terms of the budget and maintaining their support bases in the upcoming years. And she is confident enough to be certain she made the right choices.

3. George Leventhal
Not a loser in the strict sense of the word as George will make it back to the Council. However, virtually everyone had expected George to finish second due his wide array of endorsements and flush campaign budget. So even as he wins his race, George loses the expectations game--more critical in this case for someone who has been thinking about running for county executive. On the other hand, perhaps a chance to retool his style--and he's still in office, after all.

4. Ficker Democrats
Robin Ficker had a man crush on Saqib Ali after just one date but Saqib looks to have fallen short in his tight race against Nancy King. Ficker similarly was a one-man vociferous cheering section for Vanessa Atterbeary--perhaps unhelpful as Vanessa's family and friends were a much more attractive and nice group as I can attest from having met some of them during the campaign at various events.

Ficker baited Democrats about Craig Rice who cruised to primary victory and thus is well-positioned as strong for the general election battle against the only man ever banned from the Bullets' games who vows to protect the "Ag Preserve." Yup, Ficker will get to test his mettle in the general. We look forward to many more blog comments and illegal signs.