While the 2014 Maryland primaries are six months off — June 24, 2014 — candidates have been running hard for months.
We have a three-person race for the Democratic nomination for governor — I endorsed Heather Mizeur, the most progressive candidate in the race, months back — and I’ve now met with 7 of the 9 challenger-candidates for the three District 20 seats in the House of Delegates. I’ll make an early endorsement in that latter race — from my viewpoint as a local activist and small-potatoes elected official — and an endorsement in the now-contested Montgomery County Council District 5 race.
But first, there’s no contest, so far as I’m concerned, in the race for Montgomery County Executive: I’m with incumbent Ike Leggett all the way. I do wish his opponent Phil Andrews, currently District 3 council rep, well. The less said about the return ambitions of former County Executive Doug Duncan, the better.
Montgomery County Council District 5
Silver Spring civic activist Evan Glass declared for the District 5 county-council seat earlier this fall. I held back from any endorsement in that race because incumbent Valerie Ervin had yet to declare. Valerie announced on December 10 that she’ll be stepping down in January — the council will appoint a successor to fill out her term, through December 2014 — clearing the way for me to endorse Evan, who is astute, experienced, progressive, and full of promise. My statement:
Evan Glass is the next-generation leader that we in Montgomery County need, to build consensus around an agenda that advances education, environmentalism, affordable housing, transportation, jobs, and growth. I’m delighted to endorse Evan for Montgomery County Council, District 5.
I had attended Terrill North’s campaign kick-off, for an at-large seat on the county council, back in September, and I donated to his campaign. Terrill has a strong resume and is developing as a candidate. With Valerie’s announcement, Terrill chose to jump into the District 5 race, but I have to stand by my endorsement of Evan. Evan Glass is the right person for the job.
Maryland House of Delegates District 20
“Right person for the job” also describes both District 20 delegate incumbents, Sheila Hixson, whom I have grown to appreciate and admire immensely in recent years, and Tom Hucker, who has been a force for progress in the state house. With his growing seniority, Tom should be able to accomplish even more in a next term, on issues such as a increase in the minimum wage (and other steps to address economic disparities and social needs) and a much-needed reform of our state’s drug laws. (I favor a legalize, regulate, and tax approach to marijuana.) Plus Takoma Park and other Maryland cities rely on him as an advocate when it comes to state revenues and other municipal needs. I hope Tom sticks with the state legislature and does not jump into the county-council race, though he’d quite likely win, given the greater contribution he can make at the state level.
I’m going to endorse one challenger-candidate to join Sheila and Tom — who should both easily win reelection since the large number of challengers will split the vote for the third seat — although I expect I’ll endorse a second before too long. (There’s no rule that says I have to stick with one.)
I endorse David Moon.
David Moon knows his way around campaigns and state politics and the issues, of course with the progressive take that we expect from all the Democratic primary candidates. He’s a strong strategist and a great communicator, and a plus: He lives in Takoma Park.
And the others? (Alphabetically:) Justin Chappell, D’Juan Hopewell, Will Jawando, Jonathan Shurberg, Will Smith, and Darian Unger are all qualified and would likely do a stand-out job as D20 delegate.
Among the challenger-candidates other than David Moon, I do like best D’Juan Hopewell and Will Smith.
D’Juan Hopewell‘s life story is inspiring. His accomplishments (including working the tough sale of the Dream Act and Marriage equality to not-typically-progressive church communities) are impressive. He is dedicated and personable. His potential as a public servant is limitless. Yet I do have reservations. D’Juan’s local presence is not strong, certainly weaker than those of highly qualified rivals who grew up in, or have long been active in, the Silver Spring area such as, well, all the other candidates I named above, including Will Smith.
Will Smith‘s resume catalogs the many ways he has delivered on, and not just spoken about, a commitment to District 20 and Montgomery County. His record of public service, as an Obama Administration appointee and Naval Reserve officer, extends beyond our immediate area, and as 2010 campaign coordinator for the then-incumbent D20 legislators (who were reelected), he clearly knows his way around electoral politics.
I look forward to continuing to hear from, and to interact with, all the D20 delegate candidates. As the race develops, I’ll consider another challenger endorsement. For now, I hope this helps you in your own consideration of the 2014 Democratic primary contests!