Showing posts with label Election 2024. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Election 2024. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Montgomery County Board of Elections votes to not follow anyone on social media

Montgomery County Board of Elections
President David A. Naimon

The Montgomery County Board of Elections voted unanimously yesterday to not follow anyone on social media, part of a new social media policy the board passed via that vote. While the board encourages residents, voters and political candidates to follow its accounts on social media, commissioners decided that its own accounts should not follow anyone, and should not "like" social media posts. The board said it made the policy change to emphasize its commitment to free and fair elections, and equal treatment of all candidates and ballot question debates. 

“As a non-partisan organization, the Board must ensure that all candidates, political parties and voters are treated fairly and that no candidate or supporter or opponent of a ballot question receives or is perceived to receive preferential treatment,” Board President David A. Naimon said in a statement after the vote. “The mission of the Board is simple - - free, fair, and transparent elections for all candidates and voters.”

For official information about the 2024 elections, including how to register to vote and/or volunteer to serve as an election worker, follow the Montgomery County Board of Elections on X at @777vote (, on Facebook at, or on Instagram at Information also continues to be available on the BOE website at, and by phone at 240-777-8500.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Robin Ficker announces first TV ad buy

Robin Ficker
, a Republican candidate for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Ben Cardin (D), is hitting the airwaves for the first time in the 2024 election season, his campaign announced yesterday. Entitled, "Logic," the ad will first air in the Baltimore and Salisbury television markets. The ad will continue to run on TV through Christmas, Ficker campaign manager Dean Cavaretta said in a statement. 

"I’ve had a lot of political success at the grassroots level, and now I am looking to turn this into a successful campaign," said Ficker, who was previously elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in the 1970s. "That’s why I am running a serious, professional campaign to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate." 

Ficker, a resident of Montgomery County, is currently the only prominent GOP candidate with statewide name recognition in the race. Retired Brigadier General John Teichert, an Air Force veteran who resides in Anne Arundel County, told Maryland Matters last month that he would be entering the contest. Maryland Matters reports that Cecil County Delegate Kevin Hornberger is also mulling a run for the GOP nomination, but that he is giving himself until December 31 to make his decision.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Dan Cox, endorsed by Donald Trump in 2022, enters Maryland 6th District race for U.S. Congress

Dan Cox, alongside wife Valerie,
announces his run for the open Congressional
seat in Maryland's 6th District

After several months of deliberation, former Maryland state delegate Dan Cox has officially entered the Republican race for U.S. Congress in the 6th Congressional District. Cox enters the race with the highest statewide name recognition of any candidate in any party in the race, thanks to his 2022 run for governor, and his high-profile legal action against former governor Larry Hogan's pandemic restrictions and lockdown. The Frederick attorney gained national attention when his gubernatorial campaign was endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Cox's entry closely follows the announcement by Democrat April McLain Delaney that she, too, is seeking the seat being vacated by David Trone, who is running for U.S. Senate. Delaney's husband, John, held the seat before Trone. April Delaney has had her own lengthy career in the federal and nonprofit sectors. Cox and Delaney immediately became the biggest names in the race upon announcing their candidacies. 

"We as a nation are facing challenges like other times in American history," Cox said in a speech announcing his entry into the race. "The decisions made in the halls of Washington, D.C. will genuinely impact our individual freedom, our families, businesses, our jobs, and schools." In his announcement, Cox highlighted several issues he will focus on in his campaign: immigration, the fentanyl overdose epidemic, America's more than $30 trillion in debt, and protecting Constitutional freedoms. Acknowledging the wealth the Delaneys have brought to past campaigns, Cox said he expects to compete against "well funded opponents."

The race may be closer than it will look on the campaign account ledgers. Delaney will have plenty of campaign cash, but the haul also comes with John Delaney's baggage. Many in Maryland's 6th District had the experience of their homes or farms being foreclosed on by the bank during the "Great Recession" of 2008. They'll likely want to know more about John Delaney's ties to Aeon Financial, a debt-collecting firm with an "extra-vicious business model," that aggressively foreclosed on homeowners during that financial crisis. Over 1000 of those foreclosures were in Maryland. Delaney's CapitalSource bank loaned Aeon $30 million in 2009, but the congressman denied he was aware of the expenditure - - despite being the CEO of the company at the time.

After its initial probe into Aeon and Delaney's connection to it, The Washington Post - whose editorial board strongly supported John Delaney over the years - mysteriously avoided the topic when covering Delaney's White House run in 2019. Cox could find success reminding voters of the Aeon scandal and Forbes magazine's branding of John Delaney as a "loan shark" in the largely working-and-middle-class 6th District. For that matter, so might some of April Delaney's Democratic primary opponents. 

Will Trump again endorse Cox in this race? That will be more of a question for the GOP primary, as former Washington County state delegate Neil Parrott makes his third run for Trone's seat, after coming surprisingly close to defeating the Total Wine founder in the 2022 Congressional race.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Maryland Governor Wes Moore endorses Angela Alsobrooks in U.S. Senate race

Maryland Democrats suddenly have a barnburner of a primary race on their hands in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Senator Ben Cardin in the 2024 election. Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks' candidacy got a twin jolt of energy when primary opponent Will Jawando dropped out of the race and endorsed her, and Maryland Governor Wes Moore unexpectedly weighed in on the contest in her favor. Moore appeared free to move once Jawando, a friend, ended his campaign. But Moore's endorsement of Alsobrooks is a risky political move, as Alsobrooks' top rival David Trone is a wealthy fundraiser who counts former president Barack Obama among his political allies.

Trone not only handily funds his own campaigns with his Total Wine fortune, but is a powerhouse fundraiser for Democrats nationally, including Obama. He has hosted Obama for fundraisers at his Montgomery County home in the past. But Obama endorsed Moore in his successful 2022 gubernatorial campaign, and Moore's name entered the 2028 presidential race discussion before he had even been sworn in as Maryland's first Black governor in January. Along with Moore's central casting persona, and stellar resume, the fallout for the rookie governor may be minimal.

The Moore and Jawando tag-team endorsement has potentially united the Black vote in the race behind Alsobrooks. She leads the second-wealthiest majority-Black jurisdiction in the nation, and the wealthiest - Charles County - is also in Maryland. The Black vote is critical to victory in the state, although that didn't help Donna Edwards in her U.S. Senate race against eventual winner Chris Van Hollen. Trone is popular among independents, and among the growing number of Republicans who switch to the Democratic party for primary elections in Maryland. Even many conservatives respect his business acumen and success.

Former state legislator Robin Ficker is the only current Republican candidate in the race with any statewide name recognition. Former Gov. Larry Hogan was well-positioned to run - and had an outside chance to win. But he chose to focus on a potential presidential campaign instead, and remains among those rumored to be under consideration for the No Labels independent ticket, should it materialize next year. Fantasy GOP candidates like Cal Ripken and Pat Sajak have shown no interest in running, and the Republican farm team is virtually non-existent. The absence of a prominent MAGA Republican candidate in the race means there is a wide lane open for a Hogan-style moderate GOP candidate to enter the race.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Will Jawando ends campaign for Maryland U.S. Senate seat

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large) announced this morning that he is ending his campaign for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of Ben Cardin (D), who will retire in January 2025. In a statement released by his campaign, Jawando said that "after a lot of thought and prayer and late nights with my wife Michele, I’ve decided that it’s time to take a step back from the race. Not because we believe any less in the cause that started it. The fights we talked about in this campaign are and always will be the fights of my life. But after thinking long and hard about this race in particular, I frankly no longer see a path for myself to victory. And because I have so much respect for my loyal supporters, my constituents in Montgomery County, and my loving wife and children, I cannot remain in a race I do not believe I can win."

Jawando's exit is disappointing for progressive voters who supported his campaign. "I am sorry for those who will find this news disappointing – believe me, I am also disappointed," Jawando said. To his supporters, and the local and state-level elected officials who endorsed him, the councilman said, "I am so proud to have earned your support. I look forward to fighting alongside you each and every day. Thank you again to every supporter of my campaign, it truly means the world to me that you believed in me, my message, and our vision."

Barring a late entry by Congressman Jamie Raskin or another established progressive candidate, Jawando's exit is most likely to benefit Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. While many - including a few journalists - have questioned Alsobrooks' progressive bonafides based on her law enforcement record, she is still considered to stand to the left of her biggest rival, Congressman David Trone (D - 6th District). Police reform and transparency were niche issues for Jawando in the race, and those will likely fade into the background now that neither Trone nor Alsobrooks are likely to raise them going forward. 

While Jawando is folding his Senate campaign, he assured supporters he won't be stepping away from politics. "I am not going anywhere!" he said. "I will continue serving the people of Maryland no matter what." Some observers have theorized that, should a referendum barring Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) from seeking a third term appear on the 2024 ballot and pass, Jawando might be a candidate for that top County office in 2026. An open executive seat is likely to be pursued by Jawando, Councilmember Evan Glass (D - At-Large), and Councilmember Andrew Friedson (D - District 1), among other notable Democrats. As Jawando signed off in his statement today, "This is not the end – it is only the beginning."

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Will Jawando gives auto workers "full support" as strike spreads to Maryland, Kentucky

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large), a candidate for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Senator Ben Cardin (D), has issued a statement supporting auto workers as the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike expands to plants in Maryland and Kentucky. Workers at the Mack Trucks facility in Hagerstown, Maryland have walked off the job, and UAW members did the same at a key Ford truck manufacturing plant in Louisville, Kentucky yesterday. The strike is now in its fourth week, as America's three largest auto manufacturers continue to resist meeting union demands, despite earning massive profits through price gouging since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020.

"Maryland’s autoworkers are joining their brothers and sisters at the UAW and rejecting an unfair deal," Jawando said in his statement. "They have my full support, and I’m proud of their efforts. 

"We’re seeing what a strong labor movement looks like -- and what it can accomplish. From teachers to nurses, writers, custodians, and hotel employees, workers are showing the power of solidarity. They’ve secured better wages and benefits, protections against discrimination, and more.

"Labor and unions need our support, now more than ever. While CEOs are bringing in record profits, workers are feeling the pressure of rising costs and stagnant wages. Fixing that imbalance isn’t just good policy: it’s a moral need. 

"On the County Council, I’ve made economic justice a priority and fought for better wages and a fairer tax code. We need an advocate for those issues in the US Senate, and that’s why I’m in this race.

"I stand with the labor movement fighting for better conditions for working people. I think the rich have enough representation in our government."

"Put me in the ring," Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Robin Ficker says in first digital ad

Robin Ficker
, a 2024 Republican candidate for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of retiring Senator Ben Cardin (D), has released the first digital ad of his campaign. "Put me in the ring" features the former state legislator in the square circle, in scenes around the state, and showing off a few boxing moves at the end. Issues highlighted in the ad include failing schools, rising crime, and the fact that "good jobs are not coming to Maryland," as Governor Wes Moore (D) recently admitted in a speech in which he warned that the state does not currently have sufficient economic growth or revenue to support the agenda he would like to implement.

Ficker's ad also recalls his friendship with boxing legend Muhammed Ali, who taught him to "use my voice for good, and never give up." He offers his record of successful ballot questions to limit tax increases, and the number of terms Montgomery County elected officials can serve, as concrete examples of that. After castigating the establishment leaders of both major parties, Ficker concludes the ad by saying, "Put me in the ring, Maryland, and I'll be your champion."

By far the candidate with the most statewide name recognition to enter the GOP primary race to date, Ficker says the new ad will be the first in a series. "I served in the United States Army and the Maryland Legislature," the Boyds resident said in a statement. "I trained with Muhammed Ali. I marched for freedom with Dr. MLK Jr.. I’ve defended thousands of men, women, and children in court. I’ve been a small business owner, and Marylanders have cast 2.5 million votes for my referenda to term limit politicians and cap tax increases. People know me as a fighter. I am all Maryland, all the time. It’s time Maryland had a fighter in their corner in the United States Senate to restore logic to government. Put me in the ring, Maryland!"

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Hans Riemer endorses Will Jawando in Maryland U.S. Senate race

Former Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer has endorsed current Councilmember Will Jawando in the Maryland U.S. Senate race for the seat of retiring Senator Ben Cardin (D). Jawando and Riemer served together on the Council from 2018 to 2022; Jawando is now in his second Council term. "In my many years of knowing Will Jawando, going back to our work together supporting President Obama, and my four years serving side-by-side with him on the Montgomery County Council, I have always been impressed by his devotion to public service and dedication to meeting the needs of his most vulnerable constituents," Riemer said in a statement this afternoon.

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of my friend and former colleague @HansRiemer," Jawando tweeted in announcing Riemer's support. "Hans has spent his career fighting for so many of the same priorities my campaign is centered upon. I look forward to working with him on delivering for the state of Maryland."

Photo courtesy Will Jawando for U.S. Senate

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood endorses Will Jawando for Maryland U.S. Senate seat

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando's latest endorsement for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of Ben Cardin (D) comes from a federal lawmaker already on Capitol Hill. Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood announced this morning that she is backing Jawando over his leading opponents in the Democratic primary, Congressman David Trone and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. "I am excited to announce my support of Will Jawando for the United States Senate," Underwood said in a statement. "For nearly two decades, Will has been a mentor and friend. He's a tremendous leader who cares deeply about the lives and well-being of all Maryland residents. Will is an effective, disciplined, and inspiring legislator who is prepared for the challenges ahead. I am proud to endorse him."

A registered nurse, Underwood gained national attention by winning a Republican seat once held by Congressman Randy Hultgren and the disgraced former House speaker, convicted child molester Dennis Hastert. Underwood has the 16th-most-liberal voting record in the U.S. House according to VoteView, likely a winning data point with Jawando, who is positioning himself as the true progressive in the Senate race.

"I am honored to receive the endorsement of Congresswoman Lauren Underwood," Jawando said in a statement. "She is in the top echelon of our nation’s public servants and tirelessly fights for her constituents. I have had the honor of knowing the Congresswoman for many years and know her to be a tireless leader for Illinois."

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Will Jawando endorsed by Baltimore, Prince George's officials in Maryland U.S. Senate race

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando picked up the endorsements of four more Maryland elected officials in his campaign for the U.S. Senate seat of Ben Cardin (D), who will retire in January 2025. Baltimore City Councilmember Kristerfer Burnett, Prince George’s County Councilmembers Krystal Oriadha and Wala Blegay, and Riverdale Park Town Councilmember Karen Mejia all put their support behind Jawando, who is positioning himself as the true progressive in the highly-competitive Democratic primary. Jawando's leading primary opponents are Total Wine founder and Congressman David Trone (D - MD 6th District), and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Convincing three more Prince George's officials to support him over their own county executive is a coup for Jawando, as Alsobrooks is facing questions about her newfound support for criminal justice reform, relative to her own prosecutorial record and statements during her service as Prince George's County State's Attorney. Jawando is seeking to follow the insurgent path of new Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, who stunned many by blowing past moderate establishment figures like Comptroller Peter Franchot to capture Government House in November 2022. 

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of these four fantastic public servants," Jawando said in a statement Wednesday. "This campaign is based upon the belief that we can build a shared prosperity for all Marylanders, and with their support, achieving this dream is increasingly possible. They represent the next generation of leaders in our state who are stepping up and doing their part to build a better future where no one has to be worse off for their neighbor to do better."

"Over the coming weeks and months, my campaign will continue to expand into both Prince George’s and Baltimore city and county. The race is early, and anyone who tells you they know how things will shake out is mistaken. I have gained a sense from speaking with residents across our state that there is a deep frustration with the status quo, and they are looking for a U.S. Senator who can deliver for their communities. This is what I have done in Montgomery County, and it’s why I am running for the Senate."

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Former Frederick County Councilmember Kai Hagen endorses Will Jawando in Maryland U.S. Senate race

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando has been endorsed by former Frederick County Councilmember Kai Hagen (D) in the Maryland U.S. Senate race, his campaign announced this morning. Hagen has served as a Frederick County Commissioner and At-Large County Councilmember, as well as a youth athletics coach and community activist. He was a candidate for Frederick County Executive last year, but lost to fellow Democrat Jessica Fitzwater in the primary; Fitzwater went on to win a close general election contest against Republican Michael Hough.

The tight election result reflects the growing number of Democrats moving into the once-solid-red Frederick County. Its increasingly-purple downcounty, and fast-growing population, make it essential campaigning territory for candidates of both parties. Therein lies the value of a veteran Frederick politician's endorsement for Jawando, and one that may carry weight in the primary race, in particular.

"I've dedicated my career to many of the issues that matter most to Marylanders: protecting our environment, combating climate change, fighting sprawl while supporting thriving communities with affordable housing, public transit and great schools," Hagen said in a statement this morning. "I've had the pleasure of knowing and working with Will Jawando for a number of years, and I know he will put these important issues front and center. Will’s work on the Montgomery County Council to address and expand affordable housing in a meaningful way has been outstanding. He's an outspoken defender of our environment and public health, and I am confident that a U.S. Senator Jawando will work courageously and smartly to tackle our climate crisis, for our children and all future generations. I look forward to supporting Will in the Senate as he works to build the best possible future for our state and country."

"I am honored to receive former Councilmember Kai Hagen’s endorsement," Jawando said. "Kai’s leadership in Frederick County is remarkable and demonstrative of the best version of public service. Frederick County is home to gorgeous natural beauty, wonderful people, and historic cities, and we must do everything we can to ensure the people of Frederick County are listened to and represented well. I look forward to working with Kai to expand my campaign’s infrastructure in Frederick County and ensure that every Marylander hears our message of shared prosperity loud and clear."

Photo courtesy

Friday, August 4, 2023

Delegate Joe Vogel to brief Rockville Mayor & Council after not receiving invite to June meeting

Maryland State Delegate Joe Vogel (D - District 17) will brief Rockville's Mayor and Council on the results of this year's legislative session at their meeting this coming Monday night, August 7, 2023 at 7:00 PM. Vogel requested this opportunity to address the Mayor and Council after failing to receive an emailed invitation to their June 12, 2023 meeting, at which the District 17 delegation was scheduled to deliver this briefing. "After a thorough investigation, Rockville’s Information Technology Department confirmed the issue resulted from a glitch with Microsoft Office 365," a City staff report states regarding the incident. "City staff have since confirmed that Delegate Vogel is receiving emails from the City and the technical issue has been corrected." 

Vogel is currently running for U.S. Congress to represent Maryland's 6th Congressional District. That seat is being vacated by Congressman David Trone (D), who is running for U.S. Senate. The District 17 delegation briefings to the Mayor and Council have historically been part of an effort to coordinate City priorities with legislative action in Annapolis.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Prince George's County officials endorse Will Jawando for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando announced four new endorsements from elected officials in Prince George's County this morning, in his campaign for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Ben Cardin in January 2025. Laurel City Councilmembers Martin Mitchell and Carl Dewalt, Colmar Manor Mayor Monica Casañas, and Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez joined Jawando for a press conference in Laurel to make the announcement. The Democratic electorate in Prince George's is key to victory in any statewide race.

Councilmember Mitchell zeroed in on a central Jawando campaign theme in his endorsement statement. “From his work on the County Council to stabilize rents to his commitment to introduce a Universal Basic Income program in the U.S. Senate, it is clear to me that Will Jawando is the only true progressive in this race," Mitchell said. "We need a new generation of leaders in every part of our government — ones that will prioritize voting rights, action on climate change, and a vision of equity for all. That’s why I’m proud to stand by Will in his race to be Maryland’s next U.S. Senator.”

Mayor Casañas also echoed Jawando's effort to claim the progressive lane in the race, which has been left open by the decision of Congressman Jamie Raskin to pass on the 2024 Senate contest.  “As a community activist, I know that the only option in this race is Will Jawando," she said. "I have had the honor of working alongside Will Jawando on the Montgomery County Council to promote and advance English literacy in adult communities. Will is a partner in building equity and opportunity for marginalized communities and that’s exactly what he will do in the U.S. Senate.”

Jawando's recent role in the passing of rent stabilization in Montgomery County was mentioned by several of the endorsers, including Councilmember Dewalt. “I’ve spent a career working on behalf of the citizens of Laurel, both as a police officer and now as the Councilmember for Ward 1," Dewalt said. "Will has delivered for his constituents in Montgomery County time and time again; his efficacy as a legislator is unparalleled, look only to his recent success in passing rent stabilization in the largest county in Maryland. I look forward to working with him when he is elected to be our next U.S. Senator.”

“I am so proud to earn the endorsements of Councilmembers Mitchell and Dewalt and Mayors Casañas and Benitez," Jawando said in a statement. While I have been honored to serve on the Montgomery Council Council for the past 5 years, the truth is that there’s so much more to Maryland in addition to Montgomery County – and my expanding progressive coalition spans across the state. Prince George’s County is a beautiful bastion of diversity, economic development, and some of Maryland’s best.

“I intend to win this race by bringing together all the communities that make our state great, spanning across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic lines. These endorsements today help demonstrate our campaign’s strength in this regard, and over the next few months, I will continue to show that this message resonates with all Marylanders.

“As we continue to expand my coalition, I plan to travel all across the state and take no vote for granted. Our vision for Maryland’s future will lift everyone up, no matter your ZIP Code. I look forward to working alongside all of these excellent public servants between now and election day.”

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Will Jawando reports raising over $525,000 in Maryland U.S. Senate race

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large) has raised over $525,000 in 60 days for his Maryland U.S. Senate bid, his campaign announced Friday. The haul represented donations from over 1,300 individual donors, most of whom are Maryland residents, his campaign noted. Jawando faces an uphill battle in the money race, squaring off against self-funding multimillionaire Congressman David Trone, and Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who touted a $1.7 million war chest ten days ago. As a result, Jawando is positioning himself to the left of those frontrunners, as Congressman Jamie Raskin successfully did against Trone in the 2016 Maryland 8th Congressional District race. 

Raskin recently announced he would pass on the U.S. Senate race, much to Trone's relief. Jawando also sees Raskin's decision as clearing the left lane for his campaign.

"Over the past few months, a number of my good friends have speculated about running for Senate, but now we know there will be only one progressive in the race," Jawando said in a statement Friday. "I am proud to be that candidate, and grateful for all the support we have gained so far..There may be other candidates in this race who have more personal wealth and establishment support, but I am proud to be running as the only grassroots, true blue progressive. I couldn’t be more excited about where we are and I’m so grateful to everyone who donated."

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Dan Cox on Maryland 6th Congressional District filing: It wasn't me

It's rare when there's a bizarre story in Maryland politics. It's even more rare when a campaign filing with the Federal Election Commission for the Maryland 6th Congressional District race can elicit hearty cheers of approval among both the Republican and Democratic bases. The story of former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox supposedly filing Form 2 with the FEC in that race manages to score on both counts. After media outlets began reporting the filing, Cox took to social media to declare that he had not filed the form, and was reporting the imposter filing to the FEC for "fraud."

Many observers had mentioned Cox as a potential candidate once incumbent David Trone declared he would give up his seat to pursue Ben Cardin's seat in the U.S. Senate. The initial report of Cox actually filing likely thrilled GOP voters who are still strongly in the tank for Donald Trump, who endorsed Cox in his 2022 bid for Maryland governor. But for a Democratic Party that hasn't yet been able to secure a slam-dunk candidate for the 6th District race, in terms of name recognition or ability to finance an expensive campaign, the entry of Cox was likely seen as a boon. Democratic candidate Joe Vogel of Montgomery County's Twitter response echoing former Gov. Larry Hogan's Cox attack line, "QAnon Whack Job," summed up that sense of a candidate who could be quickly and negatively defined in a district that a Republican still can't win without some support from independent voters.

But Cox throwing water on the celebration before it could even really heat up has generated the biggest mystery in Maryland politics since Roy McGrath. If Cox didn't file the form, who did, and why? Cox has since implicated a Twitter bot account holder as the possible culprit, but he or she is yet to be identified.

One Republican who isn't disappointed Cox disavowed the FEC filing is Maryland Del. Neil Parrott. He lost to Trone in the 6th by 9 points in 2022. With Cox not on the primary ballot, and no one of Trone's moderate image and wealth on the Democratic side, Parrott has to be liking his chances this time around. And turnout among Republicans in the 6th in 2024 should be high.While many American voters have said they don't want to choose a president from a rematch between Trump and Joe Biden, they've made equally clear that they know which of the two they will support in such a rerun of a contest.

But for all the talk of filing, none of the names mentioned in this article so far even appear on the official Maryland Board of Elections candidate list for the 6th District race. As of this writing, there are five candidates listed: George Gluck (D) of Rockville, Stephen R. McDow II (D) of Monrovia, Chris Hyser (R) of Thurmont, Todd A. Puglisi (R) of Germantown and Mariela Roca (R) of Frederick.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Will Jawando endorsed by Westminster mayor in Maryland U.S. Senate race

Westminster, Maryland
Mayor Mona Becker

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large) has been endorsed by the mayor of Westminster in the Maryland U.S. Senate race, his campaign announced today. Mayor Mona Becker is a member of the faculty, and serves as chair of the Science department, at Westminster High School. Jawando is seeking the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Ben Cardin (D). 

“I am proud to endorse Will Jawando’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate," Becker said in a statement this morning. "All across the country, we have seen vicious attacks on the LGBTQI+ community coming from Republican politicians, and it is putting our community in direct danger. We need a progressive champion in the Senate representing Maryland who will fight like hell for our rights and not let our country slip back away from progress. I am confident that Will is the right person for the job, and I am excited to help him win this race.”

“I have been lucky to partner with Mayor Mona Becker in my capacity as Councilmember, and I am deeply honored that she has decided to endorse my candidacy for the Senate," Jawando said in a statement. "Mayor Becker leads Westminster with compassion, dignity, and grit. From defending LGBTQI+ rights to protecting our environment to so much more, we share the same bold progressive vision for the future of this country. I look forward to working alongside her to build a brighter tomorrow and represent the state of Maryland in Congress.”

Becker's endorsement may give Jawando a boost in the Democratic primary in the western part of the state next year. Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) has been winning the endorsement side of the contest for Cardin's seat in the early stage of the race, having picked up the backing of influential Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer (D). Other key endorsements Alsobrooks has received include those of Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Baltimore-area Congressman Kweisi Mfume, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, State Senator Anthony Muse, Town of Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin and former Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.

One prize endorsement observers are awaiting the announcement of is that of Maryland Governor Wes Moore (D), who has established relationships with both Jawando and Alsobrooks. A Moore endorsement could raise Jawando's profile statewide tremendously, or seal the race for Alsobrooks, whose toughest competiton so far is ultrawealthy Congressman David Trone (D). Maryland 8th District Congressman Jamie Raskin (D) could scatter all of this political calculation to the wind, however, should he decide to enter the race this summer. Raskin has a national profile, energizes progressives, and has beaten big-spending Trone before at the ballot box.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando enters Maryland U.S. Senate race

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D - At-Large) is the first candidate to enter the race to fill outgoing Maryland U.S. Senator Ben Cardin's seat. Jawando, an author and veteran of the Barack Obama administration, had previously run for U.S. Congress before winning his council seat in 2018. While the race for the coveted seat is expected to draw many Democratic entrants, Jawando caught his potential rivals flatfooted Tuesday, when he formally announced his campaign one day after Cardin announced he would not seek reelection in 2024. Despite many signs and rumors that Cardin would bow out, only Jawando had a campaign and announcement video immediately prepared to go, getting a jump on fundraising and media attention.

Jawando centered his announcement on disputing the idea that "if some people get ahead, everyone else has to be left behind." He promised to run on the goal of bringing a "shared prosperity" to all Marylanders. Jawando cited some of the issues he has worked on during his four-and-a-half years on the County Council, including sponsoring a rent stabilization bill that would be more restrictive to rent increases than a competing Council bill supported by some of his colleagues, and his high-profile campaign for criminal justice and policing reforms.

Entering the race just months after being reelected to a second term on the Council, Jawando will be one of the most-intriguing candidates to watch. His fate will largely be decided by what the Democratic electorate is seeking in this election cycle. Will the race follow the same path as the year when Chris Van Hollen won his U.S. Senate seat, with deference to the veteran, center-left, well-financed politician whose "turn" it is for promotion to the next-highest seat, at the expense of younger, more-progressive candidates of color?

If so, U.S. Congressman David Trone (D - 6th District) will be in the driver's seat. He is expected by many political observers to enter the Senate race, and the Total Wine founder is known above all else for his willingness to spend vast sums of his personal fortune. As a hefty fundraiser for national Democrats, Trone will have many a boldfaced name to campaign for him. And with a centrist profile, he has repeatedly defeated Republicans in the 6th, something the Democratic establishment would like in a state where a moderate Republican can be competitive in a statewide race.

But let's not forget that former Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot was a similar, formidable centrist at the starting line of the 2022 gubernatorial race. He had the highest statewide profile, the biggest fundraising potential, and after building a bipartisan image with friend Gov. Larry Hogan (R) over eight years, was widely expected to easily clinch the primary and general election victories.

Virtually no one had heard of Wes Moore at that time. A young, bestselling author with no experience in public office, Moore quickly garned attention, straw poll victories, and - soon thereafter - money and big name endorsements across the state. It turned out that Democratic primary voters were looking for a fresh face, and an inspiring message, not the "safe" candidate whose turn it was next.

Of course, Moore brought a wealth of experience in international finance, and a Hollywood-ready resume of overcoming personal setbacks and service to his country as a combat veteran. The thin presidential bench national Democrats are facing in coming election cycles helped Moore immensely, too, as he has instantly given hope to many that they have another Obama on their hands. Like Jawando, Moore was also in the Obama administration orbit that has launched so many Democratic candidates to election victory in recent years. 

Jawando faces a number of challenges that Moore did not, however. Moore did not have a voting record in public office, allowing him to be a blank slate to supporters, and to never get too specific in his agenda prior to being sworn in as governor. Jawando has drawn much criticism from Republicans and moderate Democratic and unaffiliated voters for what they view his sustained attacks on law enforcement. His established friendship with Moore could be a potential edge, but would Moore endorse Jawando over more-powerful Democratic rivals? And can Moore ignore the fact that, were Jawando to win, the councilman would be on an Obama-like trajectory to run for the White House in 2028, the same year many expect Moore to be a frontrunner in the presidential race, and in the same lane as Moore?

One certainty: no candidate is going to win this Senate seat in a cakewalk. Everyone knows that if a Democrat wins the seat, it will essentially be his or hers for life. Even a governor can only serve two terms in Maryland. This is literally the opportunity of a lifetime, and it won't come again until Van Hollen retires, which could be decades from now.

Every Democratic official with any profile in the state has to be considering a run. Congressman Jamie Raskin (D - 8th District) had long been considered the frontrunner for this Senate seat. He has a passionate following among progressive Democrats that allowed him to defeat Big Money Trone to win his seat. The only uncertainty for Raskin would be if he is too progressive for a statewide race. Although he has announced his cancer is in remission, he also acknowledged that the treatments have left him exhausted, and he has to weigh whether or not he is ready to enter a tough statewide race at this moment - versus an easy reelection to his current seat in Congress, with his desirable committee assignments placing him in a powerful position if Democrats win back the House next year.

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks is expected to enter the Senate race. Her hiring of former Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan's campaign manager suggests she may be positioning herself as a more moderate candidate. Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski could be a formidable entry, as well, with the Baltimore machine and appeal to younger voters among his advantages.

The Republican side of the race at this hour can only be described by one word: bleak. Former Gov. Larry Hogan said yesterday that even his wife is begging him to run for the Senate seat, but once again, professed to have no interest in serving on Capitol Hill. Trone and Olszewski would like nothing more than for Hogan to enter the race, as Democrats would be under pressure to shift to the center.

If the Republican bench for the 2026 gubernatorial race sends shivers down the GOP establishment's spine, be sure you have smelling salts in hand before querying them about the GOP U.S. Senate bench. Hogan and former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele are the only Republicans capable of running a competitive race if the election were held today, and Steele lost running for this seat in 2006, albeit in the destructive, radioactive shadow of George W. Bush. 

One has to wonder if this is Hogan's last thumbing of the nose at his own party. Notorious for failing to support Maryland GOP candidates in the 2018 and 2022 elections, Hogan is now the one man standing between possible victory and sure defeat for the party in the U.S. Senate race. The irony is that Hogan has a far better chance of winning the Senate seat than the White House, whether that be as a Republican or No Labels party nominee. 

Were there to be no Donald Trump-aligned candidate in the race, Hogan protege Kelly Schulz might have a chance, having received some statewide exposure during her unsuccessful race for governor last year. Schulz fell victim to GOP voters' preference for the Trump-endorsed Dan Cox - but also to her patron Hogan's presidential ambitions. When Hogan should have been barnstorming the state with Schulz in the final weeks of the primary race, he was out-of-state campaigning for president. But the Senate question may be moot for Schulz, as some pundits are noting she could be a formidable candidate for Trone's congressional seat if he pursues the Senate race.

Beyond Hogan, there is mostly wishful thinking. The Cal Ripken/Pat Sajak rumors are as predictable at the start of election cycles as trying Rex Chapman at point guard was once a fixture of Washington Januaries. Dan Bongino? He would surely appeal to the Trumpist base in Maryland, but would find it challenging to win the general election after his outspoken support of The Donald in recent years. 

Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich would be highly-qualified for the office, and is more popular among Maryland Republicans than Hogan. Does he want to take on a brutal campaign like this? 

It's telling that even articles about Hogan declining to run don't mention other possible GOP candidates besides Steele. There's no getting around the fact that the Maryland GOP has failed to promote and elevate some of the most promising potential candidates in the party, particularly those who are female and non-white. Some have since left politics - or the state entirely, for redder pastures elsewhere. 

The only hope for the GOP, aside from Hogan coming to his senses and entering the race, is for a charismatic and reasonably-wealthy outsider to emerge from nowhere. There's a strong chance the economy could be in recession or worse by next year. A slow-motion, multicar pileup of failing banks appears to be in the realm of possibility, as are higher gas prices and exhaustion over a Ukraine war that seems to be designed to go on for years to the financial advantage of defense firms, while hundreds of thousands of troops and civilians die on both sides in the meantime.

For now, Will Jawando is coming off as the best-organized of the potential candidates, if nothing else. He doesn't even have to worry about claiming a lane at the moment, as aside from socialist Jerome Segal, he has the entire road to himself. While the other big name Democrats scramble to assemble their campaigns and launch events, Jawando can continue to vacuum up TV time and pundit chatter. 

Photo courtesy Will Jawando for Maryland