Early voting begins October 25, less than a month away. WDC members have been even busier than usual as we approach what many are calling the most consequential election of our lives. Not only do we need to elect the Democratic ticket in Maryland, including Montgomery County; we also have a good chance to take back the U.S. House of Representatives and a long shot at regaining U.S. Senate control.
We continue to phone-bank, canvass, host information sessions and fundraisers, and attend debates. We are connecting with many Democratic nominees outside Maryland, to support their campaigns as well as those of our home-state nominees.
WDC’s PACE committee* is working overtime to organize us, in partnership with other new an established organizations working toward the same goals. Learn how you can help here.
This election season, we are seeing the convergence of two new laws: public financing, and term limits. In my view, we need to re-examine both once this election season ends.
Our County’s public financing law is an excellent start, but it needs a few tweaks. When it was designed, the expectation was that the real contest occurred during the primary, so if donors maxed out early for their candidates, no problem. Once the primary was over, here in our largely Democratic county, the Democratic nominee would glide to victory.
But not this year. Marc Elrich, our Democratic nominee, faces an unexpected, and well-funded, opponent in the general election. Many of us gave Marc $150, the maximum allowed under the new law, before the primary, and are barred from donating again for the general election. This has put our nominee at a tremendous disadvantage. [Note: As WDC’s president, I am barred from contributing to any candidate in a contested Democratic election, but I sent Marc’s campaign my $150 once he was certified as the nominee.]
I raise this point for two reasons:
First, while our public financing law makes good sense in principle, we need to amend it to address this and other shortcomings.
And second, it is incumbent upon all Democrats who are able to do so to max out for Marc, and then to invite friends and neighbors (both Democrats and Independents) to give whatever they can. Make no mistake: Money talks. If we want our candidate to win, he needs money to get his message out. It’s a strong message – let’s help amplify it.
As for term limits: Although WDC came out against term limits, the ballot initiative passed overwhelmingly. As one result, at least one Council committee will be comprised entirely of newcomers. There is value to experience and to institutional memory; we have to hope that the experience and institutional memory of our County’s unelected staff will be sufficient. Elections are the ultimate term limit. When voter choice is limited, voters lose out.
In addition to doing all that we can to elect Marc Elrich as our next County Executive, we need to pay particular attention to other races. I’ve heard way too many friends and neighbors say “Hogan’s not so bad.” But, remember Chris Christie, who went from one of the most popular governors in the country in his first term, to an out-of-control disaster in his second. Just think about what another four years of Hogan would mean – Republican-led redistricting after the 2020 Census, more money to non-public schools, ever-escalating healthcare costs and student debt … the list goes on. Donald Trump is already out there speaking against Ben Jealous. He clearly wants Larry Hogan to remain governor of Maryland. That speaks volumes.
We need a Democratic governor who will fight for a more equitable Maryland; we need Governor Ben Jealous. He can win, but only if we support him unequivocally. You can learn more about his plans in an up-close-and-personal setting by registering for our October 1 luncheon here.
Of course we are all backing Representatives Jamie Raskin and Paul Sarbanes, Senator Ben Cardin, and Attorney General Brian Frosh, with whom we share long histories. We Democrats need to do the same for nominee David Trone. It is imperative that we keep the D-6 seat Democratic. (Join us for lunch with Sen. Cardin on October 12.)
So, let’s lead the way, as WDC has done for six decades. We must win these important races. Nothing less than the future of our democracy is at stake.
And speaking of democracy: Congratulations to longtime WDC member Kathy Deerkoski, MCDCC’s Precinct Official of the Year! Let’s all celebrate Kathy at the Blue Wave Ball. Purchase tickets here: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/3966920230036834816
*PACE: Political Activity and Civic Engagement