District 20 delegate:
Well, I'm glad that's over.
The most important part of the election season here in Montgomery County -- the Democratic primary -- is done, and all the speculation and teeth-gnashing can end.
There are a couple of races where folks don't want to concede (0ver the border in D.C., I guess Adrian Fenty had trouble saying goodbye to the trappings of mayoralty), but in general, the results are in and the winners can breathe a sigh of relief while the losers (what a horrible word, how about "the ones with fewer votes") must ponder what-if's and then find something else to do with the rest of their lives.
Chris Stoughton, the 33-year-old policy analyst from Silver Spring who ran for a District 20 delegate's seat, didn't even want to think about campaigning again. He said he'd do it all over again, but certainly didn't look like he could do it all over starting today.
Tired and dejected, he sat in his Silver Spring apartment with wife Carolina at 1 a.m. after their small group of volunteers had gone and talked about his short-but-energetic campaign that garnered him 1,401 votes out of a total of more than 24,000.
That's almost 6 percent of all the votes, but looked at another way, it means 15-17 percent of the voters who went to the polls in the poorly attended primary backed Stoughton.
Not surprisingly, however, many more exercised their privilege without him in mind.
Still, it was an impressive
He started his campaign too late, running seriously for only three months; he raised almost no money (a couple of thousand dollars); he didn't get endorsements because by the time he got into the race, it was too late; he went after a popular longtime incumbent; he grew up in Indianapolis, not MoCo; and he spoke his mind.
But he also knocked on 7,000 doors (give or take a few). And that's what got him the votes. That, and his wife's and volunteers' persuasive abilities. He was just hoping that the enthusiasm he felt from supporters on Election Day would have translated into more votes.
Stoughton threw a scare into the campaign of longtime Delegate Sheila Hixson, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee for 17 years and a fixture in Montgomery County politics for more than three decades.
The tension came to a head at a polling place on Tuesday when a Hixson family member got in Stoughton's face and accused him of using "ageist" tactics. Essentially, Stoughton was charged with calling the 76-year-old Hixson "old." (One is reminded of Ronald Reagan's response to a question about the effects of age, that he would not exploit Walter Mondale's youth and inexperience in the 1984 campaign.)
Stoughton said the incident left him "deflated" and wondered aloud whether he had crossed the line during the campaign. No question Stoughton had emphasized Hixson's many years in Annapolis; her age and the length of her tenure at the State House are certainly not secrets, and the Hixson campaign itself stressed that experience while pointing out Stoughton's relative youth and lack of political experience.
But it was a political campaign, after all, and compared to some of the negative campaigning going on in other races, the District 20 affair was a church social.
"Hey Chris it sounds like you are running for President and Governor not as a Delegate in Maryland. In Maryland, we have the most powerful governor's office in the country, The governor writes the budget and therefore proposes all funding for all programs. The only thing the House of Delegates can do is cut it. Do you a have a pre-built coalition that you can call on to get any of your proposals enacted. I don't think so."
STATE SENATOR 14
Images from my polling place -- Grace United Methodist Church,
7001 New Hampshire Ave., Takoma Park
|Politicians at large!|
|The view from Grace United: Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church on Larch Ave.|