Filling Jamie Raskin's State Senate Seat in District 20Last Thursday there was an excellent forum for 4 candidates who have announced that they would like to be selected to fill the vacancy in the Maryland State Senate created when Jamie Raskin was elected on Nov. 8 to become a Congresman and shortly thereafter resigned his State Senate seat.
According to the Maryland Constitution, the selection of people to fill vacancies in the legislature is made the county central committee for the party of the person who resigned, so in this case the MCDCC (Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee).
Many people are not aware that in every election where we elect a governor, Democratic voters also elect 8 members of MCDCC at large and 2 from each legislative district, and then MCDCC selects gender-balance members to insure that there is an equal number of male and female members. The members of MCDCC are in charge of the Democratic party in our county and their meetings are open to the public.
The 4 people at the forum last Thursday were current State Delegates David Moon and Will Smith, the head of the ACLU in MoCo and Progressive Neighbors Darian Unger, and newcomer in politics Scott Brown (not the former Republican Senator from Massachusetts but a much younger and better looking Scott Brown).
Although many feel the current Delegates are front runners, the others have many points in their favor too.
I'll start with Scott Brown, since he has had the least publicity. To give a sample of what he does, when we had our recent question on term limits on the ballot Scott, without anyone's urging, decided that term limits would be a bad idea for MoCo and made a terrific video giving the reasons for that position. The video was filled with facts and also was very funny to get people's attention. If Scott Brown is not successful in his current race, he is definitely a person to watch for political office in the future.
The other non-incumbent is Darian Unger. I have worked with and watched him for years and have found him to be one of the most dedicated citizens in our county. He's a Professor at Howard University and a volunteer firefighter, in addition to being a husband and father of three. Darian is, I believe, the only person running for this position who not only said he doesn't like the appointment system of filling vacancies (all candidates said that) but Darian also pledged not to run for reelection if he wins, proving how much he believes in this position.
Delegate David Moon is known by just about everyone who follows politics in MoCo. He was campaign manager for Jamie Raskin and Nancy Navarro, but I believe he became known much more when he ran Maryland Juice, a blog on which he posted important facts that often were not available anywhere else. He also was the prime mover in the Maryland Constitutional amendment that was adopted Nov. 8, requiring vacancies in the offices of Maryland Attorney General and Comptroller to be filled from the same party as the person who was elected to that position.
Delegate Will Smith is also running for this State Senate seat. At the forum on Thursday he was the most well-organized candidate with lots of volunteers wearing t-shirts urging votes for him and a very slick and long brochure listing his qualifications and achievements. He also pointed out during the discussion that he was one of the most successful freshman Delegates in Annapolis in terms of having his bills enacted into law.
If I were on MCDCC I would not know how to vote on this. All four candidates, including the non-incumbents have great qualifications and potential. The decision will be made on December 7 and you can bet all the candidates will be in touch with the 28 voters on MCDCC. For the rest of us, we can attend and watch, and hear what the candidates say to MCDCC on December 7 (the location of that meeting has not yet been announced). I hope all of them will be successful, if not in this race then in future races.