Political notes: Montgomery Democrats to vote on District 18 candidate vacancy

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Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D) endorsed Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City) for comptroller in his first statewide endorsement of the 2022 election cycle Tuesday.

“I have worked with Brooke for years to build coalitions to get big things done,” Olszewski said in a statement. “Whether it was record funding for MTA or securing funds to rebuild our public schools, I have seen firsthand how Brooke brings people together to solve problems.”

He added that, as a member of the state’s powerful Board of Public Works spending body, Lierman would “be a partner and champion” for county residents and all Marylanders when it comes to securing funding for new public schools or public transportation improvements.

Olszewski is the latest among a slew of public officials and advocacy groups that have endorsed Lierman for comptroller, including legislative leaders and several members of the state’s congressional delegation.

Her primary opponent is Timothy J. Adams, the first Black mayor of Bowie and the founder and CEO of the multimillion-dollar defense contracting firm Systems Application and Technologies.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman remains the lone Republican in the comptroller’s race.

For a list of prior endorsements in the race for comptroller, click here.

District 18 ballot vacancy to be decided Tuesday

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will meet virtually Tuesday night to designate a candidate to appear on the July 19 primary ballot.

The vacancy was created after Del. Al Carr (D), who has represented District 18 in the southern part of the county for 15 years, decided to run for a newly established County Council district and withdrew from the legislative race late Friday

Only two Democratic candidates — incumbent Dels. Emily Shetty and Jared Solomon — have filed to appear on the ballot. Carr intends to finish his term as delegate, but the central committee will designate a party candidate to appear on the ballot.

Several people have expressed interest in appearing on the ballot and 10 would-be candidates participated in an District 18 Democratic Caucus forum on Monday night: Cecily E. Baskir, Carlos Camacho, Marla Hollander, Aaron Kaufman, Marc Lande, Leslie Milano, Jose Ortiz, Joel Rubin, Ronald Sachs and Michael Tardiff.

Milano finished fourth in the 2018 primary for the district, and Rubin finished fifth.

Formal applications to fill the vacancy were due to the central committee by midnight Monday. The committee plans to meet to interview candidates beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a voting session.

The deadline for a designated candidate to complete paperwork with the State Board of Elections to appear on the ballot is Wednesday.

In an interview on Monday, Carr said he did not share his decision to withdraw from the legislative race with others ahead of time.

“What I’ve seen some other legislators do, if they know they’re going to retire, is they will hand-pick someone and let them know about a vacancy that’s coming up,” Carr said. And that can be timed in such a way that no other candidates get the chance to enter the race.

“…I didn’t think it was right to do that, to hand-pick someone and have then show up,” he said. “I thought it might be better for the central committee to choose someone because that would be a more democratic process. More people would have a chance to weigh in on that and compete for that.”

Carr added that his decision was made last-minute because conventional wisdom in Annapolis last week was that the Court of Appeals would reject a legislative redistricting plan and push back the current election dates. When that didn’t happen, the timeline became crunched, he said.

“I understand some people are not happy that I did not share my plans earlier. And I accept responsibility for my decisions, but I did make my decision,” Carr said.

Carr himself was first appointed to the General Assembly in 2007 by the county central committee to fill a vacancy.

In recent years, there has been a push by some in the General Assembly to reform the appointment process, in which a small number of party insiders on county central committees wield significant power. More than a quarter of the current members in the General Assembly were originally appointed to their roles and then have the advantage of seeking re-election as incumbents.

While election insiders expressed some concern late Friday about a legal challenge to the candidacy vacancy appointment process — specifically whether, in a three-member district, Carr’s place on the ballot could be considered “uncontested” and eligible to be filled by the central committee — Carr said he’d never legal concerns about the process before.

“I think the legislative intent is clear,” on the candidate designation process, he said.

The county’s Republican Central Committee regularly appoints candidates to appear on the ballot.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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