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The Tentacle


July 31, 2002

Will 'Jennifer Factor' Spoil This Election?

David 'Kip' Koontz

Well, the candidates are off and running and it became very obvious last weekend as yard signs - at least for Democrats - popped up on lawns all over, kind of like wild mushrooms after a heavy rain.

If we were to use the "who has more signs out will win" rule and apply it right now Sue Hecht would trounce Alex Mooney in a landslide.

Seems everyone is saying "Hecht Yes!" while only one lonely soul has out a Mooney sign.

By the same gauge in the 3A Delegate race, Dick Zimmerman is ahead with the second comer, in a tight race, Galen Clagett, Michael O'Connor or Rick Stup.

On the Republican side, Sammie Conyers is the only one who seems to be campaigning and he has signs out all over. They were out well before the respected July 27th rule and to look at them one would be hard pressed to find an authority line, but heck who cares about the rules?

Curiously David Brinkley is doing very well in his bid to become State Senator from District 4 judging on the number of signs he has out in Frederick City, which, if we didn't know, is in District 3.

For county commissioner, Fern Hines, John Lovell, Jan Gardner and Lennie Thompson are the winners on the sign count right now.

This is an important election season.

The direction of our county, for instance, can be forever altered depending on who wins that race.

Some say that incumbency means experience and that experience can be good.

Others say that with this bunch, would it do any harm to boot them all out and start over?

Depends on what we want Frederick County to be.

Just take a serious look at this race and push these candidates to give you their honest opinion and answers to the important questions facing the county currently.

Code Home Rule is an important ballot issue that should be defeated.

If we are going to grant ourselves more power on making our own decisions, we should do so in a Charter form of government that allows a county executive and the council to check each other.

Code Home Rule simply allows the commissioners to have the final say.

Yikes! Think of the consequences of that over the last four years, considering the way this group likes to raise taxes.

The governor's race is going to prove to be exciting, as Republican Bob Erhlich has closed Lt. Governor Kathleen Townsend's lead to zilch.

These two have very different visions for Maryland.

Mr. Erhlich is trying to dupe us into believing he is a "kinder, gentler" guy. His voting record in Annapolis and Washington proves he is an extreme conservative whom Marylander's should reject.

Yes, changes in methodology, and so on, in Maryland government should occur, but we should let someone who will represent a wider cross section of Marylanders make those changes.

Our state Senate races will be exciting as we have a great opportunity to through out two bums.

In District 3, one might question why Senator Alex Mooney's machine has gone frighteningly quiet in spewing forth its misrepresentations and filth?

Guess is, Ms. Hecht is more than prepared to face it when it comes again because evidence points to the fact that if she feels like a fightin', she has the ability.

Will be fun to watch.

So will District 4's race though someone needs to explain why David Gray entered that race.

Is it easier on one's soul to lose running for a higher office than losing running for the one you currently hold?

David Brinkley's record, and the fact that he is a class act - especially in comparison to Senator Tim Ferguson, clearly shows he should be the pick there.

But who knows? The best people do not always win, do they?

The race for school board should also be interesting as these candidates hold a lot of differing views on how schools should be run and what types of curriculum should be used and so forth.

Plus, it wouldn't hurt us one bit if, say, Willie Mahone would win, as the views he holds need to be heard.

The delegate races offer many, many choices.

In 3A the "conventional wisdom" is saying the race is between Misters Clagett, Zimmerman and Stup.

They have automatic name recognition and a built in campaign infrastructure in place from day one.

Some of the what would be called "challengers to the Big 3" have some good ideas and will, like Mr. O'Connor, give conventional wisdom a run for its money.

Of course, in both 3A and 3B, one has to ask who Ms. Hecht has picked as her delegate colleagues and how much "behind the scenes" support they will get from her.

The Republicans in 3A. Not much to say about them, really, other than things would be very bad if any of them won.

The Dems have a lot of talent in their candidates in the race, while it seems clear the Republicans conceded that race for others.

Like 4A, where we will find one Republican incumbent facing forced retirement. Let's just hope the Republicans of 4A realize that the alleged heir to his father's seat in Congress is the one who needs to go.

Comparing him to either Ms. Snodgrass or Mr. Stull is like comparing a rotten egg to a bouquet of roses and a pint of wholesome Frederick County milk.

And there will be a general election contest, too!

In 3B it will be interesting to see who the Dems pick (though one would think it would be Paul Gilligan) to face the surprise entrant Republican Rick Weldon.

With the knowledge and abilities of the candidates in that race at least the level of debate will be very high.

Anyway, there is a strange phenomenon, though, creeping, blowing, and wafting through and around Frederick that can only be called the "Jennifer Factor," and it is having a stifling affect on people's interest in the upcoming election.

I first heard about it a couple weeks ago from a dinner companion in her 70' s. She said that from reading the papers and talking to friends she was terribly disappointed in Herzonner Dougherty's behavior since becoming mayor.

This woman said she was so disillusioned so quickly that she wanted to apologize to those people she urged vote for Ms. Dougherty and then added that she was thinking about not voting in the upcoming elections.

This weekend a birthday party conversation turned very political.

The theme of the discussion was how this group (about 20) was finding it difficult to get interested in following the upcoming elections.

Now, folks, this group votes. They volunteer in campaigns. They give big money to those they like. They also express their opinions and tell 10 friends about it.

When asked why they were disinterested in the upcoming election the response was a unanimous, "Jennifer!" They said they were all so terribly disappointed that they felt her behavior appears to be worse than Jim Grimes when it comes to "backdoor deals" and "closed door" policies. One quipped that "she'd be damned before she would ask permission from Herzonner before she spoke."

This, they said, has caused them to give pause about voting and especially backing candidates again.

Later one person called and said that in her opinion, this "Jennifer Factor" as it was dubbed, was widespread.

She said that even the ladies she lunches with once or twice a week were concerned that we may never again have a woman mayor - simply because Herzonner's bad behavior (along with Ms. Hall and Ms. Ramsburg's blindly following her along) would potentially paint all woman with a bad brush.

She followed up with, "and they say they may not vote."

Wow.

Jokingly it was said Ms. Townsend may not really want to align herself too closely to Herzonner after she came to Frederick for the dedication of Hill Street Park.

Is it coincidence or "Jennifer Factor" that the polls before Herzonner endorsed her had her winning with big leads and now after the endorsement, her numbers, according to the most recent poll have plummeted?

Especially since the poll indicated that her biggest losses were in Frederick County - west.

One has to question how those who have said they believe in the "Jennifer Factor" will respond to those candidates who have signs in front of her restaurant or home?

Will they pass them and subliminally get a thought something like; "I don't trust her anymore, so maybe I can't trust them."

Interesting conundrum indeed.

Either way, disillusioned or not - we must vote and pay close attention to what these candidates have to say as there is much at stake in these elections.

After all, it should be easy enough to do as the candidates will all be giving their spiels so politely.



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