Not Impressed with the Local Political Campaigns

A week from today, a small number of Maryland residents is expected to vote in the primaries as we head towards November’s general election. Apparently, the date was moved from September to June and few seem to remember this or care, focused as they are on summer. However, for me, this is huge because I can finally vote as a resident.

Deb and I registered about a month after we settled here and were excited. As many recall, I served as vice-chair of the Democratic Town Committee so was curious about getting active in a new environment. Down here it’s county-based so I reached out to the Howard County Democrats and a year later am still waiting to hear back.

I am also still waiting to hear from the candidates themselves. In Connecticut, the local candidates walked the neighborhoods, once if not twice. Calls were made, volunteers dropped off leaflets, etc. Here, apparently, its’ all done at a remove, contributing to people not really paying attention.

Sometime last summer, a gentleman knocked on my door and introduced himself. Danny Eaton was a Republican starting to make him known by doing it the old-fashioned way. We chatted and have stayed in touch to the point where he’s sought my advice on campaign moves and even ran a video script by me for input. I have no idea what his chances are, but he’s the only one to make an effort.

The local papers made a big deal about the Maryland candidates using the same sort of data mining that worked so well for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. If true, it hasn’t reached me yet. Most of the political mail arrives addressed to the previous resident. I would think the major players would want to introduce themselves and their campaigns to new, impressionable residents. Not a single piece has been addressed to me.

The first mailing I received was from the Brown-Ulman team running for governor and it was a card attacking Doug Gansler, their opponent. Not the kind of introduction I was expecting. Lawn signs have been popping up for Team 13 – I apparently live in the state’s 13th district – and heir post cards have endorsement quotes, nice pictures and zero information about who these people are or why they deserve my vote. Of the Team 13, only Vanessa Atterbeary has sent out a separate spate of mail so at least I am getting some sense of who she is.

As a teacher, the Maryland State Educators Association has been doing a far better job of pushing their candidates. They have been heavily in favor of Brown because he has promised to follow Governor O’Malley’s policies which we apparently like. At least they address the cards properly although I am far from sold on him. Instead, I am intrigued by underdog gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, who I have not heard from once.

I have asked my neighbors about how they know the candidates and I was told I had to read the blogs, not that they named them or sent me links. I keep reading the Baltimore Sun and Howard County Times to glean information and come away frustrated because I still have no clue who these people are and what they stand for.

I will vote but I do not feel any single Democrat has effectively wooed me or educated me about them. I suspect this massive failure to communicate is felt on the Republican side as well and it makes me concerned about how well educated we will collectively be when we vote next week and next fall.

2 comments

  • The situation on the Democratic side sounds…a tad worrying from here.

    Your Republican friend, on the other hand, sounds like one of the saner ones. Keep on keeping an eye out for him, because I worry for people like that.

  • jon eigen

    Welcome to Maryland, In my 23 years at my current address I have had exactly two political visits. One of those was from Chris VanHollen’s mother when he first ran for office. The other was for a Maryland State Rep.

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