Or should the question be asked another way: Can any Republican defeat CE Gardener?
Among those who follow the local politics, there seems to be one question that I hear more often from Frederick County Republican voters: “Do you think Jan Gardner can be defeated in the November 2018 election?”
The general consensus from this ear to the ground is that, at best, it will be a difficult task.
Personally, I will offer no opinion “hear,” but, ah, I hearken back to a post I wrote in December of 2013, some 11 months prior to the first ever County Executive contest. In that post entitled County Executive: Other Applicants Need Not Apply?, I wrote to refute an op-ed piece authored by former county commissioner Charles Jenkins (no relation to current Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins), where he declared that no matter who ran against Jan Gardner (and at that point, her eventual challenger had not declared) to earn the crown of the first county executive of Frederick County, she would win. Well, it turned out that Sir Charles (as I referred to him) was right.
But will this time just be a de-ja-vu all over again for Ms. Gardner?
Ask the current trio of GOP challengers, and the confidence of victory spews out from each. Not only does Kirby Delauter, Kathy Afzali, and Regina Williams each believe that a primary victory will be in his or her hands-on June 26th, but each will also be seated in the CE throne come November.
Just 5 weeks ago in a MacRo Report Blog post entitled The County Executive Derby, I gave an overview of the contenders, including the Republican crew. Let’s spend a bit more time on each and consider their electability … you be the judge of the positives and negatives.
This week I’ll focus on Kirby Delauter.
An Army Veteran, local excavating contractor, Kirby was born and raised in the Thurmont area. The family goes back several generations. He has held elected office in the town of Thurmont, and is a former Frederick County Commissioner and current member of the Frederick County Council representing District 5.
But, he has had a time of it serving as a minority voice on the County Council. Whether he will agree with me or not, CE Gardner and her council allies have pushed his buttons more than once, and while he has stood tall, while taking the hits, he has more than once spoken out in retaliation to the delight of the press and his opponents who, he will say, have twisted his words to their advantage. He is an outspoken voice who is not afraid to speak his mind and tell it like he sees, even if the political winds are blowing the other way.
Does he know his stuff? Putting differing political opinions aside, Delauter does understand the ins and outs of Winchester Hall, its finances and operations, probably better than most. He is a friend of the business community and supports “managed growth.”
As a fiscal conservative, he supports a Senior Property Tax Credit, Public Private Partnerships for school lease back programs, Fire Rescue/ EMS and the health of Volunteer companies, and efforts to keep Frederick from becoming a sanctuary county.
Campaigner and fundraising: Not known as one who knocks on every door, Delauter is a well-known commodity. He has held rallies and regularly reports to his constituents. As of the last reporting period (January to May 2018), he has raised about $30,000.
Next week I’ll spotlight both Kathy Afzali and Regina Williams.