A fundamental change in the American political landscape occurred with the election of Donald Trump in November 2016.
As the Republican party confirmed its identity as the white nationalist party – a change begun long ago with the Southern strategy fashioned by Richard Nixon and colleagues in response to the civil rights legislation of the mid-1960s – Trump’s election mobilized women in a way never seen before.
The heightened political consciousness leading to mass movements usually begins with outrages against justice and decency. In the case of African Americans, it was lynching, beatings, and Bull Connor. In the case of gays, it was stigmatization and indifference during the AIDS crisis. Today, in the case of young students, it is high school shootings. For women, rape and sexual assault have long been compelling issues, but outrage was crystallized in 2016 by the election of Donald Trump, who is the epitome of a sexual predator.
In January 2017, millions of women turned out in protest in cities throughout the country and around the world. The Women’s March was comparable to, in its impact, and much larger than, Martin Luther King’s 1963 demonstration in Washington DC. The #MeToo protest is one manifestation of the newly energized women’s movement. Another is the wave of first-time Democratic women candidates for public office. Time Magazine reports that the number of women candidates running for the House of Representatives increased almost 350 percent from 2016 to early 2018. Emily’s List, which recruits and trains pro-choice Democratic women, received 900 requests for assistance in 2015-16. Since Trump’s election, they have received 34,000. According to the Washington Post the number of Democratic women seeking Maryland Senate seats doubled from 18 in 2016 to 36 in 2018, and the number of those running for the House of Delegates increased from 67 to 107.
In Anne Arundel County’s District 33, all the Democratic challengers for seats in the Maryland General Assembly are women, and all but one of the Republican incumbents and challengers are men. In the contest for the district’s State Senate seat, Eve Hurwitz is challenging Republican Ed Reilly. In the race for the three at-large seats in the House of Delegates, Pam Luby, Tracy Hovermale, and Heather Bagnall will be challenging three of seven Republican primary candidates: Incumbents Tony McConkey, Michael Malone, and Sid Saab, and challengers Jerry Walker, Tom Angelis, Stacie McDonald (the only Republican woman), and Connor McCoy
To understand the electoral context in which these candidates are running, some background information will be helpful. Maryland’s Electoral District 33 forms a semi-circle around Annapolis extending from Davidsonville in the southwest through Crofton, Glen Burnie, and Severna Park to Arnold and Cape St. Claire in the northeast. It is one of seven legislative districts and sub-districts in Anne Arundel County.
According to the 2010 Census, District 33 had approximately 45,000 households and 130,000 individuals. Ninety-three percent of its residents were native-born, and 84% were white. District 33 was prosperous, with a median household income of $113,000, as compared to $69,000 in Maryland and $50,000 in the United States as a whole (Maryland was the richest state). In 2016, registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats 42,000 to 36,000. The district’s representation in the state legislature has been Republican for years.
Maryland’s state legislature, the General Assembly, is comprised of the House of Delegates and the Senate. There are 47 senators (one from each of 47 electoral districts) and 141 Delegates (three from each district). In most districts, including #33, the three delegates serve at large, representing all the people in the district. In the general election for these House seats, the top three vote getters, regardless of party, are the winners. (Some districts are divided, and each delegate serves his or her sub-district. In Annapolis, for example, Michael Busch and Herb McMillan serve District 30A and Seth Howard serves District 30B. )
Maryland’s general elections are held in off years between Presidential elections – for example, in 2010, 2014, and 2018. This year our general election will take place on November 6, and the party primaries will be held on June 26. Each Senator and Delegate is elected for a four-year term, and there are no term limits. If a vacancy occurs, the governor appoints a replacement for the remainder of the term.
The Race for the Senate
This year Democrat Eve Hurwitz is challenging Republican Ed Reilly for District 33’s seat in the Maryland Senate. Both Hurwitz and Reilly are unopposed within their parties and are sure to win in the primaries.
Eve Hurwitz served as a Naval Flight Officer and Mission Commander in the U.S. Navy on USS ENTERPRISE from 2002 to 2010, flying in the E-2C aircraft over Iraq and Afghanistan. The E-2C is a carrier-based radar plane that provides airborne battlespace management (e.g. directing fighter planes to their targets), early warning, and command and control functions. Today she is a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, a financial consultant to businesses, and a political activist. She is President of the Milky Way Foundation, which advocates for mothers and families, a board member of national March On, and a community organizer who led the efforts for the Annapolis Women’s Marches in January 2017 and 2018.
Ed Reilly of Crofton served on the Anne Arundel County Council from 2002 to 2009, when he was appointed to fill the seat of retiring State Senator Janet Greenip. He won re-election in 2010 and 2014, when he ran unopposed. Reilly is a social and fiscal conservative, with strong backing from the business community, right-to-life groups, and the NRA, among others. He has low ratings from environmental, education, and public interest groups.
The Races for the House
Pam Luby is a graduate of Emerge Maryland, the state affiliate of a national organization that trains Democratic women to run for office. (Another graduate is Sarah Elfreth who is running in District 30 to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Senator John Astle.) While working for the Maryland Judiciary, Luby created an adult guardianship program to protect vulnerable seniors and disabled adults. She currently serves on the Anne Arundel County Adult Public Guardianship Review Board and on the board of the Maryland Legislative Agenda for Women. A former chair of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women, Luby is an attorney and businesswoman who has worked for corporations and runs her own business. Here’s an article about her in the Capital Gazette.
Tracie Hovermale of Davidsonville formed and led Friends of Rural Preservation to curtail development inconsistent with the intent of the zoning law in her area. The group persuaded the County Council to require impact assessments, community input, and development more consistent with the nature of the community. Recently she worked with an anti-bribery compliance and ethics organization in Annapolis where she saw the corrosive effect corruption in government has on society. As a candidate for the House, Hovermale advocates for smart development and transportation, as well as improved health care, education, and support for families, as well as transparency and ethics in government.
Heather Bagnall, a longtime resident in the Annapolis area, works in the creative arts as a liaison for artists, educators, and funders; an arts educator; a performer, and a playwright. She has served as a director of First Night Annapolis; Class Acts and World Class Arts of Silver Spring; and the Center of the Arts and Creative Summer at the Holton-Arms School. You can see Bagnall’s profile in the February 14 Arundel Patriot. (She originally filed for the State Senate but has since joined fellow candidates Pam Luby and Tracie Hovermale to run together for the House.) Her campaign emphasizes investment in communities, especially in creative education and green public transportation.
Tony McConkey has been in office since 2003, despite a contentious and legally troubled past. In 1995, he was disbarred and had his real estate license revoked for making risky investments with other people’s money. McConkey acknowledged that he had “failed to maintain and account for funds entrusted to [him].” Again in 2010, his real estate license was suspended for contacting homeowners on the verge of losing their homes, offering to save them from foreclosure, a practice that violated Maryland’s Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act. McConkey was ordered to pay $75,000 to three clients whom he defrauded. Then in 2012 he introduced legislation in the General Assembly that would have reduced this financial penalty and enabled him to regain his real estate license. He asked Sen. Ed Reilly to sponsor the legislation, and when Reilly refused, McConkey argued with and cursed him. Reilly then initiated an ethics investigation into McConkey’s legislative effort. The General Assembly killed the bill, and in early 2013 it reprimanded McConkey for promoting self-serving legislation. McConkey is an across-the-board conservative, strongly pro-business, anti-abortion, pro-gun, and anti-gay rights, with strong support from the Christian Coalition. He has a rating of 0% from Environment Maryland.
Sid Saab immigrated to the U.S. from Lebanon in 1990, became a citizen, and built a real estate business in Crofton. He is a first-term legislator, having been elected in 2014. A conservative Republican, Saab voted against every key bill (as defined by Vote Smart) in the Democratic-controlled legislature between March 2015 and March 2017, with one exception having to do with the price of prescription drugs. Saab’s ratings range from 100 percent by Maryland Business for Responsive Government and Maryland Right to Life through 50 percent (Maryland NEA) to lows in the 20s and 30s by the Maryland League of Conservation Voters. The NRA gives him 86 percent. Other ratings by conservative groups are mostly in the 80s. The Capital profiled Saab in 2015.
Michael Malone practices family law and general litigation at his law firm in Crofton. In 2015 Governor Hogan appointed Malone to complete the term of Delegate Cathy Vitale (R), who retired to become a judge in the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. Malone is an economic and social conservative, receiving 100 percent ratings from Maryland Business for Responsive Government and Maryland Right to Life, according to Vote Smart. Malone is anti-tax, anti-regulation, and pro-gun. However, he has middling ratings from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (29 percent to 67 percent) and a relatively high score (70%) from the Maryland NEA.
There are four Republican challengers to the incumbents.
Jerry Walker is completing his second and final term on the Anne Arundel County Council (he is term-limited). Representing County District 7, Walker chaired the Council in 2013 and 2015. He has a B.S. with a concentration in economics from Liberty University; advanced study in public policy and finance at the University of Maryland; and an M.A. in public administration from American University. He is vice president of an office equipment supplier in Lanham. Walker is more liberal than other Republicans on the Council and has opposed County Executive Steve Schuh on a number of issues, including property tax cuts, which Schuh supports. These issues, and Walker’s electoral challenge to the current incumbents, led Schuh and House Minority Leader Nick Kipke to distribute fliers depicting him as a clown in November 2017. Walker denounced one of them as peddling “outright lies.”
Tom Angelis has been seeking public office, without success, since at least 2002 when he ran as a Republican for County Executive. In 2010 he was a candidate in the Republican primary for the House of Delegates. In 2014 he tried his hand as a Democrat running for the House. In 2015 he was a candidate for the non-partisan Anne Arundel County School Board. Today he is a Republican again, seeking nomination for the House of Delegates, again. Outside of electoral candidacy, Angelis has served as an aide in the U.S. Senate, a D.C. police officer, Anne Arundel County Director of Parks and Recreation, real estate agent, sales representative of restaurant supplies, PTA member, and certified English and Social Studies instructor in Baltimore City. Currently, his public priorities include school construction and fiscal responsibility. It’s unclear whether fiscal responsibility means less money for schools.
Little information is available on Stacie McDonald and Connor McCoy. Their names, addresses, and party affiliations can be found on the State Board of Elections website, and they are listed in other compilations of candidates. McDonald lives in Arnold and McCoy, in Annapolis. McCoy is the youngest candidate in these races, at age 21. To date there have been no responses to requests for biographical information from these candidates.
David Boesel is an activist and martial arts teacher in Anne Arundel County
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