Thursday, August 09, 2012

Positioning for 2014

Our Pub Politics group reconvened Tuesday night. We had not gathered together to discuss the HoCo loco politico scene since March of 2011 so we were a little overdue. This ad hock multi generational  group is made up of about ten men and women, from both major political parties, who share an interest in local politics. Our discussions center on people and strategies more than issues which keeps things from getting overheated.

The 2014 county exec race was discussed at length. The group remains unconvinced that Guy Guzzone will make a run for the top job, even though he is considered by many in the Dem establishment to be the frontrunner. Guy’s stature and influence in the state house has grown in the five short years he’s been Delegate and that is only expected to increase going forward. A run for county exec would mean giving all that up. On the other hand, his wife Pam has made no secret of what she’d like him to do.

If Guy does decide to run he’ll likely have a primary fight with Courtney Watson. Unlike Guy, Courtney has made it pretty clear what her intentions are. No one sees her backing down if Guy decides to run too. A messy primary battle is something the loco Dems would prefer to avoid.

The Repub candidate for county exec is likely to be Allan Kittleman. Everyone seems to  like Allan except perhaps some of the more conservative Repubs. His early support for civil unions did not go over well with the far right and ended up costing him the minority leader job last year. Still, a moderate like Allan stands a good chance of winning the support of independents in HoCo. With the Dems numerical superiority in loco registrations, swaying the independents will be the key to winning. The consensus of the group was that Allan would stand a better chance against Courtney than he would against Guy.

At this point certain group members began throwing out numbers from different polls that certain candidates have commissioned. I mentioned that polling has become much more difficult now that more people, especially young people, are forgoing landline phones entirely. Unlike landline phones, polling organizations are challenged by phones that aren’t linked to geographic location. In other words, you can’t be sure that the person you’re polling is even in the same state, let alone the same county.

Assuming that Courtney does run, the District 1 council seat would come into play. One of the group mentioned that Chris Merdon may take a run at it. Chris held the seat before deciding to take on Ken Ulman for the top job in 2006. On the Dem side I heard Frank Aquino’s name mentioned for the first time. Frank currently serves on the school board, the same path that Courtney and Mary Kay Sigaty took to higher office.

If Allan Kittleman does run for county exec, his District 9 senate seat would then be open. The group generally agreed that Gail Bates would be his natural successor. That would open up another delegate spot in the Repub leaning 9A. It may even leave Warren Miller vulnerable to a challenge since he and Gail have been joined at the hip in their previous campaigns.
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