Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Some Morsels of Baltimore County Political Gossip

In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Baltimore County Executive candidate Ken Holt for about 12 years. I worked as a consultant on his unsuccessful bid for Maryland State Senate in 1998, and I have done a few writing/editing projects for him this year. That said, of the three items I report below, he was my source on only the first one. Moreover, I did not discuss this blog posting with him.

That said, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to deviate from the governor’s race for a moment and focus on my other great political love: Baltimore County politics. Over the past few days, three interesting tidbits were brought to my attention.

  • Bob Ehrlich is planning to formally endorse Holt’s candidacy for County Executive tomorrow at a private event. Now, people can debate just how important endorsements are in politics. I would argue, however, that if Ehrlich’s endorsement brings with it any coattails this year, it will be in Baltimore County. Ehrlich is expected to romp in his native county on Election Day, as evidenced by the ubiquitous blue “Ehrlich for Governor” signs that dominate the county’s landscape, and the corresponding absence of green “Re-elect O’Malley/Brown” signs. Regardless of what happens statewide, Baltimore County is Ehrlich country. His margin of victory, and his ability to bring a few local candidates across the line with him, are the only open questions.
  • The Baltimore County chapter of the Home Builders Association of Maryland has polled in a few county races. In the fifth councilmatic district located on the east side of the county, Holt and his Democratic opponent are running neck and neck. Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, the insult comic of Baltimore County politics, is polling 39 percent to Holt’s 36 percent (Bob Ehrlich and Martin O'Malley are at 47 - 37 percent, respectively). This certainly reflects the aftermath of a contentious Democratic primary between Kamenetz and Joe Bartenfelder.  
  • I heard just today that some of Kamenetz’s east side surrogates are starting to resort to nasty tactics. Specifically, a local official who was one of the few senior Democrats in that area to back Kamenetz over Bartenfelder reportedly threatened a few Dundalk-based county firefighters who offered to work the polls for Holt on Election Day. This official is said to have personally told the men that he would lobby county officials to fire them if they dared not tow the party line. Fearful of losing their jobs, these firefighters complied. I’d love the opportunity to talk to these guys if they would be willing to go on the record so I can elaborate on this story.
That’s the latest on the Baltimore County front. I will post more morsels as I hear them.


  1. If Holt is trailing on the East side in the fifth, he's done.

  2. If Holt ties himself to Ehrlich he loses my vote.

  3. The word on the East side is that MANY county employees have been threatened and will be appearing on a "List" if they dare support Holt......NOT only firefighters!