GRANLOLAPARK: Tomorrow the world


Dear Readers,

US Senator Barbara Miklulski announced Tuesday she will not run for re-election in 2016. Mikulski, the longest-serving wom . . .

OW! Look out! Suddenly there are machetes swinging through the brush as scores of politicians explore whether to run for Mikulski’s seat.

One has emerged from the jungle! It’s US Congressman Chris Van Hollen. He’s in the running!


Chris Van Hollen, US Congressman. For NOW!

And now MORE politicians are whacking through the brambles exploring whether to run for Van Hollen’s seat.

One of the explorers is Maryland state senator, Takoma Park resident Jaime Raskin – as reported by Capital News Service’s Tim Curtis. Curtis says that a number of Montgomery County Council members are also considering a run

So, if Jaime runs, explorers will bushwack around his seat. And explorers will bushwack around THEIR seats.


Jamie Raskin, Takoma Park resident Maryland state Senator for District 20. For NOW!

They’ll have to wait until 2018, though. if Jamie runs for and wins Van Hollen’s seat in 2016, there will be no special election to fill Raskin’s place.  Under current law, according to our Armchair Pundits,  the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will forward a name or names to the Governor, who will appoint a seat-filler for the final two years of the term. So, aspiring politicians will have to wait two more years to run. Who might already be speculating about a four-year grooming period?

Takoma Park’s David Moon? He was just elected to the state assembly, but he’s got four years to think about moving up. County council members Leventhal, Riemer or Elrich?

“We could be the first county to build a comprehensive transportation system: 170 miles of interconnected transit lanes, connecting all of the science centers in Montgomery County.”  — Councilmember Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, Takoma Park resident and Montgomery County Council Member At-Large. For NOW!

We’re mentioning a lot of Takoma Park residents, here. It’s all part of a little city program called Takoma Park World Domination.

It started modestly in 1987 when resident Peter Franchot was elected to the state General Assembly. He’s now in his third term as state comptroller. In 2002 resident George Leventhal won election to a Montgomery Councy council at-large seat.

Then, in 2006 the dam broke and the flood began. In 2006 city council member Marc Elrich won election county as a county council at-large representative – following ten (!) city council terms and a number of unsuccessful county-council campaigns. Also in 2006 Heather Mizeur, who hadn’t even finished her first city council term, ran and won a state legislative seat. She ran an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign last year and is currently not in office.

The others still are and in addition we have Hans Riemer as yet another at-large county council representative, David Moon who took Heather Mizeur’s District 20 state assembly seat, and Jaime Raskin, District 20’s state senator.


David Moon, Takoma Park resident and Maryland General Assembly District 20 representative. For NOW!

Bright beans

Which brings us, just maybe, to the Takoma Park city council. Which one(s) will heroically mount that slow ride up the Escalator of Power to Takoma Park World Domination?

We’ve got some bright beans on the city council these days. Some of them may have higher office in mind. There’s an awful lot of suit-wearing at city council meetings the last few terms. We remember the days when a council member wearing a suit to a council meeting (with the exception of council member Terry Seamens) would get comments such as “you got a job interview or something’?” Because it used to be important to demonstrate by casual dress that you were a neighbor, not The Man – that politician-type with higher ambitions.

But then, one of the most casual dressers, city council member Marc Elrich, kinda became The Man.

Back to our (well-dressed) bright beans – there’s city council member Tim Male who last year applied for a county council appointment, but didn’t get it. It was for the county district 5 seat emptied by Valerie Irvin. At the time Male said he was more interested in the pay raise than the power, however.

We also have city council members Jarrett Smith and Kate Stewart. Is there anything suggestive about Smith setting up a District 20 Delegate candidate forum last primary season, where he was glad-handed by all the local democratic functionaries?  Hmmm?

ward-2-portrait   ward-3-portrait   ward-5-portrait

Tim Male, Kate Stewart and Jarrett Smith, Takoma Park residents and city councilmembers. For NOW!

Stewart is alarmingly organized and professional. How she manages career, family and city council is a mystery. She may be using technology from a civilization more advanced than ours. Even so, it seems like she’d breathe easier if she was in a political office that was also her job.

If we squint our eyes we can visualize either one of those three: Male, Smith and Stewart, in higher office. Don’cha think?

We won’t put Seth Grimes in that number just to annoy him. He’s going to come in here and point out all the facts we got wrong, anyway. It kinda seems as if he, the mayor and the rest of the council are happy where they are. Also, most of their spouses would say “Oh, no you’re NOT! No World Domination for YOU, buster!”

A crowd

We consulted our Armchair Pundits about the possible shifts at the upper end of the political escalator.

One wise observer says that in off-years, such as 2014 and 2016, District 20 state legislators and county council members can run without losing their seats. This means a LOT of competition for Van Hollen’s US congressional seat.

Another discounts recently elected county councilmember Tom Hucker from the potential contest for Raskin’s seat. He stepped down from the state legislature to run for the better-paying county council, so he’s probably going to stay there.


Heather Mizeur, former Takoma Park resident, former state representative and former gubernatorial candidate. For NOW!

What about Heather Mizeur, the former Takoma Park city council member, former District 20 state representative, former gubernatorial candidate? She now lives in Kent County, Maryland. According to Politico she was thinking of running for Mikulski’s seat. So are state representative Dutch Ruppersberger, former Lt. Governors Anthony Brown and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Baltimore mayor Stephhanie Rawlings-Blake, and Labor Secretary and Takoma Park resident Tom Perez. So far, Van Hollen is the only ANNOUNCED candidate for that US Senate seat.


Tom Perez, Takoma Park resident and United States Secretary of Labor. For NOW!

Our armchair pundits speculated that candidates for Van Hollen’s seat might include US Labor Secretary Tom Perez and former county council member Valerie Ervin. According to Mike Allen in Politico, Kathleen Matthews, Chevy Chase resident and wife of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews is a “likely” candidate. Chevy Chase? Pfffft!

Heather Mizeur MAY, said one of our pundits, be thinking of running against Republican US congressman Andy Harris, who represents Kent County.

Watching the watchdog

Notice nobody suggested Comptroller Peter Franchot as a potential candidate for either the US Senate or Congress seat.

He’s on a different escalator. He’s been mentioned as a possible gubernatorial candidate for at least two election cycles. But, he’s reluctant – he’s got a sweet deal. Comptroller is probably the second-most powerful state office.

Peter Franchot

Peter Franchot, Takoma Park resident and Comptroller of Maryland. For NOW!

There was no reason to get into last year’s primary election. Lt. Governor Anthony Brown had the Democratic nomination in the bag. He also had the baggage – Governor Martin O’Malley’s deficit and tax record. Franchot wisely sat out the election.

He is well positioned for the next one, however. His weekly email newsletter The Watchdog features his fiscal responsibility.


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About the Author

Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.

3 Comments on "GRANLOLAPARK: Tomorrow the world"

  1. Gilbert, good write-up. Two comments: 1) Serving in the General Assembly — both the Senate and House of Delegates — is a step backwards for a county councilmember. Evidence? Tom Hucker made the jump from Annapolis to Rockville last year, just as Craig Rice did in 2010. 2) Good thing you didn’t include me: I’m not interested in serving in Annapolis.

  2. Deb Nelson | March 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm |

    I’m a big fan of your reports, Gilbert. But what’s with this: “Stewart is alarmingly organized and professional. How she manages career, family and city council is a mystery.” First of all, why is that a mystery? Second, if it’s a mystery re Kate Stewart, what about Tim Male, who also manages a lovely family, demanding enviro career and city council? (I don’t know Jarrett Smith’s situation, but he’s probably juggling a lot too! ) Last I checked, it’s 2015 — or did I forget to set my watch back?

    • Of course Tim Male also juggles family/career/council, as do they all to some degree, but, in the “organized and professional” department, Stewart has a bit of an edge, and has from the start. Remember she’s relatively new to the council.

      This is all based on appearance – what one can see at council meetings, so we admit we could have a mistaken impression and are giving Male or someone else short shrift. We don’t follow the councilmembers around all day. Gee, wouldn’t that be fun. But, we observed a contrast between Stewart’s first few months and Male’s and Grimes’ – which were marked by wild-eyed enthusiasm to take on the establishment. Smith was the opposite, he took his time and learned the ropes before he did much speaking-out. These are in contrast to Stewart, who was realistic and business-like from the first.

      So, it’s not a gender-stereotype-based statement. It’s an individual-based statement.

      It’s one thing to juggle,, it’s another to juggle and ride a unicycle at the same time.

      – Gilbert

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