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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political notes: Staffing up, public safety officials taking sides, Progressive Md. claims victory, and a new gig for an Annapolis lobbyist

Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick), a candidate for governor, talks to reporters in Annapolis on June 30. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

Often, during the Republican primary for governor, it appeared as if Del. Dan Cox’s campaign was a homegrown affair, populated with family members and volunteers. Now that he’s the GOP nominee, the Frederick County lawmaker is trying to add some structure to his campaign.

Last week, Cox announced that Zach Werrell would serve as his campaign manager.

Werrell, who recently received a law degree from the University of Texas, has worked for dozens of campaigns, most famously serving as campaign manager for former U.S. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), when Brat upset then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the 2014 Republican primary. He later co-wrote a book about the experience called “How to Bag a RINO.”

Cox also announced several other key members of his campaign team: Lucy Kruse is becoming the campaign press director; Kate Sullivan is the field director; Patience Faith, Cox’s daughter who held a variety of roles during the primary, will become his executive assistant; Debbie Olsen will head up the finance team; and Sallie Taylor, a longtime staffer to former U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-Md.) who also served as Cox’s legislative chief of staff and recently lost a GOP primary for a seat in the House of Delegates, will become campaign office director.

“With our leadership and field team, we will successfully win Maryland with the issues that are most important to Marylanders: Protecting our Children, Community Safety, and advancing a Career-friendly Atmosphere,” Cox said in a statement. “We are here to unite all Marylanders under this banner.”

Cox also said his campaign has “a field of energized and successful patriots leading as our grassroots volunteer team. Our County Captains and Regional Directors have already hit the ground running and are on track to get us a first place run through the finish line this November.”

Cox is competing in the general election for governor against author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore (D).

Dem coordinates

As Democrats work to defeat Cox and other Republicans up and down the ballot, the Maryland Democratic Party on Monday announced the leaders for its 2022 coordinated campaign.

Saif Ratul will serve as the coordinated campaign director, with lieutenant governor nominee Aruna Miller, state Sen. Antonio Hayes, and former state party chair Susan Turnbull serving as co-chairs.

Ratul has worked on several campaigns in Maryland, including as the regional field and political director for U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, as field director for the Maryland Democratic Party, and as a state organizing director for President Biden’s campaign. Most recently, he was director of political engagement for Moore’s gubernatorial campaign.

“I’ve worked on campaigns from local to presidential and I have never seen the level of talent and sheer excitement in the base for Maryland’s slate of Democratic candidates,” Ratul said.

The coordinated campaign’s three co-chairs are Moore loyalists: Miller, his running mate, spent eight years in the House of Delegates before running unsuccessfully for Congress in 2018.

Hayes, another former political director for the Maryland Democratic Party, is finishing his first term in the Senate after serving for a term in the House. He was one of the first state lawmakers to endorse Moore for governor.

Turnbull has held a variety of roles for the party, including as the 2018 Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, and as Maryland’s Democratic National Committeewoman.

“We have a historic, dynamic ticket and we need a leadership team that meets the moment,” Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis said. “I have no doubt that these four will lead us to convincing victories up and down the board in November.”

Rallying round Kittleman

Several former Howard County public safety leaders — including some who served under Democratic county executives — announced last week that they are supporting former County Executive Allan Kittleman (R) in his comeback bid. The leaders argued that Howard County public safety under current County Executive Calvin Ball (D), who ousted Kittleman four years ago, is heading in the wrong direction.

“I appreciate the incredible support of Howard County’s public safety leaders who have successfully kept our communities safe for so many years, and they know if we want to change the current direction, it starts at the top,” Kittleman said.

Among the former Howard County law enforcement officials who have endorsed Kittleman:

  • Gary Gardner, his former police chief;
  • Bill McMahon, former police chief appointed by then-County Executive Ken Ulman (D);
  • Wayne Livesay, former police chief appointed by then-County Executive Jim Robey (D);
  • Former Howard County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Bill Anuszewski, appointed by Ball;
  • Daniel Merson, former DFRS chief appointed by Kittleman;
  • Joe Herr, former DFRS chief appointed by Robey.

Progressive Maryland counts wins

With the July 19 primaries now three weeks in the rearview mirror, the group Progressive Maryland is touting its wins in a series of Democratic primaries across the state.

In all, Progressive Maryland leaders said 64% of the candidates they endorsed wound up winning, including Laurie-Anne Sayles, who won the Democratic primary for a Montgomery County Council at-large seat; Natali Fani-Gonzalez, who was nominated for a Montgomery County Council seat in District 6; Wala Blegay, a union lawyer who won a seat on Prince George’s County Council for District 6; Krystal Oriadha, who won a seat on Prince George’s County Council for District 7 and will become the first openly-LGBTQ person to serve on the council there; Prince George’s Councilmember Edward Burroughs, who was re-elected to the District 8 seat; Tiffany Jones, an LGBTQ candidate who won a seat on the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee for District 45; Michele Gregory, a member of the Salisbury City Council, who won her primary for state Senate in District 38 on the Lower Shore; Jamila Woods, who won a primary for delegate in Prince George’s County’s District 26; and Del. Sheila Ruth (D-Baltimore County), who was the top vote-getter in the primary in District 44B.

“We are excited to be shifting the playing field here in Annapolis,” said Progressive Maryland Executive Director Larry Stafford. “Voters are moving away from the developer-backed politics that have left Black and Brown communities underserved for too long and towards a grass-roots funded politics that will actually work for our communities.”

As the Annapolis lobbying world turns

Gregory Snyder II, who served most recently as a senior government relations associate at the Bellamy Genn Group in Annapolis, is moving over to The Arc Central Chesapeake Region, the nonprofit that works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to become the organization’s chief of staff.

Snyder previously worked with the Maryland Catholic Conference, as associate director for communications and engagement; in the Office of Governmental Affairs for the Maryland Transit Administration under Gov. Larry Hogan (R); as chief of staff to state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County); and as a legislative aide to Sen. Justin Ready (R-Carroll).

“Greg has dedicated much of his professional and personal life to public service and disability rights, including serving on our Board of Directors for several years,” said Jonathon Rondeau, president and CEO of The Arc. “His energy and leadership will allow us to continue to expand and seek new opportunities to meet the needs of the communities we serve.”


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Political notes: Staffing up, public safety officials taking sides, Progressive Md. claims victory, and a new gig for an Annapolis lobbyist