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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political notes: Guess who’s coming to town? Plus, MoCo planning vacancies draw a crowd, and a political provocateur targets Moore

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (right, pictured with Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby), is headed to Frederick for two Republican events this weekend. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that William Kirwan, who applied to serve on the Montgomery County Planning Commission is an architect and not the former University System of Maryland chancellor.

More than 120 people have applied for a temporary appointment to the Montgomery County Planning Commission. Those five jobs, you’l recall, became vacant last week when the County Council demanded the resignations of all five commissioners due to an array of dysfunction at the planning agency.

It will be up to the new County Council, which will be seated in early December, to name longer term replacements. But in the meantime, the five people the council names to serve temporarily will serve for at least a couple of months. The council is tentatively scheduled to interview finalists for the temporary positions and vote on their appointments next Monday.

So who has applied? The temptation is to say, who hasn’t? The long list includes gray eminences, perennial political wannabes, up-and-comers, and people who genuinely want to help restore some integrity to the planning commission.

Here are some of the names that stuck out to us:

  • Montgomery County Civic Federation President Alan Bowser
  • Former County Councilmember Cheri Branson
  • Francoise Carrier, a land use attorney in Bethesda and former planning board chair
  • Bonnie Casper, former president of the Maryland Association of Realtors
  • Norman Dreyfus, a former planning board member and former executive at IDI MD, the developer of Leisure World and many other developments throughout the Washington, D.C., region
  • Former Rockville Mayor Larry Giammo
  • Barbara Goldberg Goldman, the longtime Democratic activist who organizes the annual Montgomery County affordable housing conference
  • William Kirwan, an architect an architect who served on the Montgomery Historic Preservation Commission, son of the former chancellor of the University System of Maryland
  • Peggy Lucero, a crusader against traffic cameras
  • Former Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow
  • Eileen McGuckian, president of the group Montgomery Preservation and former head of Peerless Rockville
  • Bernice Mireku-North, who ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery County state’s attorney this year
  • Kathleen Mitchell, an aide to County Councilmember Hans Riemer
  • Amy Presley, a former member of the planning board who was appointed after becoming a vocal critic of the Clarksburg Town Center, which led to numerous planning reforms.
  • Former Maryland Transportation Secretary David Winstead

Generally, the County Council can only name three people from the same political party to the planning commission. So in a heavily Democratic county, it’s likely that three of the appointees will be Democrats; the others could be Republicans, unaffiliated voters or some combination.

‘Less Is Moore’ PAC emerges

Perhaps it was bound to happen: A political action committee has emerged at the 11th hour to sound a warning about Wes Moore, the Democratic nominee for governor.

The Less Is Moore PAC has registered with the Maryland State Board of Elections and has begun raising money. The PAC’s new website warns, “WES MOORE MEANS LESS FOR MARYLAND.”

The website, which features pictures of abandoned buildings, carries a few dog whistles.

“Moore lied about being from Baltimore, lied about being from Riverside, and spent his career pushing socialism — Taking your hard-earned paycheck and making it harder for families to make ends meet,” the site says.

“If elected, Wes Moore will continue on his career aspirations… paid for by your pocketbook.

“Killing jobs… Killing opportunity.

“Less money in your pocket, when inflation is at a record high.

“Turning all of Maryland into downtown Baltimore.”

The existence of the website is interesting enough on its own. What’s equally interesting is who is heading it — Matthew Foldi, the 20-something conservative journalist who ran unsuccessfully for the 6th District congressional seat in this year’s Republican primary. Foldi has shown that he knows a thing or two about political theater.

Foldi said he’s fighting “to return freedom to the Freedom State.”

“For the past eight years, Maryland has had the best governor in America, who’s been instrumental in checking the impulses of one-party rule,” Foldi said of Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who is term-limited. “Wes Moore would have us repeat the same failed policies that Marylanders have twice rejected statewide in the past. Less Is Moore is launching to combat the detrimental policies of Wes Moore and bring some transparency to his real intentions for Maryland.”

Cruz control, but no Hogan

Speaking of the 6th District, state Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), who is challenging U.S. Rep. David Trone (D) in the state’s most competitive congressional race, is bringing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) to Frederick for two events on Saturday.

Parrott and Cruz will first appear together at a late morning “Take Back America roundtable” and fundraiser at The Red Horse in downtown Frederick. That will be followed by a campaign rally at the farm of former U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R), who held the 6th District seat from 1993 to 2013.

Parrott touted Cruz’s visit as a sign that he’s gaining on Trone, who has dropped more than $13 million of his own money into the campaign.

“He saw how close this race is and is coming to help,” Parrott wrote in a fundraising solicitation.

For all the attention on the 6th District race, we’ve noticed that Hogan, the popular governor, has yet to make an appearance on Parrott’s behalf. Is Parrott too MAGA for Hogan? Is Hogan too RINO for Parrott and his supporters?

On Wednesday night, Hogan appeared at a happy hour in Essex with Republican National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose, who is challenging 10-term Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) in the 2nd District (Ruppersberger has just launched a TV ad touting his centrist credentials).

Earlier this week, Hogan tweeted his support for Yuripzy Morgan, the former WBAL Radio personality who is challenging Rep. John Sarbanes (D) in the 8th District.

I’m proud to support @YMforcongress because she will be an independent voice and great leader for Maryland’s 3rd district,” he wrote. “She’ll fight the toxic politics in Washington and find common sense solutions to the challenges we face.”

On Thursday afternoon, Hogan is appearing at an Annapolis fundraiser for Del. Reid Novotny (R-Howard), who is challenging state Sen. Katie Fry Hester (D) and represents the GOP’s best pickup opportunity in the state Senate.