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Election 2022

Political notes: Long list of applicants for Luedtke’s seat, plus Md. Dems’ new leadership team and a new lobbying hire

House Majority Leader Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery). Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Eleven Democrats have applied for the vacancy representing Montgomery County’s District 14 in the House of Delegates.

The seat is about to become vacant now that House Majority Leader Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) has been tapped by Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D) to be his chief legislative officer.

The governor — and depending on the timing, it’ll either be Moore, who takes office on Jan. 18, or outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) — will appoint the new delegate based on a recommendation from the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.

The Jerry Samet District 14 Democratic Brunch Club is hosting an online forum for the contenders on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The central committee will accept letters of support for the candidates through Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. And the central committee vote is scheduled for Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

The list of applicants, first reported by Adam Pagnucco in his Montgomery Perspective blog, includes several candidates who have previously run for office. They are:

  • Nathan Feinberg, a Montgomery County Public Schools teacher
  • Jodi Finkelstein, executive director of the Montgomery County Commission for Women, who ran unsuccessfully for a District 14 House seat in 2010
  • Paul Geller, a former county PTA leader who has run unsuccessfully for three different offices dating back to 2018
  • Bernie Mireku-North, a former prosecutor who ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery County state’s attorney this year
  • Perry Paylor, also a prosecutor who ran unsuccessfully for state’s attorney this year
  • Matthew Post, a former student member of the Montgomery County Board of Education, who is looking to become the third Gen Z-er to serve in the House of Delegates
  • Hafizur Rahman, a finance manager
  • Raj Rajendra, a tech contractor
  • Paul Schwartz, a retired federal employee and former newspaper columnist who ran unsuccessfully for county council this year
  • Tom Smith, who ran unsuccessfully for a House seat in District 14 this year
  • Doug Terry, who owns a TV production and documentary film company

Notably, none of the applicants is a member of the Democratic Central Committee, a break with tradition in Montgomery County.

Lewis reelected Dem chair with a new slate of leaders

Yvette Lewis was reelected state Democratic chair on Saturday.

Lewis, a professional opera singer from Prince George’s County, became chair in 2019, her second stint in the job. She was reelected at a state Democratic Central Committee on a slate that features First Vice Chair Everett Browning (Prince George’s County), Second Vice Chair Judy Wixted (Talbot County), Third Vice Chair Ruben Amaya (Baltimore County), Treasurer Devang Shah (Montgomery County), Deputy Treasurer Diana Emerson (Baltimore City), Secretary Corynne Courpas (Carroll County), and Deputy Secretary Gabe Gough (Calvert County).

The slate was endorsed by Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D), who spoke at the state party meeting Saturday at the Prince George’s County headquarters of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26. He called the new slate “the dream team.”

“Every young Marylander can look at our newly elected leaders, and our party leadership, and see themselves reflected in them,” Lewis said. “We don’t run from our diversity. We see it as our greatest strength. We lift up our diversity, embrace it, and amplify it.”

New ‘white hat’ lobbyist

Public Policy Partners, one of the few “white hat” lobbying firms in Annapolis, has brought on a new senior government relations associate.

Michael Paddy, who spent the past year as government relations director for the Maryland Hospital Association, is coming on board. He has also worked in a variety of legislative and regulatory capacities at the Maryland Insurance Administration, and he held an internship at the lobbying firm Semmes, Bowen & Semmes.