An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Thursday, January 01, 2004


While not outright dismissing them, one cannot help but wonder at the motivations of the perennial candidates. In Maryland we have a number of challengers willing to pony up their time, money, and reputations in what can only be described as longshot challenges to incumbents.

They have the right to run and, indeed, running is one way to fulfill your duty as a citizen to be part of the solution to the challenges that face society. Some are running to get their messages out and advance their agendas, as presumably are long-time activists Mignon Davis in the 4th congressional district and Deborah Vollmer in the 8th.

They can be applauded for their dedication to their communities and their ideals, but given how secure the incumbents are in terms of community support, financing, organization, and name challengers with little of any of these things are hardly running with a realistic hope of winning. If, then, we accept the notion that most of the challengers (not unlike some in the presidential campaign) are running without illusions that they stand a measurable chance of winning, then we must ask if there is some better way to contribute to the process.

For those who like the local angle, Del. Neil Quinter (D-Howard) seems to feel targeted by the local GOP for the 2006 election. In Montgomery, Del. Peter Franchot, rumored to be planning for a statewide run, apparently hosted a party for Howard Dean in Montgomery County last night (according to an email making the rounds) and the Maryland for Clark campaign is showing off endorsements online that include some big names. Lastly, there is a seminar on the state budget next week as listed in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel.