District 2C and other state delegate races

October 31, 2006

Why do some Maryland House of Delegates seats attract two solid, well-qualified candidates, while districts with weak incumbents - who could use a good challenge - often go begging?

Hard to tell, but it always seems to work out that way.

For better than 15 years, Del. John Donoghue (D) has been a decent representative in Annapolis. About the same time as Donoghue was first voted in, former Del. Paul Muldowney (then D, now R) was voted out, mostly for his unpopular but necessary rewrite of state pension law.

Now the two square off in delegate district 2-C, which consists largely of the City of Hagerstown.

Donoghue's key contribution in Annapolis has been his work on health-care subcommittees, where he does a tremendous amount of grunt work for next to no reward or recognition. It's a valuable contribution to the state and he deserves more recognition for it than he gets.


Also, on more than one occasion, Donoghue, the delegation's lone Democrat, has bailed out his colleagues, rescuing legislation important to Washington County from bungling at the hands of local Republicans who unwisely slam Democratic leadership, then seem offended when those same leaders won't grant them any favors.

Donoghue's flaw, at least as local representation is concerned, is that the City of Hagerstown often seems far from his mind. While the city endures the crises of sewer capacity, transportation problems and hospital relocation, Donoghue is seldom to be found.

Even City Hall Democrats have been critical and, lacking what they felt was an effective voice in Annapolis, they hired a lobbyist.

It's admirable that Donoghue is driven to devote himself to health care. In other times this might be enough to recommend that voters send him back.

But at this point in its history, Hagerstown needs an involved advocate, not an absentee landlord. It may be difficult for Muldowney to reclaim glories of years gone by - the legislature has changed and he's now in the minority party.

But he still has friends in high places, knows the ropes and is one of the best at playing the Annapolis game. Unlike some other members of our delegation who would rather play party politics than aggressively work to bring home state money, Muldowney has always been more interested in results.

With several high-priority road projects on the horizon, a city sewer system desperately in need of increased state-allowed capacity and a downtown on the brink of revival, results are what we need.

Were Donoghue able to parlay his water-carrying for state leadership into positive developments for Hagers-town, we would be of a different mind. But for all his yeoman work, he has little to show for it.

Never timid, Muldowney is guaranteed to rattle cages, hound bureaucrats and take no prisoners as he attempts to bring Hagerstown its fair share.

We honor Donoghue for his quiet due diligence. But we endorse Muldowney as a better, more proactive fit for Hagers-town at this time.

House of Delegates District 1C - LeRoy Myers (R) has proved an able representative for conservative western Washington County. His first term, if unspectacular, was consistent with the views of his constituents, including an opposition to legalized slot machines.

Also, Myers is a "home" delegate in a district that includes eastern Allegany County, important because it essentially gives Washington County an extra voice.

His opponent, Democrat Brian Grim, has some admirable ideas, such as his priority on education, but his lack of specifics show a mind that, while promising, has not politically matured. Our nod goes to Myers.

State Senate District 3 - Political newcomer Candy Greenway (D) wins our endorsement in her longshot bid to unseat Sen. Alex Mooney (R) in the district that includes a small slice of Washington County.

A supporter of full funding for schools at the state level, and an advocate for working with, not against, business to provide increased access to health care, Greenway has promoted a reasonable and progressive platform.

Her other chief asset is that she is not Mooney, a big-money-raising, partisan firebrand, the type of politician who has made government the mess that it is today.

House of Delegates District 3B - Although residing in Frederick County, Del. Richard Weldon (R) has proved to be a good friend to Washington County residents.

He attends local meetings, speaks up for Washington County in Annapolis and is proving to be an effective lawmaker.

We highly recommend him to voters in southern Washington County in his race against former Burkittsville Mayor Paul Gilligan.

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