According to a published report, Wicomico County at-large councilman John Cannon will enter the race for Delegate for District 38A, becoming the second Republican to seek the seat held by the late Delegate Page Elmore. He’ll face Crisfield attorney John Phoebus for the GOP primary nod. With just a few days to go before the filing deadline only one Democrat, Somerset County Commission President Mike McCready, has filed for his party’s nomination.
Cannon’s entry into the House of Delegates race also means that neither at-large County Council member will return for another term, as Democrat Bill McCain announced previously he would not run again. It also leaves the GOP without a candidate to fill either of the two at-large slots on the ballot as Ryan Hohman announced his withdrawal from the race last month. Two Democrats, former councilman Ed Taylor and political activist Mike Brewington, are already set for the ballot.
(continued on my Examiner.com page…but come back for the enhanced article.)
As I noted in my Facebook posting of the original article, I’m not sure I agree with the move in a tactical sense.
First of all, love him or hate him, there wasn’t much doubt that John Cannon would’ve kept his County Council seat had he ran again. In fact, a best-case scenario among those in the running may have maintained or enhanced the GOP’s 4-3 advantage but with even more fiscal hawks placed on County Council – for example, even though he’s a Democrat, Mike Brewington would likely be much more fiscally conservative than Bill McCain.
Yet now the possibility exists of a Democratic takeover of County Council, with the spendthrift likes of Ed Taylor being returned to County Council. Combine that with another term of Rick Pollitt and you better hold on to your wallets.
On the flip side, it’s obvious the Democrats would like to get the District 38A seat to make up for a possible loss in neighboring District 38B. They have a relatively strong Somerset-based candidate in Mike McCready and it’s my belief that a Somerset-based Republican is the better choice to counter McCready’s effect. As I pointed out in the Examiner piece, while Wicomico Republicans made up a majority of the GOP vote, Somerset voters have a majority in the district. And if you think the Republican voter registration numbers are bad here, the situation for the GOP is much worse in Somerset County. (It’s another classic case of the “Daddy was a Democrat so I’m one” syndrome common on the Eastern Shore.)
I don’t mind the contested primary, but I think in a strategical sense things would have been better if Cannon had decided to stay put. I think Page tried to put the bravest face possible on his condition hoping that it would work out best for the party, but word spreads just as quickly here as anywhere else and I think Democrats smelled an opportunity this time around.
Frankly, I was less than pleased with Page Elmore’s voting record on a number of key issues but it’s not very likely a Democrat will do any better. Hopefully Cannon’s move won’t end up losing Republicans a much-needed seat in Annapolis.