Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Doug Duncan comes to Baltimore

In Tuesday’s Washington Post, John Wagner describes Doug Duncan’s efforts to increase his profile beyond the DC suburbs and into Baltimore.

“After settling into a Baltimore area radio studio last week and slipping on some headphones, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan offered a candid admission about his bid for governor: Too many people in that region still know him only as "the other guy in the race."
"I think it's the biggest disadvantage I have," Duncan told listeners more familiar with the other Democratic candidate, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. "But that's changing."

For over a year here in Baltimore, I’ve been brashly predicting that Doug Duncan would kick Martin O’Malley’s a** in the Democratic primary race to be governor. He’s not the pretty boy that the Mayor is but I think he is smarter with more positive experience in elected executive positions. He has served as a popular mayor of Maryland’s second largest city (Rockville) and as a popular county executive of its largest political subdivision. Between Montgomery County and Baltimore City, I think he has the better story: nobody moves from Montgomery County to Baltimore City because of schools, crime or employment opportunities. He projects competence and, before he started focusing on the governor’s mansion, was a welcome voice of moderation amidst the knee-jerk liberalism of Montgomery County.

Still there is a lot to be wary of in Mr. Duncan’s policies. For no apparent reason, he has supported efforts to make illegal immigrants more welcome in Maryland (with drivers licenses) and he oversaw the expansion of the nanny state with the no smoking ban extended to all bars and restaurants. No reason to think he wouldn’t bring that thought process to Annapolis.

The conventional wisdom (and the polls) still says the Democratic nomination is Mr. O’Malley’s to lose. But given that the primary is not until September, there remains plenty of time for him to do just that.

I’m voting for Bob Ehrlich and the prospect of these Democrats duking it out over the next few months is not an unpleasant one. But should the Democrats nominate Martin O’Malley over Doug Duncan, you can be sure there will have been no knockout punch thrown and the fight was not decided on points.

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