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Culleton: My choices on primary election day

Today is primary election day. There are some important races on both sides of the aisle. For president we have two Democratic candidates and three Republicans.

As a Democrat, my suggestion is Bernie Sanders. The reason is simple. He beats all three Republicans. Hillary Clinton loses to John Kasich.

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Now the Republicans are not likely to choose Kasich as their nominee. But I don't want to take any chances. If I were voting for a Republican, I would choose Kasich, same reason as above.

For the U.S. Senate seat I would vote for Chris Van Hollen. Given the pattern of Maryland voting for Democratic senators the choice on the Republican ballot doesn't matter much.

To replace Van Hollen in the 8th Congressional District the choices matter on both sides of the aisle. Here's why: There are three top contenders on the Democratic ballot for this seat, and they have made this the most expensive House of Representatives race in the nation. Of these three, the candidate with the longest resume of public service is state Sen. Jamie Raskin. Another big-spender who would be a worthy choice is Kathleen Mathews, a Washington insider. The third big-spender is a public service novice. But he is the one who is spending like a sailor on shore leave. His name is David Trone, and he has no apparent record of public or community service other than contributing money to campaigns in times past.

If Trone is the selected candidate, I will have to cheer for the Republican choice and possibly vote for him/her. It is my opinion that no one of any political persuasion should be allowed to purchase a House of Representatives seat.

Actually my favorite on the Democratic side is former Maryland House of Delegates majority leader Kumar Barve. He has a rich resume but a relatively slim war chest.

On the Republican slate for the 8th District seat there are several candidates. The heavy-hitters among the Republican politicos did not file, figuring that running for a seat in this district was a waste of time and money. I have no suggestions. But it is not too late to look at their web pages.

Don Cox is the most conservative of the Republican candidates. He supports Ted Cruz and his agenda. He has a background as a conservative activist and has served on a town commission. He is a lawyer.

Jeffrey Jones is a pastor who wants to serve as a "calming influence" in a not very calm House of Representatives. He is the only Republican candidate in the 8th District who favors a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In general, his agenda sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican. He supports John Kasich for president.

Liz Matory, another Kasich supporter, has traveled the route from Democrat to independent to Republican. A woman of mixed ancestry (a Filipina mother and a black father) she holds out for legal immigration into the nation similar to her mother's path. She thinks that she will have more leverage in the House of Representatives as a Republican than as a Democrat. She holds a law degree plus an MBA and serves as a business consultant.

Aryeh Shudofsky is a former aide to Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) who previously worked as a financial analyst, is now a consultant to CRTV, or Conservative Review TV, a political media company.

Shelly Skolnick, a Silver Spring lawyer, lost bids for the District 8 Republican nomination in 2012 and for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council in 2014. Skolnick favors raising the gas tax 1 cent per month for a year and then 1 percent annually to pay for highway repairs. I hold a warm spot in my heart for this candidate not only for his somewhat leftist views but also because of his surname. A long-time friend with the same surname tells me that in Polish it means scholar. If he is true to his name, then he will do his homework as a representative.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at cct@wexfordpress.com.

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