Anne Arundel endorsements

Anne Arundel will experience significant turnover on both the local and state levels after the November election, and several races in this primary merit particular attention. Here are The Sun’s endorsements in select contests:

County Council

District 2, is represented currently by Republican Councilman John Grasso, and veteran and retired state government official Tom Gardner is unopposed in the GOP primary. Two solid Democrats are seeking the seat, Candy Fontz, who has been a community liaison for state and local officials, and education activist and former school board member Allison Pickard. While both bring solid credentials to the race, Ms. Pickard’s focus on the environment (she has the endorsement of both the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters) should matter to members of this district. Mr. Grasso was strong on environmental issues, and the council needs someone from this district who will continue that legacy.

Republicans in District 5 should jump at the opportunity to vote against the embarrassment that is Councilman Michael Peroutka. Someone who famously sang “Dixie” at a convention of the white supremacist League of the South (of which he is a former member) should not be holding office in 2018. Fortunately, GOP voters have a great alternative in Amanda Fiedler, a community and education activist with professional experience working on media for Republican campaigns. She’s a solid, pro-business, fiscally conservative candidate District 5 Republicans could be proud to nominate.

The Annapolis-based 6th District has a pair of good candidates in the Democratic primary, attorney Scott MacMullan and attorney-turned-teacher Lisa Rodvien Either one would be a good addition to the council. Mr. MacMullan is an Arundel native with an extensive record of community involvement (so much so that he interviews Annapolitans in his spare time for a podcast) and a slew of endorsements from local public safety, organized labor and environmental groups, as well as various current and former elected officials (and our colleagues at the Annapolis Capital). But our pick is Lisa Rodvien. Her unique combination of experience and depth of knowledge of the school system would be real assets to the council, and we appreciate the emphasis she places on nurturing the community’s diversity — an important issue at a time when several racially motivated incidents have made news in the county.

South County’s 7th District, represented in recent years by Councilman Jerry Walker, faces an interesting battle between attorney and civil engineer Jessica Haire and former banker, current stay-at-home dad Jonathan Boniface. Ms. Haire has gotten support from some big names in the GOP, including contributions from County Executive Steve Schuh, Del. Nic Kipke and Del. Kathy Szeliga, and she’s married to state GOP Chairman Dirk Haire. She is an accomplished attorney, volunteers with Court Appointed Special Advocates and serves on the Arundel Women’s Commission. Nonetheless, we support Mr. Boniface, whose extensive record of community service culminated in a multi-year, uphill but ultimately successful effort to get a new Crofton High School. That kind of determination and organizational ability would be a benefit to the council.

General Assembly

The race to succeed Sen. John Astle in District 30 has spawned a competitive Democratic primary between Sarah Elfreth and Chrissy Holt. Ms. Elfreth, just 29, is the former government affairs director of the National Aquarium and now works as a senior official with Margrave Strategies, former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman’s firm that focuses on economic development around universities. She has deep involvement in Annapolis Democratic politics, endorsements from key liberal groups and a well developed platform. Ms. Holt, a successful business executive, is mounting an aggressive campaign to her left, emphasizing single payer health care and other progressive issues. We like them both, but if Democrats are looking ahead to a competitive general election against former delegate and gubernatorial candidate Ron George in a politically split district, Ms. Elfreth is the better bet.

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