05.17.14 [revised] MD D20: What’s he thinking? Jawando goes after Hixson.

this post replaces a version I published earlier this evening — this revision is not of the substance, but rather of the form

Will Jawando is a candidate for one of three delegate seats in Maryland’s District 20. Valerie Ervin wants us to vote for him as her model candidate:

  • He’s ambitious. If you liked how Valerie Ervin quit mid-term to plot her path toward greater glory, you’d love how Jawando would be running for Congress from his first day as delegate.
  • He’s unqualified: What connection is there between being White House staff and Maryland politics? Not much.  Jawando has never done five minutes of work for our district and our community. He was born here. So what? So was Will Smith.
  • He’s weak: Jawando would be nowhere without Ervin’s backing, meaning that if he is elected he will follow her to the ends of the earth. Jawando’s debt to Ervin will come at the expense of D20.

As if  this weren’t enough, Jawando has begun badmouthing D20 delegation dean, Sheila Hixson (ahem) Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee (ahem) when he’s out door-knocking. He’s apparently telling folks that Hixson is over the hill and needs to pack it in. What’s dumb about this strategy?

  1. Jawando’s simply wrong. Hixson is totally with it. She’s vigorous, healthy, and eager to continue using her considerable political power on behalf of our district and our values.
  2. Hixson is going to win. Which means that if D20 voters somehow also put Jawando in office, he will have alienated the person he would most need to collaborate with to be even marginally effective in office. It’s practically Politics 101 not to go negative in a race for multiple seats — for very little upside, making enemies just ain’t worth it.
  3. Taking on one of the most powerful politicians in the state for no apparent reason is hardly recommended political behavior.

There are many attractive D20 candidates.  Why choose Will?

©2014 Keith Berner

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2 Comments on “05.17.14 [revised] MD D20: What’s he thinking? Jawando goes after Hixson.”


  1. As part of an organization that endorsed BOTH Sheila Hixson AND Will Jawando- do you have ANY evidence at ALL that he has, in fact, bad mouthed Chairman Hixson, or is this what you are “hearing” from the “doors” ? Because, while I understand that journalistic standards are practically non existent in the blogosphere- I think your readers are owed better than poorly sourced conjecture. I hold Delegate Hixson in the HIGHEST regard, she was lead sponsor of our key piece of legislation last session- in all of my conversations with him, he has done nothing but indicate that he shares the same. What he MAY have said is that- there are THREE seats and no incumbent is automatically owed re-election, we AGREE, we just think Sheila CLEARLY deserves re-election and is one of the most valuable assets this County has in Annapolis- if you have instances where Will has publicly disagreed, we’d be interested to see it.

    On another note entirely, your new found outrage about Will Jawando would be a tiny bit more creditable if you hadnt clearly indicated your disdain for him OVER SIX MONTHS AGO, in one of your FIRST columns you wrote about him- clearly you have an axe to grind and its your blog and your axe but please lets not pretend that you are anything approaching neutral when it comes to his candidacy. Lastly, as the Political Director of the largest labor organization in Montgomery County, one that has historically been at the very center of the fight for a progressive agenda not only in Montgomery County, but in Maryland and indeed, nationally- I can say that we endorsed Will because we TRUST him to go to Annapolis and be a SKILLED, DEDICATED and PASSIONATE fighter for the issues that matter to us. We need TRUE champions to replace Tom Hucker and Heather Mizeur and we are confident that we have found them in Will Jawando and David Moon.

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    • Keith Berner Says:

      Mark–

      I don’t remember if you and I have met directly. In any case, I’m really honored by your attention to my blog and your willingness to provide such thoughtful feedback. Let me provide what I hope will be thoughtful replies.

      As for Jawando’s comments about Hixson while door-knocking, there have been several reports of this. I am not an investigative journalist, so I have not gone out to verify them. To that extent, everything I write should be taken with a grain of salt and readers should draw their own conclusions based on as many sources of info they can get. (Is that a cop-out on my part? Maybe.) I note that the Jawando campaign has thus far not denied the allegation.

      Jawando has asked to meet with me and we’ll be doing so later today. I will give him a respectful hearing. As I have told him, I cannot promise to change my views, but there is a decent chance that I’ll report here what he tells me.

      You’re right: I was biased against Jawando from the start. He stuck out at me like a sore thumb, in contrast to the rest of the field, as more about ambition than service. He sounded like he was reading from a script of political pablum. And (yes), he was a Valerie Ervin endorsee, which is a huge negative in my book. Finally — and probably most important for me — there is no apparently no record of Jawando’s having served this district in any way before seeking office. (David Moon’s ties to Ervin are the sole reason why I’m not endorsing him. But he is extremely qualified — far above Jawando — in terms of his knowledge of/involvement in Maryland politics and his work on the ground in our district.) Finally #2, this is a pretty great field of candidates: I see many more attractive choices than Will Jawando.

      This is an opinion blog. I *always* have an ax to grind or I wouldn’t be writing. I could probably be a decent objective reporter, if I chose to be, but that isn’t the choice I have made. I don’t blame anyone for disagreeing with me, countering me, challenging me (as you have so eloquently done), or choosing to ignore me if they don’t find value in what I cover or my points of view. I proudly contrast myself with Seventh State and Maryland Politics Watch by allowing comments and not censoring them. (I think Seventh State is an outstanding blog, but Lublin also has axes to grind — e.g., his cheap shots at Progressive Neighbors based on his unacknowledged promotion of Rich Madaleno.)

      Please keep your feedback coming, Mark. Contact me directly by email if you want to talk live or meet.

      –Keith

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