In advance of the City of Aberdeen’s November 3 municipal election, the New Harford Democratic Club is imploring its members to attend Wednesday night’s meeting to vote on which mayoral candidate the club will endorse – incumbent mayor Mike Bennett or current city council president Mike Hiob.
Aside from the fact that municipal elections are nonpartisan (although Bennett and Hiob are both Democrats, no party affiliation will appear next to the names of any candidates on the Aberdeen election ballot), the New Harford Democratic Club is also creating a stir because it will be voting to endorse a candidate several days before candidates can even begin to file to run for office.
The New Harford Democratic Club will hold its meeting and endorsement vote on September 2, but the City of Aberdeen’s candidate filing period extends from September 5 through October 3.
So what if the man the New Harford Democratic Club votes to endorse ends up deciding not to file as a candidate? Or what if a third (or fourth or fifth?) candidate steps forward to run for mayor during the filing period?
Former club president and current member of the board of directors Art Helton addressed those issues in a recent interview:
“The club’s board of directors decided that since we only meet once a month that waiting until the October meeting would be too late to be effective on behalf of any endorsed candidate. They also felt that anyone running for the mayor’s position would certainly have made their candidacy known by now,” he said.
Helton said the New Harford Democratic Club would welcome any other mayoral candidates besides Bennett and Hiob to attend the meeting and be considered for endorsement.
“Do you know of anyone else running for mayor? If so they are also welcome to be heard and considered at the meeting. We also did a public announcement of the meeting and agenda,” he added.
As far as the city council seats up for election on November 3, the New Harford Democratic Club will not be making any endorsements.
“The board of directors decided not to endorse in the council race. The main reason is one of the questions you raised. That is we reallly don’t know yet “who is running?” That question was clearer in the mayor’s race. I hear some names in the council race but truly have no idea who is going to surface at filing deadline,” Helton said.
Here is the text from the recent New Harford Democratic Club meeting reminder:
New Harford Democratic Club
Wednesday September 2, 2009, 7pm
Aberdeen Holiday Inn, 1007 Beards Hill Rd., Aberdeen.
Susan Turnbull- Chair, Maryland Democratic Party
Also: Mayor Mike Bennett and Councilman Mike Hiob, candidates for Aberdeen Mayor, will address the Club. After a short Q & A period, the candidates will be released and club members in good standing (members with paid dues) will vote on the club’s endorsement. Candidates will be informed of the NHDC endorsement immediately following the vote.
Please join us for this important meeting!