From the New Harford Democratic Club:
MONTHLY MEETING MINUTES
Minutes of the November 4, 2015 meeting
Meeting called to order by President Steve Johnson a 7:01 p.m.
President Johnson led the members in the pledge to the flag.
President Johnson asked members to introduce themselves.
Treasurer’s report from George Harrison. He stated the operating account currently contains $12, 574.74. He noted that the club paid out $517.74 to cover costs of mailers for candidates endorsed by the club for the Aberdeen election.
Johnson noted that the club had authorized up to $1,000. Treasurer’s report approved by the members
Johnson asked for approval of the October meeting’s minutes that had been emailed to the membership. Approved by the members present.
President Johnson noted that the election resulted in two of the council members endorsed by the club being approved, with a third winning by one vote, but subject to additional tally of the absentee ballots.(It was later determined that the fourth spot on the ballot resulted in a tie with a winner yet to be determined.) Unfortunately, the club’s choice for Mayor, Michael Bennett failed to win re-election, by 50 votes.
Johnson said the loss by Mayor Bennett to a right wing candidate was disappointing considering that the Aberdeen area is a stronghold for the Democratic Party. He noted that Bennett had achieved a great deal of success during his tenure and stated that it was unfortunate for the city that he would no longer be able to lead the community to a better future.
Johnson then led a discussion of the election results and what had gone wrong and what could be done better in the future.
Board member Art Helton stated that he saw much of the problem was that the central committee made calls to the electorate supporting all democrats running without regard to quality of the candidates. This effort compares to the club’s effort to support Democrats who were running for re-election. He said the calls should have been made to encourage voter turnout without promoting individual candidates. As a result, voters were given the message that all the Democratic candidates had equal standing.
George Harrison stated he agreed with Mr. Helton, and noted that central committees do not take sides in primaries, but promote turnout by Democrats. It is up to the clubs to make choices. This led directly to the loss of the mayor’s race.
Johnson said the club had interviewed the candidates to look to support those who likely make an effort, who knew what the issues were and had ideas of what they would once elected. Some of the candidates, he said, did not meet those specifications, yet were promoted by the central committee as equal to the others. That undercut the better candidates.
The spirited discussion that ensured focused on doing a better job in communicating with other Democrats and have everyone work together.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:35p