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Kagan, Simmons Face Off for District 17 Senate Seat

Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons and former Delegate Cheryl Kagan are going after the seat held by one of the longest serving members in the legislature.

Photo Illustration. Images courtesy of the Maryland State Archives
Photo Illustration. Images courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

Former state Delegate Cheryl Kagan has announced her plans to seek the senate seat held by Sen. Jennie Forehand, one of the longest serving members in the legislature, The Washington Post reports.

Kagan is the second person to enter the race. Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons has already announced plans to run for the seat and picked up an early endorsement from Congressman John Delaney, Patch has reported.

Forehand has not made it known publicly whether she’ll seek re-election. A political strategist told The Gazette that if Forehand doesn’t run, the race would be toss up.

There have been a volley of campaign digs in the press and on social media ever since the announcements were made.

Kagan served as a District 17 delegate from 1995 and 2003. The Washington Post reports that Kagan chose to step down in 2003, and then unsuccessfully challenged Forehand for the senate seat in 2010.

Kagan told The Gazette in November that she wants to help change perceptions about Montgomery County in the General Assembly—that it’s mostly white, rather affluent and free of adversity (>>> See: ‘Kagan, a former delegate, to run for Montgomery Senate seat’ at Gazette.net). Kagan said she also wants to speak up for the interests of Rockville and Gaithersburg, The Washington Post reports, citing a statement from Kagan.

Simmons served in the House of Delegates from 1979 to 1983 as a liberal Republican, The Gazette reports, and has served as a Democrat since 2003.

In a statement announcing his candidacy Simmons said:

“It has been a true honor and privilege to serve my community as a State Delegate.  We have accomplished a lot, but there is more to be done – more to do on education, more to do on domestic violence, more to do on our economy -- and I plan on getting right to work in the State Senate. I will always see to the needs of my community first. I hope to be a voice of reason and a voice for solutions.”

Last week, Simmons announced that he had picked up an endorsement from Teamsters and that he had “a 70% approval rating in district 17, while leading his opponent Cheryl Kagan by 16%.”

Moments after Simmons’ made the announcement, Kagan emailed a statement highlighting a Center Maryland column on Simmons’ voting record. Here’s an excerpt of the statement:

The article's conclusions are troubling:

"[Luiz Simmons'] candidacy...may raise all kinds of red flags for women's groups and organizations that work with victims of domestic violence, for gun control advocates, for people concerned about clean government..."

And that's not all! 

"Questions can be raised about Simmons' legislative record, about the fact that he seems to be using government property for political purposes, and about whether Simmons is temperamentally suited to work in a collegial environment."

The to-and-fro of their campaigning has played out online and in news accounts as far back as November.

Shortly after Kagan announced her plans to enter the race, Simmons released a polling memo claiming he had a 16-point lead, though the results came from a pool of 219 voters, according to political blog Maryland Juice.

Kagan pointed to other metrics—social media. Kagan’s fan page highlights a link to a Bethesda Magazine article that notes how her Facebook page earned the same number of likes as her rival’s in less than four hours.

As of Monday, Kagan’s fan page had 624 “likes,” compares to Simmons’ 316 “likes.”

Ken Sandin December 10, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Looks like we're in for a year of attacks and innuendo. We just suffered a season of that in Rockville. Sadly, it works. Accomplishments, values, and policy specifics beyond platitudes, anyone?

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