County executive race much quieter than in 2010
Thursday, 23 January 2014 13:07

No significant challenger for Kamenetz so far

by Ben Boehl

    With the primary election less than five months away, most of the state-level and local races have been established.
    In the Dundalk area, both Democratic and Republican candidates have lined up for County Council, the House of Delegates and the Maryland State Senate.
    There are also contested primaries for both parties in the governor’s race. However, one contest that has been quiet is the one for Baltimore County executive.
    Incumbent Democrat Kevin Kamenetz filed on Jan. 8 to seek another term in office, but he so far faces no serious challenger in either the Democratic primary of the general election, despite being seriously tested in both four years ago.

In 2010, Kamenetz defeated then-Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder 52.4 to 43.9 precent in a heated Democratic primary. Kamenetz went on to defeat Republican former state delegate Ken Holt in the general election by a 53.7 to 46.2 percent margin.
    The closeness of the 2010 races and the political backlash Kamenetz has received for lack of transparency on county issues (such as the handling of the sale of the North Point Government Center) has led to speculation that Bartenfelder and Holt might consider entering this year’s race.
    Neither Bartenfelder nor Holt  could be reached for comment.
    The only candidate to file for county executive is Gregory J. Prush so far. There is little information about Prush other than that he is a Republican and filed using an apartment address in Pikesville.
    Towson resident Timothy “T3” Tenne filed his name for the office in April, but later withdrew his name in December.    
    Former Baltimore County Republican Central Committee Chairman Antonio Campbell has been widely touted as a possible County Executive candidate for the Republicans.
    Campbell told The Eagle he has thought about making a run for the county’s top job and will decide over the next few weeks. Campbell is a professor of political science at Towson University.
    “I’m in the process of getting ready for the spring semester at Towson, but [running for county executive] is still an option,” Campbell said.
    The filing deadline to run for county exective is Feb 25. One prominent Republican who has expressed publicly an interest for County Executive is Del. Pat McDonough, who represents the Middle River-based 6th Legislative District in Annapolis.
    McDonough told The Eagle in December that he was contemplating a run against Kamenetz but said he was still evaluating the race, since he would be taking a risk by giving up what is widely regarded as a safe seat in the House of Delegates.
    McDonough has made similar announcements about exploring bids for county executive,  U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in past years, but he has never launched a formal campaign for any of those offices.
    “I believe that we need new leadership. Now, it might not be me, but we need a new leader,” McDonough said.
    Areas in which McDonough has been critical of Kamenetz include the handling of the North Point Government Center, the implementation of the Stormwater Management-Watershed Protection and Restoration Program known as the “Rain Tax” and the Common Core initiative now being implemented by Baltimore County Public Schools.    
    McDonough said he wants to know why Kamenetz has not weighed in on the controversy surrounding Dance. He acknowledged that Kamenetz has limited authority as the Board of Education and County government are two separate entities, but insisted that Kamenetz can take steps to help taxpayers.
    “The county executive determines the budget for the board [of education]. If I was county executive, I would deduct $875,000 from next year’s [school]budget,” McDonough said.
    “It shows me a lack of concern for our public schools if Mr. Kamenetz has no comment.”
    McDonough has been maintaining his customary high profile around the county, with recent appearances including the town hall meeting last week in Dundalk, organized by GOP House of Delegates candidate Ric Metzgar.
    McDonough — who wore a “Pat McDonough 2014” button that did not specify an office — told the town hall crowd that he has polled county voters and claimed his results show significant animosity toward the Kamenetz administration over the “Rain Tax,” Common Core implementation and other issues.
    He said he believes that the Republican nominee for county executive will have a genuine opportunity to defeat Kamentez in November.
    When asked if he could be the Republican nominee, McDonough responded, “We’ll have to wait and see.”