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A Missing Endorsement

Kamenetz sits on the sidelines as Democratic county executives endorse Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake en masse.

When Rushern Baker, Ike Leggett and Ken Ulman announced they were endorsing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's campaign for mayor, no one batted an eye.

After all, why wouldn't the respective Democratic county executives from Prince George's, Montgomery and Howard Counties support another of their own party who leads a so-called Big Seven jurisdiction.

Noticeably missing from that June 16 announcement in Federal Hill, however, was the only other Big Seven Democratic leader—Kevin Kamenetz.

Don Mohler, Kamenetz's chief of staff and lead spokesman, shrugged off questions about why his boss hadn't endorsed the leader of the county's primary regional partner.

"I wouldn't read too much into it," Mohler said.

But the question is why not endorse? What's the downside?

In the predominantly Democratic city, the Democratic Party primary essentially elects the next mayor—even though Republican Vicki Ann Harding is registered to run in the general election.

Rawlings-Blake, a fellow Democrat, is the incumbent leader of the county's largest regional partner. Gov. Martin O'Malley's imprimatur is effectively on her candidacy—his brother Peter O'Malley left his brief stint running the state Democratic Party to return to the city as madam mayor's chief of staff.

It might not help to note that one of Kamenetz's senior aides is Yolanda Winkler, who is close friends with the wife of Otis Rolley, one of Rawlings-Blake's primary opponents.

Mohler said the relationship between Winkler and Rolley had nothing to do with Kamenetz's decision not to participate in the endorsement announcement.

"(Kamenetz) has been focusing his time and effort on the budget," Mohler said.

Kamenetz in on April 14. The council approved it on May 26  after effectively when it cut nearly $260,000 of a $1.6 billion general fund spending plan.

Since then, Kamenetz has spent his time, according to his public schedules, speaking at chamber of commerce breakfasts, cutting ribbons for streetscapes and running into the surf at Miami Beach.

Keep up with what's happening in Baltimore County politics by following Bryan P. Sears on Twitter and Facebook.

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johnny towson June 21, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Earlier this month, Kamenetz stated that getting involved in non-county issues can become distracting and is a door that should not be opened. Unfortunately, this will soon prove to be a position impossible to maintain. The Baltimore County Executive should lead and not pretend that it can exist without the cooperation and contributions of other counties and the State. Accordingly, the next chapter in Baltimore City's leadership can be an asset to Baltimore County or it could perpetuate or create new challenges that "distract" the focus of Baltimore County. I hope Mr. Kamenetz soon remembers the enthusiasm he had during his campaign to emerge as a state leader, willing to be unpopular if it means doing the right thing and finding the courage to be more communicative and transparent.
Buzz Beeler June 22, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Johnny, based on Kamenetz's appointments and his cronyism politics, and there are many examples of this, I would want his style of leadership anywhere in this state. If you study his agenda and take a close look at those he choose to identify with, you will see what I mean. Just take a good look at the PUD process and you will see what I mean. It reminds me of the Watergate era.

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