Dear Friends and Neighbors,
With so few votes remaining to post, I can finally close out the chapter on this election. While this isn’t the outcome I would have wanted for our district, I am exceedingly proud of the campaign we ran, and this race gives me incredible hope for our future!
We bucked history in a big way! No Democrat has received such a large percentage of the vote in District 5 since 1986 when Carole Baker won reelection. No challenger—Democrat or Republican—has done so well against an incumbent since 1978. An erect Berlin Wall is closer to us in history than a better showing. Despite being exceedingly dwarfed in time and resources as a political newcomer with real-world obligations, we came closer than any first-time Democrat in my lifetime!
And that’s why I’m filled with hope for the future. No matter what spin Amanda Fiedler wants to put on it, to retain political power she spent more money in just a few months than I raised in the entire campaign to spread disinformation and despicable personal attacks. And yet, that could not save her from having the WORST showing of an incumbent in OVER 50 years. For perspective, Cathy Vitale and Diane Evans both secured their reelection victories with over 73% of the vote; Amanda Fiedler barely cracked 53%.
This should have been a shoe-in by historical standards and it wasn’t. Fiedler and her Republican allies know that they are the most vulnerable they have been in this district since the days of the Soviet Union and Betamax and cannot afford to alienate the growing heart of this increasingly purple district. My hope is that this will compel Ms. Fiedler to stop playing ball for far-right and special interests, if for no other reason than her political self-preservation. While that might make it harder for the next challenger to unseat her, it would be better for the citizens of our district and that’s what matters.
And if that doesn’t happen or if the Republicans lose the advantage of incumbency, this race shows that with a quality challenger and solid investment, the Republican *will* lose. Truly, the largest handicap of this race was resources. Voters often don’t really know what their councilmember even does, let alone pay attention enough to scrutinize their record. While I tried to run an above board campaign to both highlight my qualifications and educate voters on the incumbent’s true record, when the incumbent can send out x5 as many mailers misinforming voters, that matters. If we had a fraction of the $147,448.56 (preliminary) Amanda Fiedler spent on this campaign— yes, you read that right— I can’t imagine what we might have been able to accomplish. I hope to continue to be part of efforts for voter education and civic engagement, and I hope you will continue to offer your help in supporting quality candidates in the future.
In sum, while we didn’t make it over the finish line, there is a lot to be proud of and a lot to be hopeful for in the future! With the victories of Steuart Pittman, Delegate Heather Bagnall, Dawn Gile, Everett Sesker, and Wes Moore, our district should feel very hopeful for our future regardless of the results of this county council race. Stay engaged, stay hopeful, and let’s keep moving forward!
Best Regards, Carl