DMV Daily: Will We Count in 2012?

Region may have little role in primaries

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Likely Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney at the 2008 GOP convention.

    Will the region’s votes mean much in the 2012 presidential primaries? Virginia’s might, but Maryland and D.C. are probably out of luck.

    The Washington Examiner writes that unlike in 2008, when all three held primaries on Feb. 12, when both parties’ nominations were still up in the air, the 2012 votes will come later, and not on the same day.

    Virginia is expected to vote on March 6, still early enough to have some impact in what is likely to be a crowded GOP contest. But Maryland probably won’t vote until April 3, by which time the contest could already be decided. And the District will return to its traditional place at the end of the cycle, voting in early June. (Since D.C. is overwhelmingly Democratic and President Obama is unlikely to face a serious challenger, the District’s primary will not have much impact anyway.)

    D.C. Democratic Committee Executive Director David Meadows told the Examiner that the Democrats would “like to have a regional primary again to help make sure we remain important to the candidates.” But after a rush to the front of the calendar in 2008 that had candidates campaigning over Christmas, both national parties are trying to push things back and slow things down in 2012.

    Elsewhere in the DMV:

    * The Examiner reports Mayor Vincent Gray named Beatriz Otero, founder of education services provider CentroNia, as deputy mayor for Health and Human Services. The Examiner says Otero “comes to the position as the city faces dwindling resources to house a steadily increasing number of homeless residents.” Otero told the Washington Post that “her approach would be to build ‘relationships, bringing people together and making sure that in every decision we make, children and families are considered first.’”

    * The Post reports D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown received big bucks from “developers, real estate big wigs, and business leaders” for his transition. Brown raised $91,800 in all, with $10,000 coming from the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington, $5,000 from developers Donatelli and Klein, and at least $1,000 from each of five others in the industry.

    * The Georgetown Dish reports Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans plans to remain neutral in the free-for-all At-Large Council special election, saying, “I have too many friends in the race.” Evans, who was first elected in a similar special election with 16 candidates, said, “You can probably win this race with 5,000 votes. … You have to figure out a way to distinguish yourself.” He said interim Councilmember Sekou Biddle and Ward 8’s Jacque Patterson have “gotten themselves ahead” with strong early fundraising. The Dish is sponsoring a candidate forum on Feb. 23.

    * The Examiner reports that Friends of Bedford, the “consultants that D.C. Public Schools says failed to run Dunbar Senior High School effectively,” want to open a charter school in the city. The proposed Bedford Collegiate Academy “would open in Ward 4 to 125 ninth-grade students and grow to serve 500 high school students.” The group’s CEO George Leonard said Dunbar “was on life support when we got there,” and that it would have done a better job given more time.

    * Veteran D.C. political activist Jeff Coudriet “died Saturday night after a year-long fight with lung cancer,” Borderstan reports. The 48-year-old most recently worked for Evans.

    * Only 677 Maryland employees have opted for early retirement under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s buyout plan, well short of the 1,000 O’Malley had hoped for. The Baltimore Sun says the retirements will save the state $30.7 million; O’Malley’s budget had assumed $40 million in savings. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of Transportation had the most early exits. The Post says the overall savings will be “less than 2 percent” of Maryland’s estimated $1.6 billion deficit.

    * The Sun reports gay marriage seems to be within four votes of passage in the Maryland Senate. The Sun says the same-sex marriage bill has “20 solid supporters,” with 24 needed for passage. Six senators have not yet said publicly how they are leaning.

    * So much for Virginia liquor store privatization. Gov. Bob McDonnell’s plan was “put to sleep in a key Senate committee Friday,” DCist writes. But though “the coffin is nailed and buried, McDonnell still hopes to push for a revived, zombified and decrepit version of it for the remainder of his term -- most likely a further scaled back incarnation.”

    But McDonnell got some good news in the House of Delegates, where his transportation plan passed as expected on a 65-33 vote. It’s expected to have a harder time in the Senate.

    * Democrat Babur Lateef, an eye surgeon from Coles District, is entering the race for Prince William County chairman, charging incumbent Republican Corey Stewart with focusing more on his political ambitions than on the county, the Post reports. Stewart is a likely U.S. Senate candidate. Lateef said, “We need a chairman interested in getting things done for our businesses, our schools and our communities rather than getting headlines for himself. If we give Corey Stewart another four years, he won’t use it to help our community.”

    * Rockville Central contributor Sean Carr is the latest to chime in against the city’s new branding slogan “Get Into It,” asking, “Get into what, exactly?”

    Follow P.J. Orvetti on Twitter at @PJOinDC