District 19 incumbents to campaign together — minus one -- Gazette.Net


Three District 19 state lawmakers — Dels. Bonnie L. Cullison and Benjamin F. Kramer, and Sen. Roger Manno — have confirmed they will campaign as a group for the upcoming election, excluding Del. Sam Arora.

Although rumors of a possible Cullison-Kramer-Manno slate emerged early, Manno of Silver Spring wouldn’t confirm any plans at the time.

But a photo that recently popped up on Manno’s Facebook page taken for collective campaign materials shows him, Cullison and Kramer, without Arora. All four are Democrats.

Asked about the photo, Manno repeatedly answered “Who?” at the mention of Arora’s name, as if the first-term delegate already was gone and forgotten.

Arora angered supporters of same-sex marriage when he was the only member of the Montgomery County delegation to vote against the bill last year, despite initially pledging to back it.

The bill had other significance to the county, which includes three of the seven openly gay House members — Cullison, Anne R. Kaiser and Heather R. Mizeur — and the only openly gay senator, Richard S. Madaleno Jr.

Contacted for comment about the implications of his vote on gay marriage, Arora of Silver Spring refused to say more than “I am continuing to work on creating jobs and opportunity in Maryland.”

Arora has not announced publicly if he will seek re-election. He said in August he planned to announce at summer’s end. On Thursday, he would say only that he will announce “soon.”

The vote continues to bother the district’s incumbents, Kramer of Derwood said.

“There was some concern amongst my colleagues and the discussion has, I think, been mostly around Del. Arora’s position and vote on equality, marriage equality,” Kramer said. “So, I think at the end of the day, that seemed to be rather prominent as an issue.”

Whether Cullison, Kramer and Manno form a formal slate — an official designation — remains to be decided, but they will campaign together, likely with joint mailings and materials, Kramer said.

Under Maryland Election Law, a slate is a political committee of two or more candidates who join together to conduct and pay for joint campaign activities, formed through a filing with the state. Money can move between the members’ committees and the slate.

Cullison of Aspen Hill said she, Kramer and Manno are “of the same mind,” reaffirming their plans to work for re-election in concert.

Manno, Cullison and Kramer sang one another’s praises, but none has endorsed any other candidates in their district.

District 19 includes all or parts of Aspen Hill, Glenmont and Silver Spring.

The district has had internal dissent in the past. Manno, a former delegate, ran in the 2010 Democratic primary against former Sen. Michael G. Lenett, who had fallen out of favor.

“I hope that at some point in time, we’ll, whomever it may be that is serving in office in District 19, that there will be the opportunity to coalesce and work together as an entire group,” Kramer said. “That was problematic in the last election, and again, there seems to be a lack of unity as we approach campaign season for coming election.”

At least two other Democrats have committed to the District 19 race.

Meloyde A. Berry of Silver Spring has filed to run for delegate. Maricé I. Morales of Silver Spring, a special assistant in Manno’s office has, too.

Manno said he is not currently backing any candidates for the House besides Cullison and Kramer.