The retirement announcement last month of longtime 11th District Del. Dan Morhaim has attracted five new contenders and one former delegate to vie for the open seat and against the other two current office-holders.
Incumbents Del. Dana Stein and Del. Shelly Hettleman are running on a ticket with 11th District incumbent Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who is facing his own challenger, Sheldon H. Laskin, after running unopposed since his election to the Senate in 2006.
Newcomers to the district’s delegate race include three women — Democrats Amy Blank, Kate Skovron and Linda Dorsey-Walker. Former 11th District Del. Jon Cardin, who was elected in 2002 and ran unsuccessfully for attorney general in 2014, has thrown his hat into the ring for 2018. Republican Jonathan Porter of Brooklandville and Green Party hopeful Nathan Feldman of Owings Mills, running unopposed in their parties, will only appear on the general election ballot.
Hettleman, 53, of Dumbarton, joined the 11th District team in 2014, elected to the seat left vacant by Cardin’s departure. She was former campaign manager to Jon Cardin’s uncle, Sen. Ben Cardin. Now, ending her fist four-year term and looking forward to more, Hettleman said she not surprised by the number of candidates running for delegate in the district and is taking nothing for granted.
“Elections are all about democracy and provide citizens with two fundamental opportunities for involvement: to run for office and/or to participate in the franchise,” she said. “I respect anyone who wants to run for office. It’s not an easy process.”
Hettleman is looking forward to getting back out into the community after the 2018 General Assembly session ends to share her first-term accomplishments and goals for the next, should she be re-elected.
“Attending community meetings, meeting with constituents and knocking on doors, being face-to-face with constituents, learning about what’s important to them, what they care about, is a big part of my campaign,” she said. “I will continue to focus on the issues that matter most to families — ensuring that we have a strong education system, have access to good quality, affordable health care and good quality jobs that enable our residents to survive and thrive in Baltimore County.”
As of January, according to the state elections board’s campaign finance report, the Friends of Shelly Hettleman committee had a balance of $131, 641.70.
Stein, 59, of Pikesville was originally appointed to the House of Delegates for a term of June 2002 to January 2003, following Del. Michael Finifter’s appointment as a Baltimore County circuit court judge. Stein was elected to the post in 2006.
Like Hettleman, Stein said he takes nothing for granted during an election and isn’t surprised at the number of candidates in the race. He will begin his re-election campaign after the session ends April 9.
“In the past, when there’s been an open seat, several individuals have filed to run,” he said. “Sen. Bobby Zirkin, Del. Shelly Hettleman and I will be running as a team, and I’m looking forward to campaigning with them. I’ll also be attending community meetings, other gatherings and knocking on doors.”
Stein said he will stay focused on his platform issues including the environment, education, public safety and investment in the district, with specific attention to stabilizing Maryland’s health exchange and the individual market, imple- mentation of the Hogan administration’s plan to reduce congestion on the beltway and working with county officials to ensure effective oversight of the school system.
As of January, according to the state elections board’s campaign finance report, the Friends of Dana Stein committee had a balance of $100,695.65.
Blank, 59, grew up in the district and now lives in Owings Mills with her husband and daughter. Her background includes serving as a delegate to the White House Conference on Families during the Carter administration lobbying for community services for special needs families. She worked for Barbara Mikulski’s U.S. Senate race, the Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, as a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, the Baltimore Jewish Council and Advocates for Children and Youth. She taught at a University of Maryland child advocacy program, trained nonprofit leaders in emerging democracies, worked in international health advocacy and served as a strategist for the pro-choice and marriage equality referendums.
“My life has been defined by tikkun olam,” she said. “I have spent my life trying my best to leave the world better than I found it. If I have the honor of representing District 11 in the Maryland House of Delegates, I will use all of my knowledge, experience and relationships to work in coalition with others to ensure the issues of importance to our community are quickly and effectively addressed.”
In conversations with constituents, Blank developed a platform focusing on education, workers and entrepreneurs, health and mental health care and public safety, specifically gun violence and crime.
She said she will “bring fresh, new insights and initiatives to the Maryland Legislature.”
As of January, according to the state elections board’s campaign finance report, the Friends of Amy Blank committee had a balance of $34,689.97.
Cardin, 48, lives in Owings Mills and decided to run again because he missed “serving the constituents of the 11th District and leading the charge for a stronger, safer Baltimore County.”
He said that issues he formerly supported have taken on new meaning in the current “polarizing and complex political environment.”
“I’m deeply concerned about the trajectory of our civil liberties, women’s rights, the vulnerability of the disenfranchised, our economic vitality, youth safety online, our environment and election security,” he said. “I look forward to once again tackling these issues and being a powerful force in making our community a better, safer place.”
Cardin filed an affidavit instead of a campaign finance report, which is accepted when a candidate’s fundraising committees doesn’t intend to receive or spend monies totaling $1,000 or more for that reporting period.
Kate Skovron of Pikesville and Linda Dorsey-Walker of Owings Mills, who both filed to run in February, did not respond to multiple emails, do not have active websites or social media and did not file campaign finance reports or affidavits.
Dorsey-Walker is well known in Northwest Baltimore County as a longtime Democratic State Central Committee member representing both the 10th and 11th districts.
Her page on the Maryland Democratic Party website states that her affiliations include the Coalition Opposed to Violence & Extremism, where she trained law enforcement officers; the Baltimore County Human Relations Commission, where she trained seniors, disabled, families and volunteer firefighters about gender bias, housing, employment rights and investigated violations of the law; and the American Red Cross, for which she was deployed to the Gulf Coast during Hurricane Katrina.