Frederick executive race could be ugly, expensive -- Gazette.Net







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Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine R. Young will weigh several factors as he decides whether to enter a county executive race that he and other political observers believe could get ugly and expensive.

Young (R) and Democratic former Commissioners President Jan H. Gardner are shaping up as the front-runners for their parties’ nominations to be Frederick County’s first county executive.

The race could be seen as a referendum on a variety of issues in the county, most visibly how growth and development are handled.

Gardner filed her candidacy in November, and Young said Thursday he will make his decision whether to run after the first of the year.

Young said he believes he and Gardner is the matchup everyone wants to see, but he has several issues to consider before making up his mind.

Gardner could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Young hosts a radio show on Frederick’s WFMD that he said is “near and dear to my heart,” and which he would have to give up if he were to become a candidate.

He’s also a part-owner of Frederick’s Yellow Cab taxi company, a business interest he would have to give up to meet the county charter’s requirement that the county executive not have another job.

But Young said he’s also factoring in the opinion of his family, particularly that of his 12-year-old son, who Young said has expressed a resentment of the time his role as commissioners president takes away from time with his family.

It’s a sensitive issue with Young, whose father, Sen. Ronald N. Young (D-Dist. 3) of Frederick, served 16 years as that city’s mayor while Blaine Young and his brothers were growing up.

Young said he remembers his father missing sports games and other events because of his responsibilities as mayor, and he hears some of the same complaints from his son now.

“It’s like my former self talking to me,” he said.

Young said he’s urged others, including Sheriff Chuck Jenkins (R) to consider seeking the executive spot, but without success.

There are several people waiting on the Republican side to see what Young will do, said Del. Kelly Schulz (D-Dist. 4A) of New Market.

Schulz said she had been approached to run for county executive, but feels she still has work to do in the General Assembly.

Asked about a contest between Young and Gardner, Schulz said, “It would certainly be interesting.”

She added that she expects to see a huge expenditure of money in the county’s first executive race.

Young agreed, partly because he said his opponents would spend vast amounts to defeat him.

“If I run, it’s going to be a million-dollar race,” he said.

But Young said he also has about $250,000 still on-hand from a run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination earlier this year, money that he could use to his advantage in a county executive’s race.

Former Commissioner Kai Hagen, a strong supporter of Gardner and vocal critic of Young, said he suspects Young would use his money to send out “slick” mailings to targeted groups of voters.

“If Blaine does enter the race, it will be an ugly mess,” Hagen said.

He predicted that if Young does decide to run, he and Gardner will face each other in what would be a “nasty” campaign.

While Young has plenty of money, Hagen said Gardner has been and will continue to be a strong fundraiser because of her early start, the amount of recognition around the county and strong support.