Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007

Former mayor to run for Congress

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The 6th District Congressional race got a bit more interesting Friday, when former Frederick Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty announced that she is running in the Feb. 12 primary election.

The one-term mayor who lost the Democratic primary during her re-election campaign in 2005 has set her sights on the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

‘‘It has been a decision I’ve been thinking about and talking to people about for about a year,” Dougherty (D) said. ‘‘I thought that the next big step is this.”

Dougherty, 46, believes her tenure as mayor (2002-2006) is the experience she needs to beat out the three other Democratic candidates that have already announced their bid in the primary.

They include Robin L. Deibert of Fairplay, Andrew Duck of Brunswick and Larry John Smith of Cumberland.

‘‘None have had the experience I have had in public office,” she said. ‘‘... Since leaving office I understand what works and what doesn’t.”

Duck, who lost to U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R) in 2006, is unimpressed with Dougherty’s entrance in the race. ‘‘We expect we will get the nomination,” Duck said this week. ‘‘... I’m not really sure what the work as mayor has to do with running for Congress.”

Dougherty was the first woman to be elected mayor of Frederick, defeating two-term incumbent Mayor James S. Grimes (R). She was also the first incumbent to lose a primary election.

In a hard-fought campaign Dougherty lost to Ronald N. Young (D), who ultimately lost to Frederick Mayor W. Jeff Holtzinger (R). Controversy during her term at City Hall is believed to have contributed to her surprising loss.

Open government may have been the hallmark of her administration, but disputes between Dougherty and the Board of Aldermen and Dougherty and city staff, was likely her downfall.

Still the countless hours she worked at City Hall and the running of her downtown Frederick business — Jennifer’s Restaurant — is something she believes will help her to ultimately beat Bartlett in the November 2008 general election.

‘‘It’s important to have someone with a local connection in Congress,” she said. ‘‘Many feel there has been a distance with Congressman Bartlett for a long time.”

Dougherty believes voters in the 6th District are frustrated with the war in Iraq and are looking for a change in leadership.

The 6th District includes all of Frederick, Allegany, Carroll, Garrett and Washington counties and parts of Harford, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

About the candidate

Jennifer P. Dougherty

Officerunning for: Congress in the 6th District

Political party: Democrat

Born: 1961, Alexandria, Va.

Residence: Frederick

Education: Mount Saint Mary’s College in 1983, Bachelor of Arts degree in history.

Professional experience:

Mayor of the City of Frederick 2002-2006; Real estate agent since 2006; operating Jennifer’s Restaurant since 1987; and Dougherty’s Irish Shop 1999-2006.

Web site: www.jennifer