Yes, Gordon beat Herbert, but Herbert wins too
God's plan and voter pragmatism
The second time’s a charm for Tom Gordon who is now set to become Carroll’s District 3 Commissioner four years after losing the post narrowly to Dennis Frazier, by getting past Marsha Herbert who was hoping to swap her seat on the Board of Education for one as a Commissioner but will come up about six points short.
Gordon emerges as the only electoral winner from the informally affiliated anti-old-boy-network grassroots-gang that otherwise included Delegate candidate Scott Willens, Senate candidate Zach Tomlin, and State’s Attorney candidate David Ellin.
Like Ellin, Gordon assembled a base of support that spanned the political spectrum, collecting endorsements on the right from Carroll’s Republican Central Committee and from firebrand conservative media personality Kim Klacik, and on the left, having been endorsed by the progressive and much recently maligned Carroll County Education Association.
Gordon’s primary campaign offensive against Herbert came when it was revealed that Herbert was unwilling to participate in a primary candidate forum alongside him, which he fairly characterized as being a disservice to voters.
In a quote given to the Carroll County Times, Herbert maintained that her reason for abstaining from the forum was because Democrat candidate Zach Hands would not have also been included, an explanation that both Hands himself and the forum’s host Bob Blubaugh seemed to reject seeing as how Hands would eventually be included in whatever forums would come in the run up to the general election.
In truth, it seems reasonable to surmise that Herbert opted out of the forum out of a concern that Gordon wouldn’t have maintained the level of decorum she felt was appropriate — he wouldn’t have kept it clean.
Strangely, had she in fact participated in the forum, and had Gordon indeed really come after her head on, it may have actually benefited her candidacy and nudged her closer to victory, at least according to logic from State’s Attorney elect Haven Shoemaker who attributes his win over Ellin in part to Ellin’s aggressive tactics, which Shoemaker believes are a turn off for Carrol’s constituents, but which Ellin maintains amounts to little more than educating voters on who is best qualified.
But really, all of that probably misses the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is that many informed voters, especially those with school aged children, were reluctant to vote Herbert for Commissioner out of a fear of who might eventually replace her on the Board of Ed.
You see, according to an elected official within the county I spoke with who had researched the matter, local Boards of Ed are technically part of the State of Maryland’s executive branch of government.
Meaning, when a Board of Ed member resigns before their term is over, which would have been the case with Herbert had she beaten Gordon, it would be the Governor who ultimately appoints the replacement after procuring recommendations from local Republican and Democrat Central Committees.
Now with Larry Hogan still at the gubernatorial helm, no harm no foul.
But there is one key stipulation in that process, which is this: in the event that the Board member resigns during an election year after a primary election, which again would have been the case with Herbert, it must be the incoming Governor who names the replacement, not the incumbent one.
And if we blindly assume what the analysts and local luminaries tell us, the next Governor will be Wes Moore, and Lord can only imagine who he would have appointed to replace Herbert.
Maybe the incumbent progressive Board member seeking re-election Patricia Dorsey, to spare her the stress of the general election? Or perhaps the ultra-woke Amanda Jozkowski, the weakest of the progressive Apple Ballot slate that Tom Scanlan rounds out, in an effort to secure a majority on the Board with the assumption that Dorsey and Scanlan will get in on their own?
Who knows, maybe even the soon to be jobless term-limited Commissioner Frazier, who Dorsey has deferred to during Board of Ed meetings and who sits on mysterious state level curriculum committees and who was given $6K from the state’s teachers union PAC to support his wholly unsuccessful campaign for Delegate where he finished 7th of 8?
Thankfully, we’ll never have to find out.
As for Herbert, when she announced her coming up short on Facebook, she was quickly and justifiably blanketed with support from everyone ranging from re-elected Delegate April Rose to the the Republican Women’s Club of Carroll County to the re-elected Clerk of the Circuit Court Heather DeWees, who believes the whole thing is just part of God’s plan.
In the end, whether the outcome was God’s plan or voter pragmatism or some combination of both, Herbert should view it not as a rejection of her bid for Commissioner, but rather as an affirmation of the job she’s done and now will continue to do on the Board of Ed.
I can tell you personally, as a Carroll parent of two toddlers who will be school age before I know it, I will rest a little easier tonight knowing Herbert will sit on the Board of Ed for a while longer.
Maryland Muckraker is a completely independent and fearlessly conservative blog covering local issues by me, Ethan Reese. After spending nearly a decade in corporate Baltimore in marketing technology, figured I’d have a go at writing. Since then I’ve contributed articles to FOX’s OutKick, PJ Media, and Rare Politics, as well as being named a Writing Fellow with the America’s Future Foundation.