District 19 Democrats Don't Mind Selling Themselves as Twinkie Filler

By Ann E. Marimow and Nancy Trejos
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, September 7, 2006

In the final push before Tuesday's primary, Montgomery County candidates have come up with some, shall we say, memorable imagery to grab the attention of voters whose mailboxes are stuffed with leaflets.

A slate of District 19 candidates for House of Delegates has used the vanilla filling of a giant Twinkie to make the point that the names of its candidates can be found in the "middle" of the Democratic ballot of eight contenders for the district that includes Silver Spring.

"Why is the House of Delegates ballot just like a delicious cream-filled Twinkie? The middle is the very best part."

It shows the names of the three candidates -- incumbent Henry B. Heller and newcomers Guled Kassim and Benjamin F. Kramer -- against a Twinkie backdrop, and then photos of the candidates superimposed on the filling of split-open pastries.

With eight people on the ballot, Heller said, the question became, "How do you find us?"

The junk-food theme was the work of Annapolis-based political consultant Don Lamb-Minor , which Heller called a "refreshing break" from messages about heavy subjects such as universal health care.

Then there's the fish toothpaste. County executive candidate Steven A. Silverman 's latest mailer features an anchovy on a toothbrush. No, he's not suggesting that his opponent, Isiah " Ike" Leggett , has bad breath. Instead, the at-large council member is continuing to press his theme that Leggett, a former council member, has "bad ideas," along the lines of anchovy-flavored toothpaste.

Silverman lists what he considers Leggett's bad ideas, such as raising the state gasoline tax to pay for mass transit and roads. Leggett has said getting a double-digit increase in the gas tax through the General Assembly is unrealistic but necessary to raise the amount of money needed to build such projects.

Duncan on Depression

County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D) was greeted with a standing ovation at Tuesday's 50th anniversary celebration of the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County.

Duncan quickly deviated from his prepared script to expand on his personal struggle with depression and to encourage others to follow his lead in seeking treatment. In June, Duncan announced he had been given the diagnosis of depression and was dropping out of the governor's race.

"What struck me was, it didn't take any courage to stand up and say, 'Here's my problem.' The courage it took for me was to admit I have a problem, to admit that I needed help and to seek that help," he said to the crowd in the cafeteria of the Executive Office Building in Rockville.

"That was, I think, one of the most courageous things I've ever done, to say I can't do this on my own anymore, I can't fight through it, although I had for a long time."

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