For Maryland's legislature

Sunday, October 24, 2010; A20

THE FOLLOWING are The Post's endorsements in contested legislative races in Montgomery County for the Maryland General Assembly. The Post makes no endorsements or mention of races that are uncontested. The names of candidates endorsed by The Post appear in boldface.

(Identify your legislative district and current representatives by entering your address online at See a list of all candidates listed by district at

DISTRICT 14: In the race for the state Senate, Del. Karen S. Montgomery won a hard-fought Democratic primary battle for the nomination without our support, but she has it now in her race against Republican Eric Cary, a Tea Party activist whose doctrinaire, unfocused opposition to taxes and spending does not stack up against Ms. Montgomery's record of service and expertise on health issues. Democrats running for delegate in this district -- veteran Anne R. Kaiser and newcomers Craig Zucker and Eric Luedtke -- also merit support.

DISTRICT 15: Three exceptionally well-qualified Democratic incumbents deserve reelection. Sen. Robert Garagiola, who chairs the Senate Democratic caucus, has spurred progress on energy, health care and transportation. In the House race, incumbent Del. Brian J. Feldman has played a constructive role in the development of the biotech corridor, and Del. Kathleen M. Dumais has distinguished herself by pushing for tougher laws addressing domestic violence. Newcomer Aruna Miller, a transportation engineer, would bring expertise in an area critical to the county's development.

DISTRICT 16: Sen. Brian Frosh, the veteran Democratic incumbent, is widely regarded not only as one of the more knowledgeable and independent-minded lawmakers in Annapolis but also among the most honest. He has been a champion of enlightened environmental legislation and a voice for reason on judicial matters, where he holds sway as a committee chairman. His Republican opponent, Jerry Cave, has used his considerable personal wealth on a demagogic mail attack suggesting that Mr. Frosh is soft on child sexual abuse, which is nonsense. Mr. Frosh deserves reelection.

In the House races, we support the two Democratic incumbents, newcomer Del. C. William Frick, who has made a promising debut after having been appointed to an open seat three years ago, and Del. Susan C. Lee, who has made herself an authority on identity theft and Internet fraud. For the third seat, the best bet is Democrat Ariana Kelly, a veteran activist on women's rights, environmental health and consumer product safety issues.

DISTRICT 17: We didn't endorse Sen. Jennie M. Forehand for the Democratic nomination, but we have no reservation about doing so in her general election race against Montgomery County's Republican chairman, Adol T. Owen-Williams. Ms. Forehand may not have tremendous sway in Annapolis, despite her decades in office, but she is admired for her experience and temperament. By contrast, Mr. Owen-Williams's boisterous opposition to a 2007 law barring transgender discrimination, whose enactment he said was achieved in a "Nazi-like manner," was a shameful display of intolerance. His insistence that gay men and lesbians are seeking "special rights" puts him at odds with the district he hopes to represent.

In the House races, two Democratic incumbents -- Dels. Kumar Barve and Luiz R.S. Simmons -- should be returned to office. Our support for Mr. Simmons comes with an asterisk: He helped kill good legislation that would have offered more protection to victims of domestic violence. But his broad legislative experience still argues in his favor. For the district's third seat, we favor Dan Campos, a young, moderate and energetic Republican whose strong stands on the environment, drunk driving and domestic violence make him a much stronger alternative to Del. James W. Gilchrist, a lackluster first-term lawmaker.

DISTRICT 18: Incumbent Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Democrat, has chaired the Montgomery County delegation and played a leading role on the Budget and Taxation Committee. His responsible attempt to reform the funding of teachers' pensions and his advocacy for marriage and other civil rights for gays should make his reelection an easy choice. The Republican challenger, Kurt Osuch, a retired Marine, proposes an impractical across-the-board cut in state spending.

DISTRICT 19: Del. Roger P. Manno, an able Democrat with a collegial approach, seeks to move up to the Senate after unseating the incumbent in a primary battle. He is a better choice for the state Senate than is the Republican nominee, Don Irvine, who runs the hyper-conservative Web site Accuracy in Media.

For the House of Delegates, a pair of well-meaning Republicans, Tom Masser and Linn Rivera are no match for the Democratic team: incumbent Del. Benjamin F. Kramer, a capable, centrist incumbent who deserves another term; Bonnie Cullison, the smart former head of the Montgomery County teachers union; and Sam Arora, an energetic, young, former Hillary Clinton staffer eager to dig into state policy.

DISTRICT 39: Sen. Nancy J. King, the incumbent Democrat, has for the most part been a loyal follower of her party's commanders, which is not always a constructive role in this one-party-rule legislature. Her Republican challenger, Robert J. Smith, has long experience and knowledge of state and regional affairs and could provide a welcome challenge to the old-pol maneuvers and railroading of bills by Senate leaders. Mr. Smith deserves a chance to deliver some fresh air to Annapolis.

In the House races, two skilled incumbents -- Democratic Dels. Charles E. Barkley and Kirill Reznik -- know the ropes and the issues, and they are worthy of reelection. For the third seat in this district, Republican Jim Pettit offers voters an attractive opportunity to challenge lock-step, all-Democratic rule. His experience -- in state government, on Capitol Hill and with the U.S. Conference of Mayors -- outweighs that of the other three candidates, and his positions on fiscal matters, job creation and the environment are prudent and thoughtful.

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