One day after Zina Pierre was officially certified as the Democrat nominee for the Mayoral election, details of legal problems surfaced. The Capital sent out an email confirming that, in the face of these revelations and citing personal reasons, Zina had decided to drop out of the race. I believe The Sun will run a story tomorrow.
To quote a poker promo from ESPN: this is beyond fairy-tale, it's inconceivable. So what now? You're going to like this. Section 4.20.150 (C) of the city code allows a candidate nominated for office to decline their nomination within 10 days of receiving that nomination. And wouldn't you know it: it's less than 10 days since Zina received the nomination. And wouldn't you also know, section 4.20.160 allows the central committee--in this case the Democrat Central Committee--to fill the vacancy with WHICHEVER CANDIDATE THEY PICK.
Here's the email from the chairman of the Democrat Central Committee:
Dear ADCC Members and Friends,
Zina has withdrawn her candidacy after the revelations of her legal
problems. We in no way urged her to do so and left it to her judgment. We feel
sad for her and all her supporters.This puts a great deal of importance on
the ADCC, that by city code is charged to name a successor by October 2. ADCC is
under no City Charter/Code restraints in our choice and we then must establish
the procedures for our choice.
We will have to meet shortly. Our meeting for September 23 is still on.
Let me know if these dates are available to the elected members: Sept. 24, 25,
26, 28, and 29. In the meantime, consult with Democrats in your wards, our
elected officials, and your own thoughts.
Still, Victory in ‘09!
The statement that "we in no way urged" Zina is of course believed by everyone to be fucking bullshit. I'm sorry to cuss but it's such an arrogant attitude that one is left with no other articulation of one's feelings.
The email chatter has been off the charts on this issue, so I'll pass that along to you. In addition to the email chatter, I've had several verbal conversations about what's happening. My promise to you, the blog reader, is that I will plagiarize equally the thoughts I heard from emails and those from phone conversations.
I enjoy email chatter, because it tends to offer the most cynical and far-fetched explanations of any given event. And as we learned at the beginning of this post, that makes it correct. Even the most amateur politico could follow the storyline. The "chosen candidate", Josh Cohen, gets in the race because he has the backing of the machine and thinks he can win with their money and influence. The "machine" is defined as Mike Busch, John Astle, Ellen Moyer, and the Democrat Central Committee. The machine got Sam Shropshire elected in this manner, and they're at it again.
I guarantee this info about Zina is not new. The machine likely dug it up when Zina jumped in the race, but sat on it in hopes that Josh would win straight up and they wouldn't have to use it. When Zina won, they sprung into action--and they worked quickly because they knew the code says Zina would have to resign within 10 days of winning the primary. I mean, think about it....Zina knows politics. She worked for Bill Clinton, and runs a lobbying firm. She had enough expertise to beat Cohen--despite his machine backing; and to beat Trudy McFall--who ran a perfect campaign for 2 years. You mean to tell me that one setback would be enough to convince her to drop out of the race for personal reasons?? Shenanigans!! I call shenanigans! The legal problems seem to deal with economic circumstances. So Zina is facing economic hardship...just like half of freeking Annapolis! A clever candidate could spin that in their favor...not bow out of the race.
You know what else is interesting?? People always talk about "ending the partisanship"...the bickering between Republicans and Democrats. But this wasn't the Republicans sticking it to the Democrats--this was Democrat skulduggery all the way!! "Incest Partisanship" is what I call it--don't be surprised if that term catches on. Heck, the Republican candidate hasn't done anything political in, like...8 years! It's not enough for the machine to retain power for their party; they have to retain power for their lineage.
Now, as far as I know, Josh has not yet been officially selected as the replacement for Zina. I know Josh on a quasi-personal level, and I will say that he's been pleasant on the few occasions we've ordered beers from the same bartender. He's commented on this blog before, and is more than welcome to offer an explanation. But this whole thing reeks of a sinister plan executed as designed.
Edit: After posting this, I spoke with someone who I consider to be reliable and knowledgeable, and that person swears the machine had no prior knowledge of these issues. It's hard to believe but I guess it's plausible. Could it possibly not be Cohen that is chosen by the central committee?
There is still much to consider. First, as the first commenter says, what a failure of journalism. If the Capital spent as much time researching their candidate profiles as they do the Home of The Week, we would have known about Zina's problems long ago.
...which brings me to another point--Zina deserves blame. The charges against her, if intentional, represent characteristics we don't want in a mayor. There were questions--including on this blog--about Zina's candidacy when she entered the race. And for every question answered, we have 3 new ones in its place.