December 17, 2018
Dear Democratic Party Committee Chair,
We are writing today to express our dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party power brokers in Maryland who, despite our hard work and allegiance to the Democratic message, have neglected the residents of District 33. We are a women led grassroots organization of 700 members called WISE (Women Indivisible Strong Effective). WISE was formed in response to the 2016 election and aims to impact the local narrative by working toward safe, just and equitable communities. We focus our time and energy on issue- based initiatives, policies and legislation, on the state and county level, many of which align with the Democratic platform. During this past election cycle, WISE vetted local candidates, held town halls, increased voter registration and turn out and advocated widely for those candidates whose value systems reflected our own. Every candidate WISE supported, except for the nonpartisan BOE candidate, ran as a Democrat.
As you are certainly aware, District 33 has long been a Republican strong hold. Imagine our gratitude and excitement to have four highly qualified women stepping up to run in a political environment that hadn’t had a Democrat representative in 20 years. The tremendous effort on the part of these outstanding candidates, as well as their many supporters, succeeded in breaking this strong hold. And while we are thrilled to have Delegate Bagnall represent us in the General Assembly, we surmise that had the Party given our District the same financial and political support as other districts, the election outcomes would have been better.
Statistics show that women who run for office face many more barriers than men. Historically men are on better financial footing personally and are given more financial support from their party. Not only were our four candidates all women, they were running against four male incumbents with huge financial wells from which to draw. Even with this inequity, the Democratic candidates gave the incumbents a “run for their money” and the races were much more competitive than previous years. Had these candidates had the support of their own party and not left to run on a shoe string budget the election outcome would have been better.
We understand that finances are finite, and elections are expensive. We accept the logic that putting limited resources into places where they can make the greatest impact is expedient. However, we refuse to accept what we perceive as a calculated political decision, made by those in the Committee to ignore a whole subset of constituents and candidates. In other words, had District 33 been deemed viable by the Democratic Party, and had the Democratic candidates received any form of support, the outcome for the residents of District 33 would have been better.
Since the election two members of WISE were told by a Republican elected official that he would not take their calls or see them in his office because WISE supported his opponent. As appalling and undemocratic as this is, being overlooked by the Democratic Party during the entire campaign, a party we worked hard to support, is equally upsetting. We deserve better. It is our expectation going forward the Democratic Committee will stop playing party politics and use their power to support every district, every Democratic candidate and every registered Democratic resident.
WISE Steering Committee