Leisure World: Center of the Universe
"Welcome to the center of the universe in Maryland politics," proclaimed Sen. Leonard Teitelbaum (D-Montgomery), and, especially to Democratic politicians, the hyperbole can be forgiven.
He was referring to Leisure World, the Montgomery County retirement community with about 8,500 residents and its own golf course, bank, and, most importantly, its own voting precinct.
As of yesterday, according to a report presented to the Democratic Club of Leisure World, that precinct was home to 6,789 registered Democrats. If you wonder why politicians love Leisure World, that is more party members than currently registered in the entire counties of Caroline, Garrett, Kent or Somerset.
Last night, the featured guest was Montgomery County Executive and governor candidate Doug Duncan, who had the stage to himself at the club's "gubernatorial forum" because Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley declined the invitation.
"That's been happening a lot to me lately," said Duncan, who complained that O'Malley has told people he won't share a stage with the man who regularly castigates him in the Democratic primary race.
O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the mayor "had a scheduling conflict on this particular night"-- a "meet and greet" in Baltimore County--but that the campaign "looks forward to presenting our vision for Maryland" and debating Duncan closer to the September primary. He pointed out that O'Malley was at Leisure World last month.
Duncan clearly believes that you can't visit Leisure World too often. He was on first-name basis with many of the 150 or so who attended, and the person charged with introducing Duncan said she didn't see the need: "Anyway, here's Doug, you know him."
And Duncan told the oft-repeated (but we'll do it again) story about how he knew he would win his first race for county executive 12 years ago when a woman in Leisure World, whom he didn't know, approached him on election day. "I'm voting for you, you big, fat Irishman!" she exclaimed.
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