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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.

Robert Barnes

By Phyllis Jordan  |  April 21, 2006; 12:02 PM ET
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What is Mr. Duncan doing about the unsprinklered mulitunit dwellings. A recent fire killed one of his potential voters.

Posted by: duke | April 21, 2006 12:32 PM | Report abuse

But Duncan ISN'T Irish; he's French

Posted by: Pepe le Moco | April 21, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Duncan is Irish. His grandfather was an American who fought in World War I, and fell in love with a french woman. Duncan's father was born in France and moved to America and later served in World War II and worked for NSA. His ancestry is Irish.

Posted by: Julius | April 21, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the tag name should be "Petty le Moco." What a stupid thing to be bring up. Often people have multiple ethnicities in their backgrounds, but identify with one more than others. It happens in the world.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 2:06 PM | Report abuse

His father's side of the family is French and his mother's side of the family is Irish

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Maybe, just maybe Duncan can win his own home county for this election.

It's very pathetic that Duncan hasn't even firmed up support he can't afford to lose.

Geez -- beginning to wonder if Duncan even has a solid base of support?

Posted by: Will Duncan Win Montgomery County? | April 21, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse


I guess that people see what they want to see: the primary is more than 4 months away and Duncan is just a few points behind the rock star. He just got a major endorsement from the state's biggest grassroots activist group. Polls show that Duncan would beat Ehrlich.

Obviously, the guy has support.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2006 7:02 PM | Report abuse

Idon't pay attention to the polls much. But I do pay attention to what I see in my community (howard county). I don't see Duncan anywhere. O'Malley's campaign is in our neighborhood though. A few weeks ago someone from his campaign knocked on my door with an Energy petition.
Duncan better get organized or he won't go anywhere

Posted by: i wonder too | April 22, 2006 12:07 AM | Report abuse

If you had bothered reading the story, you'd find I wasn't the one who brought up Duncan's ethnicity. He did, in the "often repeated" story quoted by the author. So, if you think it's a stupid thing to bring up, you should be criticizing Monsieur Duncan. If Duncan wants to make political points based on his ethnicity, he ought to at least be accurate about it. Adieu, Doug

Posted by: Pepe le Moco | April 22, 2006 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh, looks like Martin is afraid to show up with Duncan at the same time?

Hey, if I was Josh Epstein, I'd be worried too that my candidate would have another stomping/tantrum out of a meeting he disagreed with.

Martin will implode. I have little doubt. And I won't be voting for either thank-you-very-much. Given the choice between Baltimore's failures or Montgomery's regulate if it moves, I'll choose the Ehrlich route.

Posted by: Bryan | April 23, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Ducan's father was French - accent and all. His mother is of English Decent. Doug never actually says he is Irish, but he does repeat that story every election cycle. Given that 25% of the American public claims Irish decent - its a safe bet for a politician.

Posted by: Kevin | April 24, 2006 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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