The Perils of Choosing One

Life’s tough when you’re the chosen one in a local election. Take, for example, Derek Fink a Republican candidate for County Council in the 3rd District. One of the candidates running to succeed Current Councilman Ron Dillon, Fink has been anointed as the establishment candidate in the race, supported by many local elected officials and by movers and shakers within the area business community.

(Nobody can exactly say why Fink is the chosen one. His career experience is more as a political functionary than as the “restaurant owner” he would like to portray himself as. And I met the guy once, and he seemed relatively aloof and clueless, but that’s a story for another time).

What is very interesting however is how every solitary mention of one of Fink’s prominent initial backers has completely vanished from his campaign website.

Ruth “Cookie” Kiser is the owner of the famous Cookie’s Kitchen restaurant and Pasadena. She has been a longtime instrumental and important figure in the Pasadena business community. She has also been a longtime supporter of Republican candidates and causes here in Anne Arundel County, a financial backer of the candidacies of Bob Ehrlich, Steve Schuh and (curiously) Democrat George Johnson.

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Kiser also has played a significant role in Fink’s ability to mount a credible campaign. She gave Fink the opportunity to run Cookies Bay Meadow Grille in the Baymeadow Industrial Park. She was Fink’s campaign treasurer when he opened his campaign finance committee in 2008, and donated $1,000 to Fink’s campaign. She’s even listed in property records as co-owner of Fink’s home. That’s a pretty significant commitment Kiser made to Fink.

However, upon the relaunch of Fink’s campaign website, every mention of Kiser on his site has been scrubbed. She has been replaced as Treasurer as of November 5th. Fink’s website, which used to mention specifically his employment at the Grille, now says only that “Derek is a small business owner in the County.”

What happened? Who knows for sure. There are a number of rumors that are swirling, none of which are substantiated enough to publish.

The reason I mention this story (other than the fact that I am a resident of the 3rd District) is to demonstrate once again the perils of the establishment closing ranks around a candidate without doing their homework. A number of elected Republicans have given Fink their full and unadulterated support in this primary and at the moment it seems that this closing of ranks was predicated more around the fact that Fink was embraced by the business community and Fink’s service as Steve Schuh’s campaign manager than it was by the idea that Fink is the best candidate to serve the people of the district.

We as Republicans need to make sure that we do our homework in our primary elections, and not let establishment endorsements be the only guide of the candidates we support with donations of time and money….


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