Frederick County: The Bickering Heats Up
Frederick is known as an example of a Republican stronghold in a blue State. Unfortunately unity is something Frederick does not know. This past election a bitter feud broke out between two camps when then Delegate Hough decided to run against former Senator David Brinkley. The two camps put together a slate after some internal disagreements about how the Primaries should be done. Mud was thrown and what was bitter became unbearably distasteful. Delegate Hough beat Senator Brinkley in the Primaries.
After primaries, typical each party has a “unity” event to try and heal wounds and come together. Frederick County had one, but no wounds were healed.
Recently the Frederick County Republican Central Committee was given the responsibility to appoint a new Delegate to take over Delegate Schulz’s vacant seat. Delegate Schulz was tapped to become Maryland’s Dept of Labor and License appointee. The FCRCC, mainly occupied by Hough supporters, decided to not select Wendi Peters as a candidate for the position. The FCRCC typically would submit three names to the Governor and he would select one of them. Wendi Peters placed fourth in the primaries and would seem to many as a natural choice to be a candidate for the position if not the actual Delegate.
During this process the FCRCC made and did some questionable statements and actions which rubbed more salt in the wound between the two feuding camps.
This week word had spread that the feud between the two camps was raging harder than ever when callers began calling into WFMD, Frederick’s local AM radio station, that Delegate Kathy Afzali sent Sheriff Chuck Jenkins a “questionable” text message.
Today Sheriff Chuck Jenkins confirmed the text message and its content. During a banquet for the Emmitsburg Fire Department Mr. Jenkins received a text message from an unknown sender, which turned out to be Delegate Afzali.
Delegate Afzali: “Did you notice the banner to your upper right? No bullying no intimidation no threat. maybe some wise words for our sheriff to learn. You have no power get used to it.”
Sheriff Jenkins: “Whoever this might be Ill easily find out. I do not threaten, intimidate or bully anyone. Never implied I have any power. What I do have is the authority entrusted to me by over 49,000 citizens who believe that I do the right thing for the right reason. If you’re interested in a conversation we can certainly have a conversation. Don’t know what your beef may be but I’d love to hear. Open line always.
Delegate Afzali “Figure it out and call me if you have the guts. You’re such a wimp and phony just keep endorsing losers that’s all I ask”
Sheriff Jenkins did not have comments as to why she would send this, nor what power she was talking about. He did state he was not supported by their camp as he endorsed other candidates (Brinkley, Schulz and Peters).
Delegate Afzali called in and confirmed she sent the text message. Her call started off sounding like a high school teenager throwing a tantrum even waiving her finger at WFMD and how “embarrassing” it is for a radio station to play such things. She also claimed that people are going to “extreme lengths to trash Senator Hough and herself”.
When asked if she would offer an apology to Mr. Jenkins she replied, no. She even stated she “was proud of the text”.
The divide between the Hough camp and Brinkley camp is very wide and very bitter. Although unconfirmed, sources claim to say that Senator Hough even was/is lobbying against Senator Brinkley’s appointment by the Hogan administration.
Delegate Afzali continued on her rant even using words like “wimp” and “bully”.
Some say that Delegate Afzali’s anger was due to how the Sheriff was making public statements against Delegate Afzali during Frederick’s Forum with Pattee Brown. The conversation was shaped around the FCRCC’s selection of candidates for the vacant seat. During the radio show Patee Brown kept calling Delegate Afzali “Ms. Icky”. Although Sheriff Jenkins did not go after Delegate Afzali on the show he did not correct Pattee Brown. Sherriff Jenkins also stated he was making statements as an individual.
The question begs to be asked. Is it acceptable for an elected official to try and make an “off the record” statement? In all fairness, Delegate Afzali has a right to be upset that another elected officials is making public statements “off the record” against her. When you are part of a feud as an elected official and part of that feud, it may be smarter to keep quiet unless you are ready for fire from the other side. As an elected official there is never an “off the record” statement when you go on the radio.
This does not absolve Delegate Afzali from going on the radio and venting.
Attempts to reach Sheriff Jenkins were not returned at the time of this publication. Delegate Afzali’s assistant did reply:
“Del. Afzali would discuss the matter with Sheriff Jenkins personally. Thanks for your interest.”
One thing is for sure. Frederick Elected Officials need to take a class in social media and public relations, as the current Officials have no clue about either.