With spunk, scrappiness and a level of confidence that just won't quit, does Kathy Afzali have the votes to top Regina Williams and Kirby Delauter later this month?
This is the third and final exposé on the three Republican candidates who seek to challenge current County Executive Jan Gardner for the office she earned after her significant defeat of Blaine Young in 2014.
Here's an overview of candidate Kathy Afzali:
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Kathy was a dancer who performed on Broadway. She moved to Frederick County in 1994 and was in business with her husband as a biotech consultant. She also found the time to sharpen her sales skills as a very active residential real estate agent, in the years prior to the election, that earned her the seat that she currently holds serving District 4 in the Maryland House of Delegates.
While Afzali is used to serving as a minority voice in Annapolis, she has never shied away from pressing for her "Reagan Republican" convictions. Outspoken with a smile is how she makes her points, and if you cross her, well, you will know where you stand with her. As part of the Republican delegation, she did burn a bridge or two in her opposition to the state funding for the Downtown Frederick Hotel Conference Center, which is struggling to squeeze money out of Governor Hogan's last few budgets. Her outspokenness has rubbed more than a few the wrong way, but she will tell you that it's par for the course in local politics.
Does she know her stuff? While she has never been involved in the day to day county government business, she is one who has carefully listened to the voters and hammers away on the campaign trail hitting the high points of where she stands on the issues.
One primary focus is that of overdevelopment. Afzali makes no bones about it that even Jan Gardner, with all her years as a Frederick County government elected official, bares much of the responsibility for the problem of not enough infrastructure to support the rate of residential growth in the county. I wonder how Ms. Gardner feels about that!
Afzali's platform also includes a plan to freeze property taxes, fully fund public education, and bring civility back to the discourse among elected officials within the county. In addition, she wants to amp up the fight against opioid abuse. All issues that should resonate with a majority of county votes.
Campaigning and fundraising: By the time the campaign is over, it would surprise me if she hasn't knocked on every voter's door in the county, as Kathy is an avid campaigner. As of the last reporting period (January to May 2018), she has a cash balance of more than $111,000.
While she leads her fellow GOP contenders in the money race, her opponent, Kirby Delauter, recently told me a recent poll conducted by his campaign has him running neck and neck for the likely top vote-getting.
I'm sure Afzali will say that she has her own poll to contradict Delauter's findings, but when all real primary votes are cast on June 26th, we'll all know which one of the three Republicans has earned the right to go head to head with County Executive Jan Gardner!