Afzali officially announces county executive campaign

September 14, 2017

By Danielle E. Gaines

Kathy Afzali made it official Thursday night in a politico-studded campaign kickoff announcement: She’s running for county executive in 2018.

She was supported at a downtown Frederick soiree by Maryland House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga (R) and Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh (R). Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) and other Annapolis colleagues were among the crowd.

Afzali, a two-term delegate from District 4, announced in May that she would not seek re-election to the General Assembly and had been gearing up a run for county executive for several months.

With a freshly minted campaign website, Afzali promised “a fresh start” for Frederick County charter government and promised to “end the bickering in county government and stand up to the special interests.”

Her campaign announcement said that increasing property taxes and growth in the county are becoming unmanageable.

“A balance between growth and rural heritage can be found and I believe that I am the leader to do it,” Afzali said in a written statement. “In addition, I am the only candidate in this race who has a record of voting against tax increases and developer handouts.”

The campaign website listed Afzali’s early promises:

  • Freeze property taxes and fees.
  • Promote slow responsible growth.
  • Oppose uncontrolled development.
  • Fully fund Frederick County public schools.
  • Direct county departments to work for citizens — not bureaucrats.
  • Demand the highest standard of ethics and personal conduct in public office.

She is the third Republican to formally announce a campaign for the county executive office.

Regina Williams, the county government’s former budget officer, is the only candidate so far to file official paperwork with the Maryland State Board of Elections to be on the 2018 ballot. Afzali said she will file to have her name on the ballot Friday.

Councilman Kirby Delauter held a campaign kickoff in May. In the ensuing months, he and Afzali publicly sparred over a pair of polls. A third-party poll touted by Afzali shows that she polls better than Delauter against County Executive Jan Gardner (D). In response, Delauter’s campaign launched a poll in July that tested voters’ opinions of Afzali with questions about her record as a state delegate. After three questions, those polled increased their likelihood to vote for Delauter. But Afzali said the questions were loaded and amounted to “corrupt false attacks.”

The 2018 primary election is on June 26, and the general election follows on Nov. 6.