WASHINGTON – It was bad enough when loyal Democrat Daphne Bloomberg went through “the saddest election I’ve ever experienced” this fall.
Now, she has to relive the experience.
The Potomac resident is one of 10 Democratic electors who will gather next week in Annapolis to officially elect the president. They will cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for Democrat John Kerry — who carried Maryland but lost the election.
“It is kind of a pro-forma tradition, but I’m still very honored to cast a ballot,” said Sen. Delores Kelley, D-Baltimore County.
Like Kelley, all of the electors said they were honored to be chosen, even if their votes will not help put a Democrat in the White House.
The group that will gather in the State House on Dec. 13 consists of party insiders who were selected by state party officials as a reward for precinct level grunt work, prolific fundraising or work in state and county legislatures.
Josh White, the executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party, said that the electors are “good, dedicated members who reflect well on our party.”
Besides Kelley, they include state Delegate Norman Conway of Wicomico County and Montgomery County Councilman Thomas Perez, as well as two Democrats admired for their fund-raising abilities: Gary Gensler, the state party treasurer and a former Clinton administration official, and Lainey Lebow-Sachs, a one-time aide to former Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
Five grass-roots activists round out the group: Bloomberg, John Riley, Pam Jackson, Wendy Fiedler and Dorothy Chaney.
The Electoral College system allocates votes according to the number of Congressmen a state has. Maryland, with eight House members and two senators, will have one elector from each of the eight congressional districts in the state and two at-large electors.
Maryland is one of the few states in which electors are bound — by party oath and state law — to cast their votes in favor of the winner of their state. But most of Maryland’s electors said the experience would be sweeter for them had Kerry won.
“This is the saddest election I’ve ever experienced,” said Bloomberg.
Jackson, an Olney resident who spent 13 years working for former Democratic Rep. Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr., said she is eager to take part in the civic activity and proud of the recognition.
“Politics is not a spectator sport . . . if you believe in your party you should demonstrate it with your actions,” said Jackson, whose activist bona fides were established through poll-watching duty, fundraising and precinct organization. She currently works for a D.C. lobbying firm.
Kelley said she is not pleased her vote will not propel Kerry to the White House — but notes that he at least won Maryland.
“I feel better than I did in 1988, when I was selected as an elector but wasn’t able to do anything,” she said, because former President George H.W. Bush beat Democrat Michael Dukakis in Maryland and overall that year.
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