Forget 2016 presidential politics for a moment.
Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, a Democrat, is finishing her first full term under the county’s newly-formed charter government.
Republicans in Frederick County by the time of the November election may be in a position to fund a sizeable campaign effort against Garnder. Will a Democrat would challenge Gardner in a primary? Bud Otis, perhaps?
Which audacious Republican is best positioned to challenge Garnder in the November election?
Could Blaine Young mount a comeback? Would Kathy Afzali make the proverbial plunge? What about Frederick County Councilmen Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve? Michael Hough? David Vogt? Sheriff Chuck Jenkins?
Numerous Republicans are up for the fight – but which one, and who is best positioned to oust Garnder?
The former Frederick County state delegate-turned Maryland Labor Secretary could be the Republicans’ hands-down, number-one draft pick.
Schulz is well-liked and respected by both Frederick’s Republicans and Republicans statewide alike. In 2018, Schulz will have four years of executive experience under her belt, running one of Maryland’s largest agencies.
A Michigan native, Schulz is often characterized by political insiders as a policy wonk. Those who know Schulz say she’s a problem-solver and policy-focused. She eschews partisan politics.
Should she run, Schulz would likely have the backing of the local GOP’s infrastructure. Schulz herself has a large political network; her supporters are loyal.
For what it’s worth, Schulz is a close ally of Gov. Hogan, who would almost undoubtedly throw support her way in a contested Republican primary.
Gardner is a formidable candidate and a proven track record. Hogan’s coattails aren’t likely to carry local Republicans to the finish line, especially given President Donald J. Trump’s rising unpopularity.
Gardner is still the odds-on favorite to win re-election. A Gardner-Schulz matchup, though, would be a race to watch.