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Kagan enters Senate race, Simmons claims edge in poll

Cheryl Kagan (courtesy Cheryl Kagan for State Senate)

Cheryl Kagan (courtesy Cheryl Kagan for State Senate)

A former delegate from Montgomery County said Tuesday she plans to seek the state Senate seat currently held by fellow Democratic Sen. Jennie Forehand.

The announcement by Cheryl Kagan came the same day that Del. Luiz Simmons, another Democratic candidate for the same Senate seat, released a poll claiming an edge over Kagan in a head-to-head contest.

“We need an effective advocate who will work tirelessly to protect our values,” Kagan said in an emailed statement.  “In the Senate, I will speak up for our interests and for improving the quality of life in Rockville, Gaithersburg, and all of Montgomery County.

“My experience in the nonprofit sector has given me a deep understanding of how state policies in Annapolis affect our neighbors here in Montgomery County,” Kagan said in her statement.  “By listening to the community and building coalitions, I’m confident that we can overcome our state’s challenges.”

Kagan served two terms in District 17 from 1995 to 2003 before deciding not to run for a third term.

Kagan ran against incumbent five-term Sen. Jennie Forehand in 2010, losing by 356 votes.

Forehand, 77, served four terms in the House of Delegates prior to being elected to the Senate in 1994.

Forehand complained in 2010 about the tone of Kagan’s campaign  that year.

“Negative campaigning was something we’d never had in our district and I thought it was inexcusable,” Forehand told the Gazette newspaper.

In that same article, Kagan defended the tone of the campaign saying challengers need to “draw distinctions between themselves and the incumbent. Jennie had a legislative record with some surprising votes on it and I thought it was important to educate the voters.”

Kagan is the second Democratic candidate to announce their campaign for the District 17 seat. Last week, Del. Luiz Simmons announced his own Senate campaign.

The Simmons campaign Tuesday afternoon released a poll claiming an edge over Kagan in a head-to-head contest.

The poll, conducted in October by Annapolis-based Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, reported that 70 percent of the 299 Democratic voters in the district had a favorable opinion of Simmons compared to 45 percent who had a favorable opinion of Kagan.

That same poll said that 44 percent of those surveyed would vote for Simmons if the Democratic Primary were held today compared to 28 percent who said they’d vote for Kagan and 27 percent who said they were undecided.

The poll did not included Forehand in the head-to-head contest. A source in the Simmons campaign said Forehand was omitted intentionally from the poll because the campaign is “focused on who they believed the candidates would be.”

 

District 17 Memo October 2013