Jennifer Dougherty


Former Frederick mayor Jennifer Dougherty will mount a write-in campaign for mayor in the city's November election after criticizing the city's handling of another candidate's criminal record.

Dougherty said she decided on the write-in run after reports this week that Republican nominee Steven Hammrick -- whose legal name is Steven Hamrick Jr. -- has a pending assault charge against him, as well as a conviction in a 2016 domestic violence case.

Upon filing his candidacy in April, Hammrick filed an affidavit with the city for the alternate spelling of his name to appear on the ballot. He said he did so because that's how he's known by members of the community.

Hammrick has said he expects the pending assault case, for allegedly pointing a gun at a group of people outside his apartment during a confrontation in July, to be dismissed when it goes to court.

Dougherty said Friday that Mayor Michael O'Connor – who won the city's Democratic primary in September over Dougherty, Alderman Roger Wilson, and businessman John Funderburk – and the city's government either knew or should have known about Hammrick's alternate name and brought the situation to light.

For O'Connor not to have known about the situation “doesn't pass the smell test,” Dougherty said Friday.

She cited it as the latest in a series of situations in which -- in her view -- O'Connor's administration has failed to act, noting that the city still doesn't have a policy to protect employees from inappropriate behavior by officials. Dougherty referenced a report by a lawyer hired by the city that found that Wilson had used his position to make inappropriate advances to several women.

Dougherty said she knows some people will see the write-in campaign as sour grapes after she finished second to O'Connor in the primary.

“Some will say, 'You're just mad' -- damn right I'm mad. Because the city deserves better,” she said.

O'Connor said Friday he doesn't think the city should want its mayor weighing in on who's allowed to run for office and who's not.

“I don't think that's my authority,” he said.

Voters ultimately get to decide who's qualified and who's not, O'Connor said.

Dougherty, who served as mayor from 2001 to 2005, said she knows mounting a write-in campaign poses logistical challenges for a candidate.

The only reference to write-in voting in the city charter is a section that they are allowed in the general election but not in primary elections, Phyllis Hane, the city's legislative clerk, said in an email. 

Dougherty thinks her name is well-known in the city from her time in office, her participation in the primary and her role as owner of downtown pub and restaurant Magoo's. She's updated her campaign website and has mailers ready to go out, she said.

Dougherty is hopeful that she'll be able to participate in forums and debates leading up to the Nov. 2 election, but said that will be up to each event's organizers.

Otherwise, she just hopes that voters will fill their ballots in correctly.

“They'll get the 'Jennifer' part right, and let's hope they get the 'Dougherty' part right,” she said.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(42) comments


Again we see why o' conner should not be Mayor. He has no level of integrity, he is mainly lazy. He know if he does do the right thing, he may have do some work, so nothing gets done.

Maybe Jennifer would not be so bad.

Guy T. Ashton

I appreciate a third choice as an independent voter.


I also appreciate a third choice as a Dem.


Enough Jennifer! we the people rejected your campaign resoundingly why can't you just let it go. Your a has been


Says the one who can’t even spell or punctuate


"Says the one who can’t even spell or punctuate," Plumbum? This from the one whose smart phone outsmarts her repeatedly, resulting in her posting nonsensical gibberish that look like it's been written by a two year old! Thanks for the Sunday morning laugh, Pb! [lol][lol][lol][lol][lol]


A rather "wreckless" comment, Pb.


Can anyone here comment on how she did back when she was mayor?


Which point of view do you want; pro or con, and from a supporter or from an opponent?


Lol. Good point. I met her once. I was not impressed. That being said, it probably says more about me than her.


I've eaten at her establishment. My wife and I talked to her. She seems to care and want to help. She also seems approachable and fairly easy to talk to. Those seem like decent qualities to have in a mayor.


Look up Jennifer Dougherty in the FNP, and Google Jennifer Dougherty plenty of info out there, then you make up your mind how Jennifer Dougherty did as Mayor?

You don’t want a biased opinion to guide you, you want your own opinion to guide you right? It’s up to you to determine how Jennifer Dougherty did as mayor!


She got a lot done. And she did a lot to make our city Government more open and transparent.

She was a good mayor And personally fought for this community in ways OConnor Just doesn’t have the character or gumption to do. Here are just a few things That are actually listed on her website. but I know there’s so much more.

* Took strong action against blighted properties (No one has done as much as her)

* Created the neighborhood advisory councils NAC(Which Michael has pretty much destroyed)

* Frederick 101

* 14 Police Officers added with an authorized force of 141 officers

* Community policing prioritized

* Crime reduced by 25%

* First accreditation for the Police department achieved

* GREAT (anti-gang program) initiated

* Highly respected Chief of Police hired in 4 months (took oconner 11)

* Red light camera legislation proposed

* Speed Humps pilot program initiated

* Traffic circles and humps installed

* City response to Amerithrax investigation coordinated

* City-Wide Emergency Operations Plan developed

* Completed Phase 1 of Carroll Creek (after 12 years of nothing.)

* This included the linear park, residential and commercial buildings

* Created the economic development department


Those are impressive accomplishments. However, I do recall that era being good to any halfway decent politician. I appreciate your feedback.



O'Connor said Friday he doesn't think the city should want its mayor weighing in on who's allowed to run for office and who's not.

“I don't think that's my authority,” he said.

O'Connor just admitted he knew about Hammrick and did nothing...I guess he really cares about Frederick City right? It's fine and dandy with O'Connor if an alleged criminal runs the city...did he forget about what happened over in the County a few years back? Where the County was being sold to the highest bidder?

O'Connor missed the point...there are ways to inform the public without the public knowing who informed them..we all know about anonymous sources right, remember it was the anonymous accusers that sunk Mr. Wilson's mayoral campaign. O'Connor had a hand in that are naïve if you think he didn't.

O'Connor knows how to play the press....look at what happened with Mr. Wilson and the press (FNP). The FNP swallowed that hook line and sinker and went along with that public lynching without a smidgeon of credible evidence.

O'Connor didn't want the press to know an alleged criminal was running on the Republican ticket and stood a chance at becoming the next Mayor?

Talk about party over country...or is it country over party?

Still would like to know who actually informed the press?? Maybe O'Connor was the one that tipped the FNP off? Maybe O'Connor really doesn't want to be mayor?

It's better for O'Connor in the long run if O'Connor doesn't win...


Nice lookin out! You’re totally right.

O’conner made it a point to blast Wilson, blast Wilson with no proof. No witnesses. Nothing.

But, o’conner quietly sat back on this hammricks dude’s public criminal record?? LOL I see what’s going on here.

I also recall hammricks criminal background being mentioned here in the comments not too long ago. Perhaps that’s where the FNP got the tip? Hard to say.

Next, when will Wilson’s well known, powerfull lawyer issues the civil complaint against MacSHAME and O’Connor?


I don’t understand.


I don't care whether or not O'Conner knew about the criminal record of one of his opponents. I don't think it is his responsibility to vet the Republican candidates, and I am tired of scandals being the main way we evaluate our city candidates.


[thumbup]three Yes, if your name is printed on a ballot, why does it matter how many alternate spellings? I thought maybe that was the issue? As for an individual’s possible criminality… what does that have to do with anyone else’s fitness for office? Hate to be the dumb cluck in the room 🐔Jennifer is qualified. Write her in if you want.


No kidding. Look what happened to Hillary when she pointed out in 2016 that the former guy was Putin's preferred presidential candidate. Republicans started wearing better "Russian than Democrat" t-shirts.


True, if he started peering into other candidates' backgrounds he would then be accused of dirty tactics.




Ok 3cents. That's the problem. Too many people don’t care about the moral or ethical character of candidates. They don't care until it effects them personally. Would you care if a Candidate had a history of embezzlement? Costing taxpayers money? Or is it that you just don’t care because this is domestic violence and assault? Mostly against women.

O’Connor ran as the most ‘ethical’ canidate-yet his administration failed to to their job. If it’s not his administration’s responsibility to ensure that candidates don’t file fraudulent applications for candidacy, then who’s job is it? Why do we even have a board of elections?

§ 6. - Powers and duties.


The Mayor is the chief executive officer and the head of the administrative branch of the City government and shall see that the ordinances of the City are faithfully executed. The Mayor is responsible for the administration of the City's affairs to the Board of Aldermen and to the voters of the City

The City Legal staff is responsible for handling the filings and O'Connor must enforce the rules. At the very least, he should have put Mr. Hammrick name change affidavit on the website. It is public information.

Our mayor must be willing to place the interests of the community ahead of self-interest. (the ethical thing to do). It was not in the best interest of this community to let an individual with a past history of domestic violence and assuault hide his real name and run for any office. Not only did it put city workers at risk, it jeopardized the reputation and well being of the whole community.

Morals and ethics are tricky .......but knowing what your own morals and ethics are makes it even more tricky.


It's not on Hulu yet but on FX...Impeachment: American Crime Story, about Clinton's impeachment...a fascinating look at morals and ethics....and why we should demand moral's and ethic's from our elected leaders...because they are the ones that determine our morals and we have seen with Trump.




I am watching the Louis CK star-studded miniseries, "Horace and Pete" on Hulu. I think it came out right before he got cancelled. I highly recommend. Also, his self-titled FX series is one of the all-time great TV series.


Don't, Ms. Dougherty. Split the democratic vote and Hammrick/Hamrick will be elected.


She already lost soundly to O'Conner in the the primary, so I don't see


More Dems voted against Oconnor than for him. Almost 1/4 of registered voters in the city are unaffiliated. Who didn’t even have the opportunity to vote. And the Republicans now have no good choice. So I think she’s got a better chance than Michael. Write in Jennifer Dougherty.


...her having any chance as a write-in candidate. And there are so few Republican voters in Frederick, that I don't think Ham(m)rick has any chance, especially with his low name recognition - so low we don't know how to spell it. Jennifer will probably get more votes than Ham(m)rick will, but O'Conner will win easily.

Voters may or may not choose to affiliate with a political party, however, affiliation with a party is required to vote in primary elections

19% of Maryland voters are unaffiliated with a political party.

Don't forget there are those of us that weren't able to vote in the primary and then there are those of us that voted in the primary for Jennifer and those of us that voted Republican ...I think Jennifer Dougherty could pull this off. I really don't think the moderate Republicans want an alleged criminal elected to Mayor. So there are plenty of "us" to write in Jennifer Dougherty....


Aren't more than 25% of voters in Frederick unaffiliated?


I am not up on my stats for unaffiliated voters in Frederick, if it is 25% for Frederick then Jennifer Dougherty's (remember her last name needs to be spelled correctly) write campaign stands an excellent chance of being successful. I also forgot the people that voted for Mr. Wilson, they ARE NOT going to vote for O'Connor, especially after the reveal article on Steve Hammrick/Hamrick.

Jennifer Dougherty has a base of voters that O'Connor doesn't have and never had, that are probably more than happy to write Jennifer Dougherty's name in. I know I am happy to write her name in, I said I was going to vote for the Polite White Woman the other day.

If I could have voted in primary I would have voted for Jennifer Dougherty(sorry Mr. Wilson) because she is an independent thinker and like you pointed out did many wonderful things for Frederick City when she was mayor. I think that's what bothers a lot of people,(even women) independent thinking women. But if you want a job done right without a lot of drama/scandal elect independent thinking women like Jennifer Dougherty.

Also this article is still on the front page here so I think that means the FNP is endorsing Jennifer Dougherty in their own weird way....we will see if they write an editorial on Jennifer Dougherty's write-campaign?


What, the Dims haven't screwed Frederick up enough for you?



We got a long way of screwing up to catch up to where you guys are: overturning free and fair elections because our team lost.


Who are you going to vote for Mayor? Or will you be writing in a name?


I will be voting for John Kinnaird.


If I lived in Thurmont I’d be voting for Mr. Kinnard too. But I live in Frederick. So Ms. Dougherty gets my vote. See how that works? Not loyal to party.


Shouldn’t Republicans have screened him, as he represents their party?

I know right....Steve Hammrick was the best they had to offer?? Something is fishy and it's starting to smell. There were no moderate Republicans anywhere that wanted to run for Mayor that weren't alleged criminals?


Jennifer's write-in might work well

as Hammrick's trick begins to smell

a restauranteur

she knows for sure

it should be good for clientele.

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