Tawes Crab and Clam Bake overview

This was my first round. I made sure to get more of the fried clams, they were great!

About 5,000 people joined me down in Crisfield today to eat crabs, clams, and lots of other good food and drink. This is a pictorial article about my impressions.

Somerset County takes this opportunity to push their county for economic development purposes.

One business entity doing its share of recruiting was the U.S. Army.

One of the most elaborate business tents, this belonged to the Hebron Bank. There were dozens of businesses and groups with tents or parts of tents.

Obviously with this not being as much of a political year as 2006 (my first time there), the business community took most of the slack in getting tent spaces filled up. One person I talked to complained that the event was almost getting to be overrated as a political gathering because of all the corporate presence – he pined for the Schaefer days. But I would think the Crisfield Chamber of Commerce prefers the business showcase and that politics take more of a back seat. Next year’s event will likely be the same way as there’s only two races on the docket and, while candidates will be established in the Congressional race that highlighted this year’s event, the Presidential race will be down to just the presumptive Democrat and GOP nominees. The truly business-oriented event will be 2009’s, since there’s no early primary in 2010.

Both major parties had a tent or portion of one in Crisfield today. The Democrats had the smaller of the two, and sort of a lackluster turnout.

There was a fairly small Democrat tent there. No O'Malley, small tent.

I’m guessing that their turnout was smaller because they didn’t have their big names coming here. Supposedly Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown was about, but I did not see him. I did say hello to two of our local delegates, Norm Conway and Jim Mathias, at the event.

Meanwhile, the GOP had a portion of a much larger tent (appropriate, don’t you think?) with all of the Tri-County represented.

If you hadn't registered to vote, the GOP was happy to help you out!

A view of tables full of Republicans and friends enjoying the day.

Signs wave for Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester County Republicans.

The only Presidential candidate with any sort of item there was Mitt Romney, as somebody brought a bunch of his signs. But I did see a nice lady with a Newt Gingrich button.

Mitt Romney wasn't there in person, but a supporter was.

Loking at the Congressional race, three of the four major-party candidates for the First District Congressional seat were in the house, with the incumbent away but having workers there in his stead.

These two young ladies were helping out the incumbent by distributing his stickers to those willing to sport them.

Beacuse of today’s Congressional session, Wayne Gilchrest wasn’t here. At the start it seemed like he had a lot of kids about passing out his items, but toward the end they seemed to disappear. I think the fans below that the Gilchrest camp distributed disappeared quickly as well.

I didn't see a whole lot of these waving about. Whether it was because of a nice breeze or a lack of supporters is to be determined.

Meanwhile, both challengers on the Democrat side had a small presence, with just a few supporters milling about. Of the two, Chris Robinson seemed to be a little more prepared with his stuff. Here he chats with some of his supporters.

Democrat Congressional candidate Chris Robinson (far right, in white shirt and tie) talks with some of his small legion of helpers at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake.

Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Frank Kratovil is the other Democrat seeking the nod to run against Gilchrest. I actually met the gentleman, he’s a nice guy – just wrong on the war.

Sometimes I wish I was quicker on my feet because I couldn’t define victory when Frank and I discussed the Long War. (That’s why I do this gig.) But here’s how I define it: we achieve victory when the threat from al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic fundamentalist entities is subdued militarily to a point where they are no longer a significant threat to our security and safety here in America. At that point, I expect the restrictions placed temporarily on our civil liberties (such as the PATRIOT Act) to be lifted. If we withdraw from Iraq now, we cannot achieve that objective unless the fight is brought over here because at this point the military fronts are Iraq and Afghanistan.

So this is the guy you’ll likely see at candidate forums, pictured below:

Democrat hopeful Frank Kratovil (left) and a supporter at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake.

I saved Andrew Harris, the challenger on the GOP side, for last because he had by far the largest group assisting him at the event. Now, it wasn’t rock star standards but the turnout on his part was pretty good.

The only candidate with his own tent. That's what good fundrasing will get you I guess.

There were a LOT of yellow-clad Harris helpers at Tawes, I was impressed.

Andy actually was a bit late in arriving (about 2:00 or so.) Unlike what I recall about Martin O’Malley last year, Harris didn’t arrive with a large entourage. (It was already there?) He just came in the gate like everyone else.

GOP candidate Dr. Andrew Harris (center, in baseball cap) is a little late but none the worse for wear.

You know, here’s another reason I couldn’t run for higher office. I wonder if Harris, Robinson, or Kratovil ever got something to eat? Just occurred to me I never actually saw them take a bite.

And it didn’t take long for those arriving to be exposed to the politics of the day.

Candidate supporters line up along the main entryway.

For the GOP’s part, I did get to chat briefly with Senator Lowell Stoltzfus and Delegate Jeannie Haddaway. Haddaway noted she’d be the speaker at an upcoming WCRC meeting in the fall, and we’ll be glad to hear from her. I also renewed acquaintances with a number of friends on the GOP side, and actually met a reporter I’d spoken to on the phone about the Gilchrest race, Tom LoBianco of the Washington Times. So now I have a face to the name. And he wasn’t the only media person there by any means.

There were two things that surprised me business-wise and one shocker politically.

There's a lot more of these left than I figured there would be.

Attendance must have been off because as I recall they ran out of mugs last time around.

I took both of the pictures above toward the end of the day. I’m wondering if attendance was a bit off because of the heat and threat of rain. We did have a shower pass by to the south but this year it didn’t rain on the event. The weather was actually tolerable. Either they made more items assuming another crowd like last year’s or they didn’t get the count they thought they might. I suppose it’s the loss of those who paid for tickets but didn’t use them.

On the political side, the first new signs I saw sprouted up were in Princess Anne, the same place a large O’Malley sign has sat for a year (since Tawes 2006.) Those were Kratovil signs. The next signs I saw were turning onto Route 413, where Chris Robinson and Wayne Gilchrest signs vied for position all the way to Crisfield. I only saw a handful of Harris signs with the first not being until I hit Marion. That was shocking to me, but then again, a lot of signs were at the tent so maybe the Harris campaign’s idea was to keep their powder dry. I did hear one Harris supporter complain about that strategy though.

So it was a long and filling day for me. I had a pleasant surprise or two as there were some people who I’d not met previously but knew me from monoblogue. That was pretty cool. Overall, I had a good time as I expected to, and I’d like to take an opportunity to thank all those who put it together because they do a great job working while we visitors have the fun. My hat’s off to you.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

6 thoughts on “Tawes Crab and Clam Bake overview”

  1. LOL – It was our first time at the event. We saw those mugs and mallets under that tent when we first walked in, but thought they were for sale, so we kept on movin’. Guess a lot of people thought the same thing.

    (side note: the wrist bands were “light red” not “pink”)

  2. Michael,
    It was nice meeting and talking with you yesterday in Crisfield. Great pics!! By the way, you managed to get yourself into a pic run this morning by the Washington Times! You have to look hard, but there you are in background.

    I’ll be posting my video interview with Sen. Harris this weekend.

  3. Unlike all of the other candidate’s the Harris signs were not placed ILLEGALLY in the right of way. Harris’ signs were placed on people’s property who were actually supporters. The campaign is a firm believer in private property rights and would not place signs on a property without the owners permission.

  4. Good point, Chris, although there seems to be a LOT of exemptions given out for the day. You are correct that it’s illegal to have signs in the right-of-way, particularly this far out from the election – but I don’t ever think the SHA is going to enforce that on the third Wednesday in July along Route 413.

    Particularly if the sign says “Democrat”.

  5. Yes, Mike, I did see myself, whadda you know. I’m real interested to see how the video came out though.

    Hey John – you still have time to file! Maybe you can get him on as a “co-host.” 🙂

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