On Wicomico County’s ballot we have the following decisions to make:
- President and Vice-President of the United States
- Representative in Congress, Congressional District 1
- Judge, Court of Appeals, Appellate Circuit 1
- Judge, Court of Special Appeals, At-Large
- Judge, Court of Special Appeals, At-Large
- Question 1 – Constitutional Amendment: Early Voting, Polling Places, Absentee Ballots
- Question 2 – Constitutional Amendment: Authorizing Video Lottery Terminals (Slot Machines) to Fund Education
- Question A – (Wicomico County) Charter Amendment: Permit Refunding of Obligations
- Question B – (Wicomico County) Charter Amendment: Extension of Obligation Maturity Date, Clarification of BAN Terms
As long-time readers probably recall, John McCain was far from my first choice for the GOP nomination. My support for him was tepid at best and I had a few thoughts about at least looking into Constitution Party nominee Chuck Baldwin as my vote. However, two things changed my mind.
One was seeing just how unqualified Democrat nominee Barack Obama was to be President based on the company he keeps. Obviously one cannot always choose who works with you, but the pure radicalism of many of Obama’s closest associates gives me pause. Furthermore, the answer, immortalized on video, that he gave to Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher regarding “spread(ing) the wealth” showed his true intentions. America was meant for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. The pie only gets bigger if there’s incentive to make it so, and Obama’s economic ideas do little to incentivize one’s work ethic or building of wealth.
The second piece of the puzzle fell into place when McCain picked Alaska’s Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Appealing to conservatives (actually just plain appealing) because of her status as the only major-party nominee to have executive experience and her reformist, fiscally conservative approach to government in our 49th state, she balanced the ticket nicely and brought enthusiasm to a campaign which was sorely lacking in anything to excite conservatives.
While the ticket is still far from perfect and neither candidate is going to completely halt the federal government’s lurch toward expansion, given the choices and the world situation there’s only one obvious pick for President and that’s John McCain.
First Congressional District:
This has been a race I’ve hammered on for most of the last two months, because it’s a race where the Democrats think they have a chance to steal a previously Republican House seat. Like their strategy in 2006, the national Democrats backed a candidate who can be called a moderate or even a little right of center on some issues but loyal to the liberals inside the Beltway on issues that count.
It’s a race where the mudslinging hasn’t ceased since Frank Kratovil went negative back in October. Kratovil and his Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee backers have pounded on selected points of Andy Harris’s State Senate record while Harris responded by questioning the integrity of Kratovil’s dealings with criminal defense attorneys and whether Kratovil said the bailout “solved” the problem. In short, it’s a campaign that hasn’t been angelic on either side to say the least.
What we’re voting on though is the predicted representation that one of these two will provide the district in Congress – will they vote in accordance with what the district’s wishes are? Despite the few votes cherrypicked by the DCCC in an effort to impugn Harris’s overall record, the fact remains that Harris is a reliably anti-tax, pro-smaller government vote in the Maryland Senate. All but one of the State Senators in his district endorsed Harris early on (the holdout being primary opponent E.J. Pipkin), so any criticism of how he gets along with his colleagues can be answered with that. Moreover, Andy’s stances have remained very similar throughout the campaign – there’s been no need to tailor his message between primary day and the general election.
Conversely, Frank Kratovil was against drilling for oil before he was for it (but only in selected areas, many of which have been found to be dry holes.) Kratovil claims to be pro-Second Amendment but only wishes to enforce the existing laws, saying nothing about rolling back some of the extreme anti-gun legislation Congress has passed or will certainly revisit after safely being re-elected. Being for universal health care (read: socialized medicine in the tradition of Great Britain or Canada) in the primary became being for universal health coverage once he had to face all of the voters. Gone were the photo-ops and endorsements from Martin O’Malley once the primary passed as well as the talk about being pro-choice. Frank knew none of that played in Peoria, let alone Port Deposit or Princess Anne.
Because Frank hasn’t served a day in any legislative body, all we have to go by as a predictor of his performance in Congress is his words – the problem is that through all the denials, parsing, and shifting of positions we have no idea whether the Frank Kratovil who ran left to win the primary or the Frank Kratovil who decided to run through the middle in the general election campaign is the real one.
One of Frank’s very first votes in Congress will almost certainly be to retain Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House. That alone is good reason to leave him as the State’s Attorney in Queen Anne’s County and elevate Andy Harris from the Maryland Senate to Congress.
Unlike some other states, Maryland judges only have to be rubberstamped occasionally to continue in office until they reach a mandatory retirement age. In this case, we have one judge who is running to retain her seat while two others face the voters for the first time in their position. Deborah Eyler, appointed by Governor Glendening and Robert Zarnoch, appointed by Governor O’Malley, haven’t done anything completely objectionable. Nor has the Appellate Circuit Judge Sally Adkins, but her appointment came under the interesting circumstance of being the only name submitted the first time. A resubmission with three candidates still resulted in Adkins being picked, so perhaps this is a chance to send a message to the nominating commission by ending Adkins’ term.
Questions 1 and 2:
Questions A and B:
These issues for Wicomico County voters are proposed to clean up some sections of the county charter, but also extend the obligation time for county bonds from 25 years to a possible 30 years.
Question A is a common-sense proposal that allows Wicomico County to refund outstanding bonds, notes, and other obligations early if they find it financially advantageous to do so. For that reason, Question A deserves a YES vote.
While Question B is appealing from a year-by-year standpoint by allowing smaller payments each year on bond debts, the fact that obligations last longer and interest accrues for a longer period doesn’t work well with a revenue cap. Since the county has proven its need for the cap, the better course is to limit bonding to 25 years; thus the vote on Question B should be a NO vote.
And we thought this would be kind of a sleepy election? If you haven’t done so, get out and vote on Tuesday.