Freezin’ for a reason

Dr. Eric Wargotz's Scott Brown volunteer badge.I had an interesting conversation with Maryland U.S. Senate hopeful Dr. Eric Wargotz today.

If you don’t follow the campaign on his Facebook page, you may not have known that the Queen Anne’s County Commissioner and one of his campaign staffers, Don Murphy, took a couple days earlier this week to help out Scott Brown’s campaign for the U.S. Senate seat formerly known as “the Kennedy seat.” Hereafter I think we’re going to refer to that as “the People’s Seat.” Fortunately, Scott Brown will be the temporary occupant, at least until he faces the voters of Massachusetts in 2012 in a bid for a full six-year term.

Obviously this was a situation where Dr. Wargotz could learn firsthand the perils and pitfalls of campaigning statewide in a state that’s somewhat smaller than Maryland geographically but features a lot of the same sorts of voters – a mix of urban Democrats, suburban independents, and Yankee conservatism where the plurality of voters refuse to affiliate with either major party. (Of the rest, Democrats hold about a 3:1 advantage – that’s even more daunting than Maryland’s roughly 2:1 ratio of Democrats to GOP stalwarts.)

One thing that struck Dr. Wargotz was that Brown’s staff was at first “totally unprepared for the attention they got.” Since the buzz began over the last three weeks of the campaign, they were left short on many of the items one would associate with a political campaign – the supply of T-shirts and bumper stickers was nowhere near filling the demand. But Dr, Wargotz excitedly related the feeling among the capacity crowds he experienced at those Brown rallies he attended and how in going door-to-door there was enthusiasm among those who answered. (They weren’t quite as thrilled about the constant robocalls from both sides, though.)

In describing Brown, Eric noted that he was “a regular guy…what you see is what you get.” Thus, the public perception made by his unassuming style and pickup truck rang true. Contrast that with the “ice queen” personna of his opponent (not to mention the number of times she stepped in it verbally) and a following was created not unlike that which Sarah Palin garnered during the 2008 campaign. Of course, how Brown treats his Senate seat will determine just how much of the initial buzz wears off. While it’s putting the cart WAY before the horse, Rush Limbaugh used a short segment of his radio show today to compare how many days Scott Brown would be in the Senate before the 2012 election to the number of days Barack Obama spent in his seat before throwing his hat in the Presidential ring.

It was that kind of seminal event. But time moves on and our conversation also turned to Eric’s Senate race.

There is a rumor going around that Bob Ehrlich may not necessarily be interested in a rematch with Governor Martin O’Malley(a recent poll had O’Malley leading that matchup 48-39 with 13% undecided) and may instead challenge Senator Barbara Mikulski. (The same poll gives Mikulski a 64% approval rating, proving once again that Maryland voters are sadly uninformed and that they didn’t call me.) I don’t think Ehrlich would go that way, but the possibility exists. The former governor spent time in Congress so considering a return wouldn’t be a stretch.

If that happens and Ehrlich jumps into the Senate fray, Eric said he’d “be in no rush to leave” the race. Honestly, I think the former Governor wants his old job back but now, since Ehrlich has taken so long to consider his options, there are good candidates occupying both races. Obviously Dr. Wargotz would have time to step back to his current seat (since filing deadlines aren’t until July) but I admire his fighting spirit.

Just like Massachusetts voters decisively reclaimed the People’s Seat, I personally think the former Governor has to regain the respect of the voters and dithering doesn’t help the cause.

In the meantime, I appreciate Dr. Wargotz to spend a few minutes updating me on his trip. Quite honestly, I think it was a very shrewd move as far as his campaign goes because a little bit of self-promoting buzz never hurts. Nor would a fundraiser with Scott Brown, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if something like that wasn’t in the works for later this year. (Perhaps I stumbled into a scoop, Eric? I know you read here.)

And by the way – apology accepted.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

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