Are you ready for the next step?

Chances are when you read this tomorrow will be Election Day, since I’m writing this shortly before midnight.

It’s been a tremendously long campaign since it really began about the time the TEA Parties began in the spring of 2009. Everyone involved believed the government had finally overstepped its bounds after a series of debacles which began under the Bush Administration and overlapped into President Obama’s tenure. In their eyes, more spending and government weren’t the answer for kickstarting a moribund economy.

Locally, I’ve seen the impact of this movement both on and off the ballot. All three local parties have at least one candidate who was inspired to take part in the political process thanks to the TEA Party movement. And although neither the Brewingtons (Julie and Mike) nor Chris Lewis was successful in their aspirations for legislative office, it can be argued that the TEA Party has affected the local Republican Party. We have a lot of new blood in the lower levels of the party thanks to the TEA Party, but the trick will be to keep them there and not make them disillusioned over what happens beginning November 3rd.

Normally I don’t discuss inside party baseball, but I’m sure most are aware that the local Republican Party will have a new Chair for the next term because current Chair John Bartkovich opted not to run again. But many of those who were on the Central Committee previously ran and won, and while I’m not going to name names in this space I will let you know that three people are interested in taking over the reins of the local party. (Let me say up front: I’m not one of the three! There are some who might be disappointed by that, but there are better qualified people among the group than I.) I think two of them would be acceptable to the local TEA Party to represent a non-establishment presence there while the other may smack too much of the ‘old guard’ establishment.

(A note to local Republican establishment types: this new group of activists doesn’t believe the best conservative candidates necessarily will have an ‘R’ after their name. This is the new political reality; get used to it.)

Some of the things I believe we will need to address will depend on that which happens in the next 48 hours – of course, the first thing we need to do is get as many Republican candidates as possible elected locally and that’s my main focus. Given the absolute worst-case (but possible) scenario of having Rick Pollitt as County Executive and four fairly leftist Democrats controlling County Council, we have plenty of work to do to protect our wallets. (I won’t go into just how damaging it would be to have Democrats control the federal or state levels.)

But if I have my say, the Republican Party of 2011-14 will be out in the community more and better tapping into the resources we’ve been presented by this new political resurgence. The idea, though, isn’t to elect people simply because they have an ‘R’ after their name but to elect good conservative stewards of our community and way of life. There are some positions locally which haven’t had a good pruning lately and need to be addressed in the next cycle; that’s another job to take care of.

As the next few months progress, I’m sure we will begin to pull back the curtain on a new era in the local GOP. I’m looking forward to being on the winning team for awhile and trying to cement local success while pushing back the frontiers of ignorance (as Walter E. Williams would say) on the state level.

On Tuesday, let’s win some for the Gipper.

Maryland: the land that TEA forgot?

I actually sent this in to PJM early this but they decided not to run it for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a little bit off-message, or perhaps we are a true backwater of conservative politics. 

Last year in Virginia and New Jersey, the first successes of the TEA Party movement swept unabashed fiscal conservatives Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie into office.

Similarly in Pennsylvania, the latest polls show Republicans with wide leads in statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate. Next door in West Virginia, a Republican has a good chance of taking over the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat stalwart Robert Byrd.

Even where the polls aren’t as friendly, such as Delaware, they garnered national attention when a TEA Party-backed upstart in Christine O’Donnell upended longtime moderate Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 primary. O’Donnell made her final push to victory after getting financial backing from the TEA Party Express and the endorsement of Sarah Palin.

Yet as all that political turmoil roils states which border Maryland, TEA Party activists there bemoan the fact that they’ve been bypassed by the excitement.

Sarah Palin’s endorsement of TEA Party favorite Brian Murphy did little to help his campaign for governor as he was spanked by a nearly 50 point margin in the September 14 primary. While Delaware voters turned their political world upside down by going against the state’s establishment Republicans and selecting O’Donnell, Maryland’s state GOP apparatus placed their support behind former governor Bob Ehrlich almost immediately after he formally announced he would seek the office again. The move angered conservative activists but more mainline Republicans bought the argument that only Ehrlich could unseat current Governor Martin O’Malley – who defeated Ehrlich in 2006.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, Ehrlich trails in the latest Rasmussen Poll by 8 points, which is larger than his 2006 margin of defeat. A similar (and more recent) poll by Gonzales Research has Ehrlich down 5.

Of course there are bright spots for conservative activists in some portions of the state. Andy Harris is a TEA Party favorite who is giving freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil all he can handle in a spirited First District race that’s also a rematch, from 2008. Even more popular is the man challenging Steny Hoyer in the Fifth District, Charles Lollar. He’s a dynamic speaker who has excited crowds anywhere from a small campaign event to the 9-12 rally in Washington, D.C.

But for two TEA Party believers I spoke to, the lack of good choices on the Maryland ballot is disheartening.

Chris Lewis helped to organize the first TEA Party in the small Eastern Shore city of Salisbury back in April 2009. This involvement eventually led to an unsuccessful run for a Wicomico County Council seat earlier this year but he still attends a number of TEA Party events and leads the occasional local protest.

While he has no bitterness about losing in his primary – Chris ran as a Republican this time after a bid as an unaffiliated candidate 12 years ago – he’s “not too happy” with the remainder of the choices Republicans selected.

“Voting for the lesser of two evils is becoming very frustrating,” said Chris. “Maryland has always been blue, but the Maryland GOP has done a horrible job of putting up serious and constitutionally conservative candidates against these very weak, liberal, anti-constitutional and anti-business Democrat candidates.”

Fellow conservative activist Julie Brewington agrees. Like Lewis, she was active in the local TEA Party movement practically from its inception and ran for office this year, losing in a GOP primary for a House of Delegates seat.

Julie ran down a list of Republican nominees at the state and local level, describing many as “blah” or milquetoast. “I will reluctantly pull the lever for Ehrlich,” she said, if only for the sake of having a better say in redistricting. “I have finally come around to the fact that if Ehrlich is not voted in we will have no voice at all, as conservatives in this state.”

Still, she’s frustrated at what’s happened to the movement she helped create. “I feel the TEA party here in Maryland has been hijacked to a degree successfully by establishment Republicans,” said Julie. “It’s because of this we have less than exciting candidates to pick from.”

In fact, Julie was most thrilled about crossing over to Delaware to attend a campaign rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell. “She’s the closest thing to a true blue TEA Party candidate we have locally (and) I can relate to Christine on many levels. This would include personal attacks I endured during my candidacy for the House of Delegates.”

“She is me, and I am you.”

Lewis and Brewington express a thought that many conservatives trapped in the (not so) Free State have been thinking for years. Emboldened to speak out by other events nationally, they’re afraid that they’re being abandoned by state and national Republicans and don’t have the numbers to make a difference. This is odd because the same Rasmussen Poll that had Ehrlich 8 points down also showed that seventeen percent of Maryland voters consider themselves members of the TEA Party movement, a number slightly higher than the national average.

Yet as Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eric Wargotz noted when I asked him about the TEA Party, “I absolutely agree with the two main tenets (of fiscal responsibility and limited government)…but Maryland is a Democratic state.” He’s had to walk a bit of a tightrope in his campaign, although it’s clear that Wargotz has embraced the TEA Party more than Bob Ehrlich has in the other major statewide race – Ehrlich completely dismissed the Palin endorsement of his opponent and hasn’t made any attempt to make up with movement conservatives in the state.

Perhaps in a cycle or two Maryland may catch on, but by all indications there’s not going to be a lot of TEA Party victories in the Free State next week. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s one the Maryland Republican Party may have brought upon itself due to the conscious decision to not listen to its newly-energized TEA Party base and instead choose the establishment side in the primary.

Friday night videos – episode 49

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Friday night videos – episode 49 

The last episode before the historic midterm and state elections may be a little on the long side. I have four videos from earlier today to feature first, with Andy Harris, Bob Ehrlich, and two doses of Michael Steele speaking before a crowded Salisbury GOP Victory Center earlier today.

Another short video which is important to our election on a more local scale comes from State’s Attorney hopeful Matt Maciarello.

All in all, Barb Mikulski’s another brick in the wall.

Perhaps a good way to look at the future is remembering the past, like this video from the Republican Study Committee does. This man is a good one to study.

We can roll back the damage done.

I told you I might reuse this one.

That WILL be Tuesday. We can truly drain the swamp of all the scum that’s accumulated over the last couple election cycles.

And when you go to vote, don’t forget what Ava says.

You just HAD to know I would call it a wrap with her – there is no other way but to close a long and bitterly fought election season but with that song.

Fire Pelosi tour comes to Salisbury

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Fire Pelosi tour comes to Salisbury 

This morning there was a big red bus out front of the Salisbury GOP Victory Center.

Eventually we saw there were a number of special guests on the bus, and our small city will get a little love from Fox News as well. Bret Baier sat in our headquarters taping an interview with Michael Steele for later broadcast.

Apparently Bret’s aboard the bus for today. But people were excited even if they’re not on the bus, and passers-by were greeted by about a dozen sign wavers – that’s the first picture below.

Overall well over 100 people crammed into our South Salisbury Boulevard headquarters, including practically every local candidate and state party Chair Audrey Scott. As you’ll see in the second picture below, that guy running for governor is also a popular fella to be pictured with. Bob referred to the group as “the James Gang”, playing off the rock band of yore. Bob made sure to point out that “I don’t support Jim Mathias, despite what he may say.”

It was also an excuse for GOP candidates to see and be seen. Marty Pusey was out making her rounds.

Mike McDermott, her fellow District 38B House candidate, was also there but had this high-visibility item nearby as well.

So after the bus made a show of re-arriving, leading to the quip of the day – Michael Steele joked as he was departing that, “I tell my Democratic friends the bus is a little understated, but it gets the job done” – we all crammed into the headquarters building itself to hear what they had to say. When I say crammed, it was pretty crowded.

State chair Audrey Scott, who you may see in the middle of the above picture, served as the emcee.

As I write this, I’m uploading the videos from today’s remarks for a special edition of FNV. But Michael Steele didn’t get right back on the bus after his remarks were through. He also gave a pep talk to the volunteers who jumped on the phones to make the calls we need for victory.

He also had time to tape a quick interview with local radio host Bill Reddish and talk to other reporters.

Michael noted the 2010 campaign, “is unreal…a tidal wave that’s brewing.”

We will find out on Tuesday, but the group here sounded pretty confident of victory.

Pusey: ‘The Lower Shore needs jobs. We deserve jobs.’

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Pusey: ‘The Lower Shore needs jobs. We deserve jobs.’ 

So what is she going to do about it?

It’s needless to say that she’s in favor of lowering taxes, as most candidates are this year. Reducing the sales tax seems to be the weapon of choice, but Marty would also like a “clear cut reduction in corporate tax rates.”

So far so good; this is a basic and solid conservative approach to drawing business in. But given Maryland’s long border with Virginia, part of which borders her district, she’s come up with another idea I wholeheartedly support and the remainder of the state should embrace.

It is crucial to the citizens of this state to bring labor reform to Maryland. Through the “right to work” legislation, there would be no pre-set wages, breaks, benefits, no Union requirements for dues, and local contractors can participate in State contracts. States that have passed this have better economic conditions and more jobs; that’s why it needs to be a top priority in Maryland.

Yes, Virginia is a right-to-work state. Courtesy of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, this is Virginia’s law on the matter. Most right-to-work states are in the South, though there are a string from Texas to North Dakota and into many of the Rocky Mountain states.

It also cuts the union influence. Do you think that AFSCME Local 1081 would have $3,800 to donate to opponent Norm Conway if there were right-to-work legislation? Or would AFSCME Local 3478 push $500 his way? Even out-of-town unions like UFCW Local 1994 from Gaithersburg ($2,000) or the SEIU out of Baltimore ($1,000) might become more interested in selling their advantage to prospective members than buying politicians. Fellow Democrat Gee Williams seems to be more the favorite of teachers’ unions.

If we are to re-establish any sort of manufacturing capacity in the district, it’s going to be helpful to present a package that attracts businesses to our state and region. Government can be of assistance in doing things they are supposed to do, like infrastructure (how about upgrading the U.S. 13 corridor to interstate level northward from Salisbury to a connection to I-95 near Wilmington?) but they can also help by eliminating costly regulations and making it fiscally feasible to locate a business here.

That’s the sort of thinking we need in Annapolis; right now there’s a shortage.

Crossing way over the aisle

Perhaps part of the reason that Frank Kratovil won election in 2008 was a September endorsement from former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest. As I noted at the time, “(for a Republican) reaching across (the aisle) means more often than not you end up with a bloody hand full of teeth marks and a larger, more intrusive federal government.”

While I had some definite issues with him as a Congressman Wayne has gotten even more annoying since he left Washington. Right after he gave his blessing to Frank Kratovil, he then planted a big wet one on Barack Obama. So much for being a moderate Republican; instead he graduated to become a suckup to the inside-the-Beltway ruling class.

If you don’t agree, remember that Wayne was all for Obamacare, at least in this piece for the Chestertown Spy:

So I’m not completely surprised that Wayne is now slobbering all over Martin O’Malley; as I recall he conceded to voting for O’Malley in 2006 while loyal Republicans in his district worked and campaigned for Wayne as well as to re-elect Bob Ehrlich.

The Democrats’ new best friend is even making his input into local races, encouraging District 37B voters to dump the tried and tested Republican Addie Eckardt and elect Democrat Patrice Stanley. So now she has endorsements from Big Labor, Big Green, Big Teacher, and Big Sellout.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that Wayne sold out more of his former supporters and constituents. At least we know where he stands, for the moment.

In 2008 we thought that maybe Wayne was upset with a bloody primary fight where he lost because Andy Harris successfully tagged him as a “liberal.” (Oddly enough, until his last year in office – most of which was spent as a lame duck – Wayne was still more conservative than Frank Kratovil was, according to the American Conservative Union’s ratings.) But I guess Andy was right on the money with this one, wasn’t he?

My advice to Wayne Gilchrest is to be careful what you wish for – once your usefulness has passed, the Democrats will drop you like a bad habit. Your legacy will be one of a bitter old man whose career was cut short because you took two unpopular stands against a war we needed to fight and an industry we need to maintain our standard of living.

All you had to do was listen to and consider what the people of your district were telling you and perhaps you may have survived the 2008 GOP primary and Frank Kratovil’s attempt to run to your right (and yes, he would have ran to your right) to serve one final term to round out a 20-year career. But you didn’t and you paid the price.

Like a true Democrat, all your endorsements will do is enable them to spread the misery equally.

LG hopeful Kane campaigns in Wicomico

If you drive by the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, you might think there’s an election going on.

Since this is the case, we were graced by a visit from Mary Kane, who’s running on the ticket with Bob Ehrlich. Naturally she’s a popular lady.

The gentleman on the left with Mrs. Kane is Mark McIver, the campaign coordinator for Bob Ehrlich here in Wicomico County.

But Kane wasn’t the only Republican out looking for votes this afternoon. Here she stands amidst Bob Culver, who’s running for Wicomico County Council at-large and Matt Maciarello, the GOP choice for State’s Attorney.

Worth noting is that Democrat Peter Evans was out looking for votes as well. I just didn’t get a picture of him.

There’s also a number of volunteers, and to show the proper role of a GOP candidate who lost in the primary A. Kaye Kenney was working on the behalf of several candidates including Stevie Prettyman of Council District 2 and Charles Otto, running for Delegate in District 38A. Here she is with Matt Maciarello.

It’s probable that close to 4,000 Wicomico voters will take advantage of early voting based on the results of days 1-5 and what I project will happen today (I think this will be the biggest day from the numbers I heard when I was there.)While that seems like a lot, bear in mind this will only be about 7% of the total eligible voters…yet if the final results are a factor of 10 as they were in early voting for the primary, turnout might be heavy.

And while Democrats are slightly leading in turnout percentage statewide, on the Eastern Shore the GOP leads in all but Queen Anne’s County (where the two parties are in a virtual tie.) So we are indeed ready and raring to go.

By the way, the top of the GOP ticket will be here in Salisbury tomorrow morning at 9:30 for the “Fire Pelosi” tour. RSVP to Patrick Hefflinger [phefflinger (at) mdgop.org] or call (443) 736-8042. I plan on covering that event as well.

Ehrlich: It’s ‘up or out’ for me

October 27, 2010 · Posted in Baltimore Examiner · Comments Off on Ehrlich: It’s ‘up or out’ for me 

On the Washington Post’s ‘Maryland Politics’ blog, Bob Ehrlich told reporters that if he loses Tuesday it will bring an end to his political career. “It would be very difficult to imagine” making another political run, said Bob.

Of course, Ehrlich was already lured out of a comfortable existence once to run this time, so perhaps this statement needs its grain of salt.

But if the polls are correct – even Ehrlich concedes he’s behind, although he claims the deficit is far less than the 14-point margin trumpeted by polls in both the Post and Baltimore Sun – and Ehrlich fails in this comeback bid, it means the Maryland Republican Party will be forced out of the comfort zone it’s enjoyed over much of the last decade by having Bob Ehrlich as a standardbearer.

(continued on my Examiner.com page…)

Taking advantage of the third party

Richard Davis only wishes he had this kind of exposure, but it comes from an unconventional source.

Alert reader Jackie Gregory of the Cecil County Patriots, a well-established TEA Party group, sent me a note about a full-color mailing she’d received.

On the front it reads, “Richard Davis may be an outsider, but his ideas for big cuts to government spending fit right in with the Tea Party.”

The back continues in a similar message, concluding with the question, “Richard Davis: Is he too conservative?” (Both .pdf files courtesy of Jackie Gregory.)

In fact, Richard Davis is the Libertarian candidate for the First District seat, and it can be argued that it was his presence on the ballot in 2008 that may have tipped the scale to Frank Kratovil – Davis took 8,873 votes in a contest where Kratovil prevailed by only 2,852. We’ll never know if most of them would have voted for Harris had Davis not been on the ballot, but chances are good Andy may have won. As you may recall Andy didn’t officially concede until the absentee count showed he was too far behind.

So who is the new-found benefactor of the local Libertarian? None other than Chris Van Hollen and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. They paid for this mailing and perhaps another – as Gregory points out:

The purpose of these ads is to confuse voters who are sympathetic to the TEA party, thereby boosting Kratovil’s chances at re-election.

Just look at how cleverly worded this example is. The mailer isn’t going to appeal to someone close to the middle of the political spectrum, but Democrats know as well as the rest of us that there’s a percentage of us who would look at this mailer and perhaps agree that Davis isn’t too conservative without knowing the entirety of his platform. All Kratovil needs to do is peel that small percentage of the vote away to win again.

However, the Maryland Libertarian Party rightfully called Kratovil and his inside-the-Beltway handlers out too:

Recently, a targeted mailing was sent out with a comparison between Dr. (Richard) Davis and one of his opponents, Dr. Andy Harris the Republican Candidate for Congress in the First District. The flyer does not endorse or call for one to vote either way, it just states the positions of the two candidates on a few issues.

However, neither the Maryland Libertarian Party nor Dr. Davis’ campaign had any involvement or prior knowledge of this mailing and both entities do not support, encourage or endorse this type of activity.

The only items that Dr. Davis has incurred for his campaign have come out of his own “pocket” for gas and a few brochures. He has accepted two in-kind contributions, one for the purchase of the domain for his website, www.davis4congress.com and another for video production for the internet on some key issues, both from Muir Boda.

The only expenditure that The Libertarian Party of Maryland has put towards his campaign is that of a radio ad that has included all 7 Libertarian Congressional Candidates in Maryland. This was paid out our FEC account, approved by the Executive Board and the Central Committee of the Maryland Libertarian Party and has the proper authority line in the message.

The Maryland Libertarian Party is proud of the campaign that Dr. Davis has run in this election and we will not stand idly by when his integrity is questioned.

To answer the question, Muir Boda handles media for the MLP.

Jackie also adds anecdotal evidence why this tactic may be employed by Kratovil and his special interest buddies:

This is being done all across the country in an attempt to take votes away from conservative candidates who are in close competition with their Democratic counterparts.  Recently, a poll in our district was conducted which showed high favorability ratings of the TEA party among likely voters.  When I was doorknocking a couple of weeks ago, one thing that struck me was the overwhelmingly positive response I received when we mentioned the TEA party.  For every one of us that actually stays directly involved or connected to the TEA party, there are several others who sympathize with the movement and watch from a distance.  This mailer is directed at those people and it’s goal is to siphon votes away from Andy Harris and give them to the Libertarian candidate; if successful, we will end up with 2 more years of Frank Kratovil. 

Obviously there are a certain number of people who agree with what Richard Davis has to say, and others may have voted for him last time around as a protest to the supposedly abrasive campaign Andy Harris ran in the 2008 primary. 

This is an example of the conundrum which has faced TEA Party activists across the country when the idea of a third party is discussed – in this case a legitimate third party spoiler could help keep a liberal in Congress. Elsewhere Democrats have run shadow candidates under the TEA Party banner in hopes of eroding support of true conservative candidates and maintaining their hold on power. Even a liberal bastion like the New York Times admits this.

But a vote for Davis is a vote for Kratovil. I have all the respect in the world for the Libertarian Party and agree with them on a number of issues; however, that is the political reality we live with here.

I’m sure the statist status quo in Washington sent this out to the Shore figuring us uneducated hicks in the sticks would fall for the ruse. In fact, I found the wording of the piece rather condescending and at best a backhanded complement to the candidate it’s supposed to help.

Frank Kratovil fooled us once in 2008 by protraying himself as an “independent”, shame on him. If he fools us again in 2010, it’s shame on us.

54-40…so fight!

October 26, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on 54-40…so fight! 

Yes, I reach back into the realm of long-forgotten campaign slogans (embellishing one used by President James K. Polk in 1844) because it’s the result of a so-called poll out from the Washington Post. According to their poll, Bob Ehrlich trails Martin O’Malley by that very 54-40 margin. It reflects a similarly flawed Baltimore Sun poll which has the former governor down 52-38.

I don’t believe these polls for a second, and this political observer explains why.

But despite the fact we conservatives have a less than inspiring choice for governor, don’t let these papers fool you into staying home for this election. It’s an age-old attempt to disillusion the conservative voters, and even some so-called conservative pundits like Michael Gerson try to convince us “the wave has crested.” It’s only crested if we believe it is so.

Yet there are signs this frustration has taken hold on a statewide level. Republicans were supposed to be flocking to the polls and couldn’t wait for November 2. But as of this morning 3.09% of Democrats have participated in early voting compared to 2.82% of Republicans and just 1.42% of unaffiliated voters. (On the bright side, the Constitution Party leads with 3.63% participation – too bad they only have 606 voters registered as such statewide.)

But locally the news is better. In seven of the nine Eastern Shore counties the GOP is indeed ahead in early voting, and Queen Anne’s County there’s virtually a tie. (Caroline County is the lone holdout, although the margin in the Democrats’ favor is fairly small.) Maybe it’s because we’re mostly outside the orbit of the Baltimore-Washington media axis, but there seems to be more of that trademark GOP excitement here.

And that’s important because we have local races which need to be won. With strong candidates across the board, we have the opportunity to make the Eastern Shore delegation to the General Assembly entirely Republican – in fact, I recommend it. Why vote for candidates who talk like they’re conservative and pro-business every four years when you can have the 24/7/365 real thing?

If Martin O’Malley wins, we need people in the General Assembly who will tell him to go pound sand with his sure-to-come tax increases, kowtowing to the Obama agenda, and embrace of illegal immigrants as “new Americans.”

Since we’re going to be stuck with Obama for the next two years, we need Congressmen and Senators to place his statist ambitions in check by defunding those things he held dear like Obamacare and the remaining slush fund stimulus while paring away the bureaucratic red tape.

It’s all within reach, and we can make a difference. Let the overconfident I-95 corridor Democrats stay home – we need to fight for what is right in Maryland.

WCRC meeting – October 2010

October 25, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Personal stuff, Politics · Comments Off on WCRC meeting – October 2010 

For the Wicomico County Republican Club, the 2007-2010 election cycle came to an end tonight; it was the final scheduled meeting before the all-important local and state elections.

As always we led off with the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. It was then announced that two of our three featured speakers could not attend due to a conflict of one sort or another – among the two at-large County Council hopefuls Bob Culver was booked for another event and for Matt Holloway his farming had to take precedence. This left our candidate for County Executive Joe Ollinger as the lone scheduled speaker.

So we heard our treasurer’s report, which brought up a few questions about the club’s expenditures – you may have heard some of them if you listen to local radio. Much of the rest went to various candidates.

Once we reviewed the minutes from September’s meeting it was time to hear from Joe.

After joking that he really didn’t need to speak because he had the votes in the room sewn up, Joe wanted to make sure everyone checked out his video. He even had cards made which simply repeated the website his video could be found at. But rather than pass out a number of cards, I’ll just go a step further.

So far Joe’s had “great feedback” on the video and he’s been out campaigning “where the most people are.” Dustin Mills noted later that he sees Joe everywhere he goes on the campaign trail here in Wicomico County. Another video Joe pointed to was one done by the Daily Times, a 30-minute show where he answered a number of questions from the editorial staff.

However, aside from the “very positive” feedback he gets, Joe isn’t sure how the campaign is going. Ollinger mentioned the point-counterpoint featured in Sunday’s Daily Times, and blasted opponent Rick Pollitt for “lack(ing) any vision whatsoever…(he) can’t see the possibilities.” Yet Joe’s radio advertisements are quite positive, encouraging everyone to get out and vote. Joe also related that a debate between him and Pollitt is all but ruled out.

Some of the questions Joe answered regarded changes in procedure at the county’s landfill. The questioner wanted to know about converting the large amount of cellulose brought there into alcohol and allowing people to claim usable items tossed out via a licensing system of some sort. Ollinger said they sounded like good ideas which could merit further study.

He also answered a question about the county’s public information officer – “Jim Fineran won’t be there” in January should Joe win. In addition, Ollinger is considering searching for a new county administrator once the FY2012 budgetary process is complete.

Other observations Joe made were that the campaign was a “very enjoyable experience,” and that he’s “become a far bigger fan of the firemen” since he’s spoken with so many in the county and learned about their jobs. He also opined that County Council could learn a lot from some of the smaller municipalities.

Turning back to club business and reports, it was announced that the “Fire Pelosi” bus tour would be in Salisbury Friday morning at 9:30 at the Victory Center (the former Hollywood Video adjacent to SU.) Not only will it feature RNC Chair Michael Steele but also Bob Ehrlich and Andy Harris as well.

Dustin Mills gave the Lower Shore Young Republican report, which was simple: phone banking each Wednesday night and “doing everything we can” for candidates.

A poll watching report was given by Greg Belcher, who reported “a couple mild successes” in keeping poll workers in line. Mainly they get in the habit of asking leading questions when they’re not supposed to. “The Democrats are pretty desperate,” he added.

Giving his final Central Committee report, the outgoing Chair John Bartkovich thanked the WCRC for the support they’ve given over his 12 year tenure. He predicted the campaigns will get dirtier, and candidates should respond immediately.

Bartkovich also announced the Central Committee would be airing radio ads this week, and chided Jim Mathias in particular for his ads – “he sounds more conservative than I am.” (Just look at the record and you’ll see the real truth.) He also advised us to vote for the county issues and against the state ones, and concluded, “we’ve had a good cycle (and) good candidates who work hard.”

“I’m going out on top,” said John.

Speaking on his campaign, Dustin Mills also thanked those in attendance and said as well that “it’s been a fantastic ride.” Hinting that Rudy Cane would be a lame duck if he wins because he’s considering this his last term, Dustin said of the incumbent “he’s not good enough” for the district. (I say we should retire Cane now – why wait?)

Gail Bartkovich thanked us for our support as well, and noted the comprehensive plan and zoning were two key upcoming issues.

Bill Smith of the Orphan’s Court again plugged his two Democratic cohorts, they “deserve to be reelected.” (He can do that as the lone Republican standing for the three spots.)

We also received thanks via letter from Matt Holloway, Addie Eckardt, Andy Harris, Bob Caldwell, and Rich Colburn for the club’s contribution to their efforts.

Some final reports came from Daryl Ann Dunigan, who reminded the group about phone banking and door-to-door efforts from headquarters; Dave Parker regarding Wednesday’s AFP meeting, and Woody Willing, who wondered why more GOP candidates weren’t campaigning at the early voting site.

Finally, the next meeting will be November 22. Most likely it will be a fairly short meeting to help plan the Christmas Party and analyze how the election went. It will also feature a new presenter of the Central Committee report.

Pusey receives key business group endorsement

October 24, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism, Wicomico County Examiner · Comments Off on Pusey receives key business group endorsement 

One of several local candidates to score 100 percent on the Maryland Business for Responsive Government questionnaire, Marty Pusey was proud to announce her endorsement from the group. As they wrote, “your election to the state legislature will provide a much needed commitment to improving Maryland’s business climate.” Their criteria of having both a good score on the questionnaire and a solid business background placed Pusey in the position to garner the group’s support. 

(continued on my Examiner.com page…)

Obviously I think this is a big deal but in looking at the questions I would have only scored 92 percent. I disagree with their position on eminent domain for economic development purposes because as I interpreted it they’re okay with taking private property from one or more landowners who aren’t adding much to the tax base (for example, a neighborhood of modest single-family homes) just to seize it for the benefit of another favored private interest who will add more to the tax base. This was the basis of the 2005 Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision.

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