It’s beginning to look like there will be five candidates for Chair; at least that’s how many are actively campaigning at this time.
Today we had a quad-county Central Committee meeting (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester) and close to two dozen committee members were present. While we had no candidates visit us directly, we heard briefly from three candidates for Chair (Mary Kane, Alex Mooney, and William Campbell.) And while Mike Esteve and Sam Hale did not contact us directly, it’s by happenstance that I have received their answers to my questions and I have also gotten an advance copy of what Mary Kane is sending out to the rest of the state. Furthermore, I am told that Campbell will also be answering my questions in the next few days, so hopefully mid-week I can put together a debate-style presentation featuring at least four of the candidates.
One advantage of getting together a group as we had today was getting a real live sounding board for reactions, which helps in determining who is a favorite and who has less of a chance.
Previously I had placed the odds and race synopsis here; consider this post an update of that one.
Reposting the odds:
- Mary Kane (4-1): I spoke with her at length yesterday and she answered several of my questions. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of her platform is changing the Chair term to be two years, and I can’t say I disagree with that idea. But I still hear the perception that she’s too tied into the old guard which did little to improve the party over the last eight years since Bob Ehrlich was elected, and obviously as a previous member of his administration and running mate she’ll be part of that legacy. Still, she remains the favorite and having fewer people to contend with helps her.
- Alex Mooney (7-1): The factor affecting his rise most is his decision to go ahead and go for party Chair (although he would accept 1st Vice-Chair if he loses, and saying that he could be first out if he’s an also-ran on the first ballot, even if it’s not fourth or fifth place.) Yet if you look at party building strictly from a fundraising standpoint, Alex has a lot on his side as he was a rainmaker for state Republicans. Also, he is a known quantity to a number of supporters and his conservative stances on most issues (except perhaps illegal immigration) would bring him favor among movement conservatives. (His 88.49 term rating for the monoblogue Accountability Project placed him second in the State Senate, trailing only Congressman-elect Andy Harris.) His conversation today assuaged a lot of concerns about how much time he could devote to the job as well.
- William Campbell (8-1): I have heard a few rumblings that the state party was a little less than forthcoming with information he requested, so his effort has been more of a face-to-face one. Yet he seems to be impressing those he talks to, and his late-blooming campaign may be hitting its stride at the proper time. Since it’s highly unlikely anyone will secure a first-ballot win I still think Campbell could be a compromise choice when the time comes, or he could get the endorsement of one of the other also-rans to push him onward.
- Sam Hale (8-1): Certainly there are those in his corner, but the odds don’t improve for him as much as they do for fellow conservative Alex Mooney because Mooney attracts many in the same wing of the party Hale draws from – but with Alex accruing the added benefit of perceived fundraising ability. In addition, there are still a number of people skeptical that a man Hale’s age would have the connections necessary to build the party’s coffers. (By comparison, Mooney is 39, Kane 48, and Campbell 63.) Yet Hale has boundless energy and a background in grassroots organizing so you can’t count that out completely among the nearly half of Central Committee members who are new and may be new to politics.
- Mike Esteve (20-1): Consider the problem of age and experience that Hale faces and you get the reason Mike faces the longest odds, since he’s even younger. Granted, Esteve has some ability in convincing a voting population that he’s leadership material as the head of Maryland’s College Republicans, but the perception is that the CRs are minor-league while the game that’s being played at this level is the big leagues. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s nominated for a Vice-Chair position from the floor.
- The field (75-1): As always, we could have the darkest of horses being nominated from the floor. Daniel Vovak has written me (no, he’s not running) that there may be another candidate – Mike Phillips of Montgomery County – but Phillips may decide to run for one of the lesser positions as well. At this point, I would put Phillips among the ‘field.’
For reference, here were the previous odds so you can see how candidates have moved over the last week:
Original odds 11/30/10: Kane 5-1, Wargotz 8-1, Campbell 10-1, Andrew Langer 12-1 (withdrew), Hale 15-1, Amedori 18-1, Mooney 20-1, Esteve 25-1, field 50-1.
First revision 12/2/10: Kane 5-1, Eric Wargotz 7-1 (withdrew), Campbell 10-1, Hale 12-1, Amedori 15-1, Mooney 15-1, Esteve 20-1, field 75-1.
Second revision 12/3/10: Kane 4-1, Mooney 10-1, Campbell 12-1, Hale 12-1, Carmen Amedori (withdrew) 15-1, Esteve 20-1, field 75-1.
Of course, any new developments will be brought to you as I’m able to bring them to you. Watch for my questions and answers provided back to me to be posted around mid-week.