Well, I’m sitting here at the Doubletree Hotel in Annapolis having spoken with all the contenders for the crown, however briefly. Apparenly many are big fans but we’ll see how they feel after this post. Here’s the morning line as the racers enter their stalls (well, sort of…actually I’m getting ready for breakfast.) Previous odds are below.
- Mary Kane (3-1): She has the biggest suite and the most money. I’ve seen a lot of the “establishment” people wearing her red lapel stickers, and she was very pleasant to me when we spoke yesterday evening. Still, the question remains whether she has the amount of support to go all the way or will she fade going through the backstretch. It’s going to be a long morning for her.
- Alex Mooney (5-1): Having listened to Chris Rosenthal go through the financial state of the party at the Executive Committee meeting, surely many of those present will be receptive to Alex’s pitch and his lofty fundraising goals. But a lot of how he does depends on who is installed under him, and he may or may not have all the detail work down – only time will tell. There’s also the question of his future plans out there. He had the liveliest and most well-attended suite of the three I stood in, given size and location.
- William Campbell (10-1): 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. He’s become sort of a dark horse, but his independent streak and reputation as a newcomer will garner him some support – and you can’t beat his fiscal acumen. He’s not spent his money wining and dining would-be voters on hospitality suites and paraphrenalia, which could either boost his outsider image or relegate him to also-ran status.
- Sam Hale (10-1): The question for Sam is very simple: will the Maryland GOP go with a person who mainly receives his support from a number of TEA Party members who haven’t been involved in the MDGOP political process all that long. If the answer is yes, he beats the odds with a fairly captive audience. If not, he’s out after the first round of voting. Rural areas tend to support him more, but with that he bumps into the same support base that Alex Mooney has.
- Mike Esteve (20-1): He deftly answered questions last evening regarding the College Republicans’ endorsement of Bob Ehrlich over Brian Murphy, but the group seems to prefer experience over youth. It hurts Sam Hale but hurts Mike moreso. And not having a base of operations (but instead roving around between parties) seems to reduce his legitimacy moreso than it does Bill Campbell.
- The field (100-1): It’s just the five of them, and I believe we will have our winner from the group – no matter how excited or not the outside observers believe it is.
So there you have it, at least my strictly amateur prognostications. Later tonight I’ll let you know how it all shook out!