Perhaps we were a bit too hasty in assuming Pat will run for the U.S. Senate – a lot depends on what his district looks like after Martin O’Malley and his cronies get through with it. At least that’s what he’s saying now:
As you may know, I have been testing the waters for a possible campaign against Dutch Ruppersberger for a seat in the 2nd Congressional District. The Second District is a difficult challenge and an uphill fight for a Republican. However, polling results and reaction from the voters during the last 6 months, including a powerful show of support in the annual popular July 4th Dundalk parade indicate my chances are good. Radio and television exposure over many years and support for issues such as opposition to illegal immigration have provided me with high name recognition and voter approval.
Despite these advantages, that district still remains a challenge. Of course, the re-districting and the new district will not be revealed until October. At that time, if the 2nd Congressional District transforms from ‘uphill to impossible,’ my personal decision will become clear. It will not make any sense to ask family, friends, and supporters to engage in a campaign that cannot be won. That will be a choice forced upon me by political powers over which I have no influence or control.
My decision to consider a run for Congress is based on two simple conclusions: 1) Washington is a mess. 2) I believe I can help make a difference. My top priority is to serve in Washington as a representative of the people. After much thought and consultations with others, I have decided that if the 2nd Congressional District is gerrymandered rendering it impossible to win, I will take a serious look at seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat in Maryland.
There is very little difference between Dutch Ruppersberger and Ben Cardin. They are liberal political twins and Obama clones. My vision for America is completely different than their tax and spend big government agenda.
I recognize that my critics will falsely charge that this plan may be indecisive. But, as I clearly stated before, my desire is to serve the people in Washington to help clean up the mess and make a difference. It does not matter whether that service is in the Senate or the House of Representatives. These are unsettling times where the pathway is not always clear. Unfortunately, the decisions that we make are overly controlled by outside forces. During the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to conduct my vigorous exploratory campaign. It is my desire to inform my supporters and colleagues about what may occur in the future. It is still early in the campaign season and I would ask everyone to be patient and wait until it is clear regarding everyone’s intentions. Thank you for your consideration and understanding.
Fortunately for Pat, he can also maintain his radio show as long as he’s not a declared candidate, and that message resonates well beyond the confines of the Second Congressional District. It means he can wage at least a somewhat effective statewide campaign while the redistricting process is at work. (Not to mention he’s running ‘from cover’ in either case since he wouldn’t have to stand for election in his Delegate seat until 2014.)
Perhaps the better question, though, is why not make a decision now? Waiting on the results of redistricting does convey that indecisiveness Pat’s critics will feast on. But we can deduce from the message that Pat is running for some federal office. We also know he has a name recognition advantage over most other members of the House of Delegates thanks to both his radio show and work on certain key issues, and can indeed believe that there may be radical changes in the makeup of every one of Maryland’s Congressional districts because the Democrats are running the show and don’t really care about anything but maintaining political power.
So in reading this missive it appears McDonough’s preference would be to run for the Second District seat and he’s using a Senate bid as a fallback option. That may indeed be the case, but, since I like to think an election or two ahead, there’s a scenario which argues instead that he’s going statewide.
Obviously if Pat runs for and wins a U.S. Senate seat, he’s in a good position for the next six years and the country would gain a conservative voice from one of the most unlikely places. But if he takes the shot for Cardin’s Senate seat and loses, well, we all lose. But McDonough still would have built a statewide campaign organization and it could prove useful in 2014 since that election presents the opportunity of an open Governor’s seat. Remember, Pat flirted with the idea in 2010 but chose not to challenge Bob Ehrlich.
(Of course, winning the Governor’s seat after serving in Congress from the Second District worked for Bob, but that was nearly a decade ago – way past a political lifetime in this day and age.)
So McDonough remains a ‘theoretical’ candidate for the U.S. Senate; in reality just three GOP candidates have filed with the FEC (Daniel Bongino, William Capps, and Corrogan Vaughn) while Capps and Rick Hoover are on the ballot at this early stage. It is presumed from other sources that Robert Broadus and Eric Wargotz are in the race as well, although we await a formal announcement from 2010 GOP nominee Wargotz.
In the end we should have between 7 and 10 enter the U.S. Senate race on the Republican side, if past history is a guide. If McDonough does decide to jump in this fall then we’ve reached the lucky seven mark with just a few weeks to go before the filing deadline. Everyone has until January 11 to make up their minds.