Splitting the vote
As I work on my CPAC recap for this evening, here’s some news on the Maryland GOP front.
Yesterday the odds-on favorite, Diana Waterman, received a huge break when Collins Bailey of Charles County decided to enter the fray. As Bailey states on his website:
I am running for this position because I want to grow and strengthen the Republican Party in Maryland. I want to elect more local, state, and national Republican candidates.
My campaign platform revolves around one number: 2014. We need to pick up Republican seats around the state of Maryland at every level in 2014.
As your Chairman, it is my job to immediately prepare the way for big Republican victories in 2014. I am ready and excited to do that.
If the name Collins Bailey sounds familiar, it’s because he’s been on a regional ballot twice. Collins has run for Congress in the Fifth District, losing to Charles Lollar in the 2010 primary but securing the 2008 nomination and losing to Steny Hoyer in the general with just 24% of the vote.
Yet the reason I applied the title to this post is that, if you consider Diana Waterman the “establishment” candidate since she’s running as the incumbent First Vice-Chair and has allegedly secured the blessing of most of her peers on the Executive Committee, the remaining vote will now be split into two smaller factions: the more libertarian pro-liberty movement, which would seem to coalesce around Bailey as their champion, and the reformer movement, typified by the cast of Red Maryland which Chair candidate Greg Kline represents, and having their own subset of voters. (Kline has also made his own unsuccessful bid for office, running for Delegate some years back.)
If neither budges from the race, or if more participants decide to enter, the odds of Waterman winning become even greater. If I were into conspiracy theories, I would think that it was almost as if someone was worried about Kline winning enough to convince Bailey to enter the race, perhaps with the promise of support for being First Vice-Chair – insofar as I’m aware, no one has officially thrown their hat into that ring because the First Vice-Chair vacancy only occurs if Waterman wins. Obviously Facebook campaign page ‘likes’ are a poor proxy for regular votes, but I find it interesting that Waterman only has 110 as of this writing, Kline right behind with 102, and Bailey 58 in less than 24 hours – surely some (like myself) ‘like’ all the pages since they want to hear from all three.
The last time the party had a similar situation in 2009, there was the consensus establishment candidate in Audrey Scott and just one alternate choice in the offbeat but earnest Daniel Vovak – Scott won in a landslide and carried all but one county (ours.) Perhaps it’s a sign that the party is more diverse after the TEA Party-influenced 2010 election, but the fact there are now three people interested in what will be more than a full term henceforth – in 2010 we changed our bylaws to allow state party Chairs only two-year terms beginning in 2014, to match the national party – may be a sign that the winner will have to herd cats as best he or she can before the 2014 campaign gets much farther along.