The votes are finally cast, and the filings nigh

And it’s about time. It will be interesting to see as the evening wears on whether any of the candidates who are currently in will exit the field after today’s New Hampshire primary.

But closer to home, we found out that both parties are now represented in all eight Congressional districts, so no incumbent gets a free ride in November. Andy Harris filed today to retain his First District seat, while Republican Charles Shepherd of Gaithersburg filed to run in the Fourth Congressional District to fill out the puzzle. As of now, here’s the breakdown of how many are in each Congressional primary:

  • First District: 1 Republican, 2 Democrats
  • Second District: 4 Republicans, 1 Democrat
  • Third District: 4 Republicans, 2 Democrats
  • Fourth District: 1 Republican, 3 Democrats
  • Fifth District: 3 Republicans, 2 Democrats
  • Sixth District: 7 Republicans, 4 Democrats
  • Seventh District: 3 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and 1 unaffiliated (who is automatically advanced to the General Election in November)
  • Eighth District: 2 Republicans, 2 Democrats, and 1 Green Party (also automatically on November’s ballot if nominated by the Green Party.)
  • U.S. Senate: 10 Republicans, 9 Democrats

At this point, with a day and a half to go, the only two incumbents to not have primary opposition are Andy Harris in the First District and Dutch Ruppersberger in the Second.

Another interesting item is the number of General Assembly members now running:

  • State Senator Nancy Jacobs is running for the Second District Congressional seat.
  • Delegate Tony O’Donnell seeks the Fifth District Congressional seat.
  • The Sixth District race is a no-holds-barred firefight with representatives from both General Assembly chambers: Delegate Kathy Afzali jumped in today to join Senators Rob Garagiola and David Brinkley.
  • The U.S. Senate race now officially features State Senator C. Anthony Muse, who also filed today.

We also have yet to hear from Delegate Pat McDonough, who made overtures to both the Second District Congressional and U.S. Senate races over the past year. But there’s still this afternoon and all day tomorrow; however, it’s more likely any member of the General Assembly won’t wait until the last minute because the 2012 session commences tomorrow as well. Former Senator and current Maryland GOP Chair Alex Mooney hasn’t filed as of this writing, either.

I’ll update this post as events warrant in both New Hampshire and Maryland.

Update #1: As of late this evening, this is how the Maryland Republican Presidential primary ballot will shape up:

  • Newt Gingrich
  • Jon Huntsman
  • Fred Karger
  • Ron Paul
  • Rick Perry
  • Buddy Roemer
  • Mitt Romney
  • Rick Santorum

Not surprisingly, Barack Obama is the lone Democrat on the ballot. All 9 are shown as having filed today.

And by the way, Eric Wargotz IS running – to be a delegate to the national Republican convention from the First District. He has not added his name to the list for U.S. Senate, however.

With just under 50% of the vote in, Mitt Romney was long since called as the winner in New Hampshire. Not surprisingly, he’s strongest in the two counties (Hillsborough and Rockingham) which are closest to the Boston area. Ron Paul is second, but runs closest to Romney in Cheshire County in the southwest corner of the state and Coos County, which is pretty much the northern third of the state.

Update #2: According to the Washington Post, Alex Mooney is taking a pass on the Sixth District race and endorsing Roscoe Bartlett.

So here’s my questions: one, will he again assume the leadership mantle of the Maryland Republican Party? (Hey, I’m just glad I don’t have to go to a special convention just to pick a new chair.)

Second, and more importantly, what’s he going to do with the $100,000 or so he raised? Can he give it to the MDGOP? I know state candidates have the ability to do so when they close out their campaigns, but I don’t know about federal law.

Early to rise

As the calendar turns to 2012 and the political calendar becomes focused on the presidential primary, over the weekend we had our first prospective 2013 Salisbury City candidate announce the possibility he would run.

That’s right – Adam Roop announced in January, 2012 for an election to be held in April, 2013. Roop made his statement before perhaps a dozen supporters according to a Daily Times story by Jennifer Shutt. The story presumes he will be running for mayor, but Roop made no firm commitment to a particular office. Bear in mind, however, that based on where Roop resides he would either have to challenge Jim Ireton to become the new mayor or District 2 Council member Debbie Campbell, whose term also expires in 2013. Neither Ireton nor Campbell have confirmed their desire for another term at this time.

As a point of comparison, I did a little research and found that Ireton announced his mayoral bid in November 2008, just five months before the election. In that 2009 race, Jim won a four-person primary over then-City Council Vice-President Gary Comegys, former City Council member Bob Caldwell, and 2005 candidate Mike Della Penna before again defeating Comegys in the general election. Out of that field, Comegys declined to run for re-election in 2011 due to illness, Caldwell was elected to County Council in 2010 before his death in October 2011, and Della Penna has finished well out of the money in both previous runs. In short, the time is indeed ripe for new contenders in the political arena.

But will announcing so early create a problem? There’s no question Adam Roop has a little bit of name recognition based on his real estate ventures, but he’s not nearly as well known for his community involvement – it’s a shortcoming he addressed in his statements. And if elected, Roop would be the youngest mayor Salisbury’s had in some time as he won’t turn 30 until June of 2013. By comparison, Jim Ireton will be 43 years of age by the 2013 election – still, that’s younger than any member of Salisbury’s City Council, where the current roster ranges in age from 46 to 62.

In my observation, Roop may have been better served by getting involved more in the community first before making an announcement. Certainly there is some lead time required in plotting a political campaign against an incumbent officeseeker but running for office is far more than putting together an attractive logo and hosting a gathering for would-be supporters. Yes, it’s good to know that one of those who may be running for re-election in 2013 will not go unopposed, but there’s such a thing as looking too eager to serve.

The Maryland Model (part three)

This will be the final part of a three-part series; in case you’re getting caught up here are parts one and two.

In truth, though, this part won’t be based strictly on the Maryland Model. It’s actually going to be a critique of a presentation I ran across, one which is presumably some sort of PowerPoint presentation translated to Scribed for the purposes of disseminating. Called Become a Force Multiplier: 5 Simple Tasks for American Activists, it addresses many of the issues we will face in 2012 with a particular focus on Big Labor’s aspect. (Not surprisingly, since it’s done by LaborUnionReport.com.) More importantly, they note that:

Several of the tactics and action models described herein have been adapted from models used by unions and other Left-wing groups. In other words, the Left is already using these models, you need to as well.

Fight fire with fire, as it is said.

Continue reading “The Maryland Model (part three)”

A second look before he leaps?

Well, we can’t count Eric Wargotz out can we?

In a move which both piques interest and certainly cheers a certain segment of the Maryland Republican Party, the aforenentioned 2010 GOP Senate candidate is reportedly taking a “second look” at the race, according to the Baltimore Sun and other blog reports. As examples, David Moon at Maryland Juice has the port side view on this while Richard Cross, who briefly worked with the 2010 Wargotz effort, also weighs in at Cross Purposes.

Obviously, this could be much ado about nothing. For one thing, there are only four days before the filing deadline, and while Eric likely has a portion of his team in place and certainly hasn’t closed out his campaign accounts from 2010 he’s already facing a field with some established frontrunners and an uphill battle to secure the same proportion of the primary vote he received two years ago.

But it appears Eric’s logic regarding a primary battle is sound to a certain extent – obviously Ben Cardin has a serious opponent. Yet on the other hand, it appears the Maryland Democratic Party is going all in for Cardin despite their own bylaws prohibiting the practice. While our state is perceived as a safely Democratic state, anything is possible and Democrats have to protect the seats they have in the Senate, bylaws be damned.

And there’s always the “testing the waters” theory: perhaps this trial balloon has been launched to see what sort of buzz is generated by the possibility of a late Wargotz entry. Obviously it’s enough to make me write something during an NFL playoff game, and perhaps there is a chance that disillusioned minority Democrats here in Maryland – who will surely turn out to vote for Barack Obama – make that vote and then cast a ballot for the Republican to punish Ben Cardin for running against one of their own. But I only see that as adding 2 to 5 percent to the total of the eventual GOP nominee, and whoever runs needs to make up the 10-point deficit Michael Steele had in the 2006 race.

Certainly Eric is free to toss his hat into the ring, as I always think the more primary choices I have the better. But no one is going to hand him the GOP nomination and many of the factors which led him to initially skip the 2012 contest will remain in place regardless of how the Democratic race goes. My thinking at the moment is that C. Anthony Muse has a steep climb in order to beat Ben Cardin, even without the state and national Democrats putting their thumbs on the scale. Sometimes the first gut instinct is the best one.

Selling minority voters down the river

There’s an interesting dynamic shaping up in the U.S. Senate race on the Democratic side. It seems the message being presented to minority voters is one of “we want your votes for our side every other November, but in this case we want you to vote for the white guy – we know what’s best for you.”

Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland pointed out that the Maryland Democratic Party tweeted their support of Senator Ben Cardin through this video featuring Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, despite the fact that State Senator C. Anthony Muse is also in the race (as are a host of other, mostly perennial candidates.) Obviously they don’t have something like Rule 11 in the Maryland Democratic Party. (Actually, according to Brian, yes they do.)

So where are the catcalls for Baker as an “Uncle Tom” or “Oreo”? He’s supporting the white guy over a qualified black candidate from his own county who’s biggest claim to fame of late was objecting to the Congressional redistricting map because it didn’t do enough for minorities.

Continue reading “Selling minority voters down the river”

Nasty infighting in the Second

So State Senator Nancy Jacobs followed through on what she said she would do and announced this week she would run for the Second Congressional District seat currently held by Dutch Ruppersberger, a politician who she claims “left for Washington (and) became Washington.” Indeed, she has some interesting endorsements already.

But there’s one Republican who’s less than thrilled. According to an article in the Towson Patch, Jacobs is being called a “puppet candidate” by Delegate Pat McDonough. Pat claims that Jacobs is only running at the behest of First District Congressman Andy Harris, saying, “(Jacobs is) a puppet for Harris.”

While McDonough is also making news by spearheading the campaign to overturn the Maryland DREAM Act, last summer he had floated the idea of seeking the Second Congressional District seat himself, even hosting a fundraiser with 2010 Delaware U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell. Just a few weeks later, he turned on a dime and flirted with the idea of instead running for the U.S. Senate. In this case, McDonough speaks like a fellow Congressional candidate, but I daresay he’s not making any friends among area Republicans by eschewing a pair of races then disparaging one of the hopefuls he has to work with in the Maryland General Assembly. Obviously we’ll know for sure next week if Pat will follow through on one of his original 2012 plans or stay with the DREAM Act fight.

But even if Delegate McDonough is right and Harris does have something to do with Nancy’s entry into the race, that’s a good job of candidate recruitment more Republicans should be following. Who has Pat McDonough brought into the fold?

Just like in the Sixth Congressional District, I don’t have a dog in this fight. But Nancy does introduce herself to new voters reasonably well:

Last year Nancy scored an impressive 92 on the monoblogue Accountability Project, earning the distinction of being a Legislative All-Star for the first time. She has a lifetime (since 2007) rating of 77, which puts her about in the middle of the GOP Senate pack. Ironically, McDonough has a lifetime rating of 78 and was a Legislative All-Star in 2009, meaning they’re fairly similar in political style.

But it’s clear which one has the bull in the china shop mentality.

Bachmann’s turn is over (but Perry’s isn’t after all)

Well, it was fun while it lasted. The monoblogue kiss of death has claimed another victim, Michele Bachmann.

After gamely trying to convince herself and others the fight wasn’t over last night, apparently she slept on it and “decided to stand aside” this morning. This was the statement on her website:

I will be forever grateful to Iowa and its people for launching us on this path with our victory in the Iowa Straw Poll. While I will not be continuing in this race, my faith in the Lord God Almighty, this country, in our republic, has been strengthened. As I have traveled around Iowa, and the country, I have seen the very best in America, our people. And I will always believe in the greatness of them and the greatness of our God.

And, of course, I am deeply grateful to our entire campaign team, here in Iowa, in South Carolina and everywhere. I have no regrets. We never compromised our principles and we can leave this race knowing that we ran it with integrity and that we made an important contribution.

Thank you, God Bless you.

At this time, she hasn’t made an endorsement but presumably her decision was hastened in part by the necessity to begin her campaign to retain her Congressional seat – a campaign which has already drawn her GOP opposition and perhaps may place her in another Congressional district, as the DFL (their version of the Democratic Party) redistricting plan does. She also remains as the titular head of the TEA Party Caucus.

So the old adage that there are only three tickets out of Iowa may yet prove almost true, as the list of contenders gets whittled down to six: Newt Gingrich (4th in Iowa), Jon Huntsman (7th, but did not campaign there), Ron Paul (3rd in Iowa), Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum. (The latter two essentially tied for first.) Fifth-place finisher Rick Perry was going to “reassess” his campaign, but perhaps Bachmann’s decision allowed him to stay in the hunt.

This hasn’t been much of a campaign for conservatives. Many would have liked to see Sarah Palin run, while others pined for a TEA Party favorite like Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana. Other names tossed around were Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Allen West of Florida, and Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, all reliably conservative.

But many conservatives coalesced around the lesser-known Herman Cain until a series of unfounded allegations of marital misconduct and sexual harassment knocked him out of the race. Others have been in the Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann camps early on and stayed during the frequent ups and downs.

Now we have fewer but certainly not better choices: Mitt Romney will forever have the albatross of ushering in the precursor to Obamacare in Massachusetts and has the perception of being the “establishment” choice in an era of anti-establishmentism. (Come on, he’s been endorsed by John McCain – how much more of a milquetoast, reach across the aisle pander can one get?) Likewise, Newt Gingrich is the consummate Beltway insider who never really left Washington once he left the House.

Rick Santorum is the darling of the social conservative group – and that’s an integral part of our cause. But Rick won’t be the fiscal conservative we need and hasn’t always shown fealty to the cause of limited government – one can ask Pat Toomey about that. (Yet for everything Santorum has said he seems to have a manner of parsing his words later. I call it saying what he thinks will get him elected.)

Jon Huntsman started out turning his back to the TEA Party movement and his idea that anthropogenic climate change is real is a disqualifier. And then there’s Ron Paul. If being President didn’t involve a lick of foreign affairs he would be my guy, but the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

And while Perry is back in, will this post-Iowa misstep work the same as John McCain’s late suspension of 2008 campaign efforts in order to address the economic crisis? After that he never recovered in the polls.

That’s all folks. That’s what we now have to choose from, unless there’s somehow a brokered convention and some white knight rides in to save us from ourselves. Certainly any of the above would be an improvement over the current occupant of the Oval Office, but I somehow get the gnawing feeling that we’re leaving a huge missed opportunity here.

But Rome wasn’t built in a day, either, and to undo nearly 100 years of damage to the Republic will take more than four. The trick is just getting started on the task.

The Maryland Model (part two)

In part one I related the Maryland Model in its current state to the 2012 campaign, particularly when considering the battle to repeal the in-state tuition for illegal aliens passed last year by the General Assembly. The bill was petitioned to referendum as opponents turned the trick for the first time in over twenty years in Maryland.

As you should recall, I distilled the idea behind the Colorado Model liberal Democrats used to take over that state into four simpler M words: money, message, media, and mobilization. In this part I assess the overall shape conservatives here in Maryland exist in regarding these four issues – and we definitely need to do some work!

Continue reading “The Maryland Model (part two)”

Is Perry done?

I was just listening to Rick Perry’s concession speech, and he announced he was returning to Texas to “reassess” his campaign. Well, I think his reassessment is going to find him leaving the field because he finished fifth with 10 percent – I was under the impression he was going to South Carolina to campaign.

But like Tim Pawlenty before him, he may have decided that if he can’t spend scads of money and win Iowa, he’s not going to win anywhere – despite the fact that, unlike Pawlenty, Rick did manage to finish ahead of Michele Bachmann.

Yet Bachmann is planning on staying in despite the paltry 5% or so she received. Well, she could conceivably get a chunk of those Perry votes but I sort of doubt it given the Gardasil controversy.

So let’s say Perry is out. I suspect that his voters would most likely go to Newt Gingrich and here’s why: they’re both plain-spoken Southerners who have a relatively pragmatic approach to the issues. Mitt Romney won’t benefit because he’s pretty much plateaued at his 25% support ceiling and Rick Santorum is more of a social conservative – again, it goes back to the Gardasil question. I think Ron Paul has also hit his ceiling of support as well, particularly when it’s revealed that independents and renegade Democrats bolstered his Iowa totals. Once we get to closed primary states that advantage won’t be there.

There you have it: a simple Iowa caucus postmortem. I’m sort of sorry to see Perry go since he was the top of my second tier of candidates.

Update: Maybe Bachmann will be out. Bummer.

A Senate endorsement closer to home

I think it’s her position as the second-ranking Republican in the Maryland House of Delegates that explains this big deal.

“Dan Bongino is an excellent example of the next generation of leaders who understand that the ways of the past will not lead us to a better future,” said Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio. “Electing Dan Bongino to the U.S. Senate is paramount to changing the mindset and culture in Washington.”

In kind, Bongino responded:

“I am honored by the Minority Whip’s endorsement. Delegate Haddaway-Riccio represents a new generation of leaders in our state who refuse to allow Maryland to fall to the wayside, while the powerful establishment serves the needs of special interests over the needs of the people,” said Bongino. “Jeannie and I firmly believe that the future for Maryland lies in the hands of those willing to change the way the federal and state governments operate and respond to the very people it serves.”

And in case you forgot:

Serving since 2003, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio began her career as one of the youngest members of the Maryland House of Delegates and now serves as its Minority Whip. As a small business owner and Eastern Shore native, Jeannie works hard for her constituents, focusing on the economy, education, and the environment. Her and her husband, Joseph, reside in Talbot County with their dog Max.

I remember when it was just Jeannie Haddaway…

Setting aside the endorsement for the moment, does anyone else sense that bigger things are awaiting Jeannie in 2014? I found it interesting that she gave the GOP response to Governor O’Malley’s State of the State address last year as opposed to many other longtime party leaders. Perhaps she’s being portrayed as the softer side of the Maryland Republican Party since her voting record is pretty much middle-of-the-pack between conservative and moderate.

It’s also worthy of noting that Bongino and Haddaway-Riccio are fairly contemporary in terms of age – Bongino is 37 and Jeannie will turn 35 later this year. But eight years into a career in the House of Delegates, Haddaway-Riccio definitely has the experience required to make a change if she desires to.

As is usually the case with endorsements, they’re sort of like trophies on the wall – nice to look at but not much in the way of usefulness. However, if Bongino picks up a percent or two in the 37th District that could be helpful in both April and November. If I were to make a prediction right now, I would expect the Senate primary to be a repeat of the 2010 version, which saw the winner come in with less than 40 percent of the vote – only the names have been changed for some of the participants.

Something I forgot about

You can blame me for reopening old wounds in this part of the world, but in doing a little bit of research for the next article in my Maryland Model series I came across a 2008 post I did in the days before that year’s primary election, which was held in February. It seems that 2012 candidates Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich indeed had something in common, but this is what I remarked in my post from February 7, 2008:

I also caught the usual (then-Rep. Wayne) Gilchrest biweekly interview with Bill Reddish on the AM Salisbury radio program this morning. Wayne cited one of the more unusual endorsements he’s gotten this morning, claiming that he had the endorsement of Ron Paul. That may be big news to Joe Arminio, who announced back in December he was running on the Ron Paul “ticket.”

If you read down through the comments (or here) I mention that Gingrich also endorsed Gilchrest, and he held a fundraiser for Wayne as well.

Of course, after the 2008 primary election was over and Joe Arminio was blown away in his Congressional bid, he questioned why he did so much worse than Ron Paul in the First District. Obviously I have no idea why Arminio would believe he was “endorsed” by Ron Paul, but it’s interesting that both these 2012 contenders have their support for a very moderate Republican – who went on to endorse the Democrat in the race and revealed later he’d voted for a Democrat two years earlier, in 2006 – as a commonality.

And Andy Harris supports Gingrich now. I’m not sure quite what that says about Andy Harris, but it is what it is.

The Maryland Model (part one)

Over the holidays I did a little bit of light reading, and while I was doing so it occurred to me that the General Assembly session is sneaking up on us rather quickly. In 2011 that session set the scene for what turned out to be one of our side’s rare successes in Maryland, the petition drive to bring the in-state tuition law for illegal aliens to referendum later this year. It appears that will be on the ballot since CASA de Maryland and other pro-illegal groups are dropping the challenge to the petition signatures and narrowing their focus to whether the referendum itself is legal while simultaneously fundraising to sustain the law at the ballot box.

That fundraising: $10 million. What that means: carpet-bombing the media with images of poor, purportedly law-abiding and successful immigrant families being denied a chance at the American Dream due to racist TEA Partiers who hate all those who look different than they do. Don’t believe me? Just watch.

And this nicely leads me into my main points of this post, which will be the first of a multipart series on what I’m calling the Maryland Model. You see, part of my reading over the holidays was this RedState article on what is called the Colorado Model, which led me to read the original post on this strategy from the Weekly Standard back in 2008. Read those articles (I’ll wait for you) then take a look at how the CASA de Maryland folks are fighting the will of the people here in the Free State.

While they have seven pieces to the puzzle in the RedState article, I’ve consolidated these to what I can call the 4 M’s: money, message, media, and mobilization.

Continue reading “The Maryland Model (part one)”