Mills gives thanks

November 10, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Mills gives thanks 

For a guy who was a first-time candidate against a 12-year incumbent, Dustin Mills ran a good race. He thanked his supporters yesterday.

Having taken the time to reflect upon the election, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support.  Although the election did not go quite as I would have liked, I am pleased with the effort put forth and I know that we worked hard.  However, nothing I did would have been possible without the support of many people.  They are too many to name, but they know who they are.  Without my team, and those who supported me, I would never have come close to getting as many votes as I did.  I also wanted to thank everyone who voted for me.  I know you believe in what I had to say and I only wish we could have done more.  Even though I did not win, I look forward to continuing the fight for what is right in Maryland.  I will continue to work hard to make Maryland better and I hope everyone will work with me.  I am humbled by your confidence in me and thank you for voting for me.  Let us continue to work hard and we will make Maryland a better place!

Dustin should get around 3,800 votes when all is said and done, and that’s not bad considering he was outraised this cycle by about a 4 to 1 ratio (not to mention Cane had about $50k to play with from before) and received no PAC money, unlike his opponent who got money from the SEIU ($1,000),  trial lawyers association ($500), and SEIU again ($1,000) among other groups which normally back incumbents regardless of party.

And he’s the kind of good, young conservative candidate the GOP will need in the coming years so it doesn’t seem like the loss is too discouraging to him – although I would have liked to see him break 40 percent as he did in Wicomico County where both live…it was the 25% in Dorchester that let him down.

We can only guess what redistricting may do to this district, but given the statement by Cane that this will be his last term Dustin is well-positioned to try it again in four years assuming he remains in the district once the Democrats are finished with it. (If Rudy is done, it will be interesting to see what he does with the $50k he has left.)

So I don’t see this as a goodbye, but just a breather. We didn’t pick Dustin as the top young Republican in Maryland 2 years ago to see him lie down.

Analogy

As the results of the 2010 election are placed into the book of history (remaining absentee voting counts notwithstanding) it’s obvious that the GOP received a smashing victory in most places with significant help from a vocal TEA Party movement.

But for almost every situation there is some kind of sports analogy, and this is no exception.

In 2001, the Carolina Panthers played well enough to win their first game of the season over the Minnesota Vikings. Obviously they were patting themselves on the back and figured that they had just as good of (or perhaps slightly better) chance of getting to the Super Bowl as the other 14 NFC teams (at the time.) But they lost their next game, and the next…until they lost 15 in a row to wrap up the season 1-15.

Undoubtedly it’s not the perfect analogy, but the lesson is that we can’t stop working hard for the cause of freedom based on the election results from a week ago. It’s only one victory in a long-term process.

Conservatives managed to win one house of Congress and control of a number of state legislatures (sadly, none in Maryland or Delaware.) It’s a victory we should be proud of but the other side is already laying the groundwork to make it our last victory, much like Carolina’s next opponent figured out the Panthers’ weaknesses and allowed the next fourteen opponents to see how they could be beaten.

As we saw in the time span from the initial TEA Parties to last Tuesday we lost some notable battles on the way, most prominently Obamacare. Certainly a number of those voting for the bill were bounced out (as were some Democrats who didn’t) but we are still stuck with the process of defunding and/or repealing the bill – assuming, of course, the new majority has the stones to try. Speaking as a loyal Republican, for the sake of our party’s future they damn well better lay everything on the line to stop the Obama agenda. After all, if a populace can be fooled once into believing “hope and change” they might just be gullible enough to fall for a similar ploy again.

I suppose the strategy now won’t necessarily involve the large gatherings like we had over the last two years (although they may well have their place; I understand there’s an effort afoot to have an opening night rally in Annapolis again like we did earlier this year) but instead may consist of more individual and small-group efforts like speaking out at the local City Council meeting or running up to Annapolis to testify on an onerous job-killing bill. The difference is that we have a little bit more of a bully pulpit and aware public; however, we have to keep them aware and not let them get discouraged when we do suffer defeats. Indeed, we may see our effort be thrown for a loss at times.

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for over 5 1/2 years now, and at times I felt like I was the lone voice in the wilderness. But this most recent campaign has instilled some confidence in me that we are moving in the right direction because people have began to stand up and take notice.

Obviously our neck of the woods is taking a little longer than most to get with the program, but I’m confident we will be pulling in the right direction no matter how those forces against us try to stack the deck in their favor. Daily we pull more people to our side, and if you figure we’ve gone from a state where Obama got 62% just two years ago to a state where his approval is only 56% and half the voters want his signature program repealed, we are making slow but steady progress.

We don’t have to win every single issue every time, but we need to win enough to become the most formidable foe out there; a group where those who oppose us do so at their own electoral peril. In Maryland we can help change the White House, wipe out some or all of the six entrenched Democrats remaining in Congress, and flip a Senate seat in two years (while keeping the two Republicans we have despite the certain redistricting to their disadvantage we’ll have to endure,) This is a tall task and most likely we can’t succeed at all ten portions; I’d settle for the ten electoral votes, flipping the Senate seat and a 4-4 split in our Congressional delegation.

On a state level, perhaps we need to take the attitude exhibited by Rush Limbaugh. I’ll say it right now: I hope Martin O’Malley fails. We may need a little chaos to shake up the establishment, and while we’re not to the point California is quite yet we may well be on our way if O’Malley continues down the path he’s on.

Too bad we don’t have a midterm election to thwart him…unfortunately we have to suffer for four more long years with the hand we’re dealt. But it sets up the chance for a strong conservative candidate to secure total victory for the GOP in 2014.

Now for Maryland Republicans who are used to the 1-15 sort of election cycle that sort of success, where we at last free the state from the shackles of total Democrat control and break a 160-year losing streak in the General Assembly, would be like winning the Super Bowl. Let’s do it!

The aftermath

Well, for one, my page looks a lot emptier. No need for the election links anymore and I took my monoblogue Accountability Project page private. It will return for the 2011-14 session at the appropriate time, although I have some ideas now on how to improve it and make it more user-friendly.

Obviously some people voted against their best interests. For example, how could the voters in Frederick County dump a former Legislative All-Star in Alex Mooney for a guy whose score will likely be less than half of his?

Locally, we replaced a retiring state Senator with a nice MAP rating in the 70’s with a guy who will likely be in the teens or twenties – is that very smart? Hard to believe the same voters who elected two conservatives in Mike McDermott and Charles Otto would fall for the absolute “I’m just as conservative as you” b.s. Jim Mathias spouted in all those mailings, brought to you courtesy of the Baltimore boys and special interests.

Instead of gaining State Senators, the GOP lost two so now they have an even dozen. At least we may have gotten the Democrats under 100 seats in the General Assembly, but 43-98 is little better than 37-104.

So I guess we regroup and look at victories. We did contribute our little bit to the 60-plus seat sea change in the House by electing Andy Harris. It will be interesting to see what Frank Kratovil does in the lame-duck session and how he votes. Think his staff will be courteous if you call to complain?

Perhaps this is a Pyrrhic victory, but the Maryland GOP can finally move out from under the shadow of Bob Ehrlich now. We have candidates who ran statewide and may have bright futures as conservative lights in Jim Rutledge and Brian Murphy – we can build from their experiences. (I’m not sure Eric Wargotz quite fits in the “conservative” mold so I didn’t include him.) Nor should I exclude Charles Lollar, who did plenty to piss off Steny Hoyer – and that’s a good thing. We actually may be seeing the beginnings of a statewide bench, even in defeat.

What needs to happen in the next four years, though, is for the Maryland GOP to take a conservative stand on fiscal issues and appeal to the pocketbook. (Yes, we all have social concerns but we need to get into a position of influence first.) Look at what other successful states like Texas do and bring those ideas to the hopper here in Maryland. Sure, they will be shot down and locked in the committee chair’s drawer at first but activism can make them prevail.

Simply put, the time is not now to be silenced but instead to become the squeaky wheels.

I wrote a few days ago about the situation in 2014. With Martin O’Malley out due to term limits, there’s going to be a number of statewide candidates itching to move into Government House and abandoning their previous posts. It’s going to be difficult for Democrats to enforce discipline and tell certain politicians who have spun their wheels for two terms in statewide office or served awhile in the General Assembly or Congress to wait their turn.

And we all know nature abhors a vacuum. Guess which party can position itself as the fiscally conservative alternative?

Of course, we have a number of traps set for us. Redistricting, since it will be controlled by Democrats, will place us at the hugest of disadvantages. Look for heretofore “safe” Republican districts to become as large as the law allows and attempts made to spread out the small pockets of Democrat voters (like in towns such as Salisbury) among more than one district to negate the GOP advantage. Conversely, areas like Montgomery County will have small districts and try to isolate GOP-leaning areas within a sea of Democratic voters.

We also aren’t going to see a friendly press anytime soon. How much of an effect do you think the phony polls which had Bob Ehrlich down 14 points had on GOP turnout across the bay?

It seems to me that the great GOP turnout locally was somewhat negated by Democrats “staying home” – in other words they started with O’Malley and kept pushing the “D” button down the ticket. The only exception seemed to be Matt Maciarello. I thought Bob Ehrlich would need 25% of Democrats to win, but when his number is only in the 50’s in Wicomico County it’s apparent that he only scored a few points among Democrats. While O’Malley won the same five counties as he did last time, Ehrlich’s percentage went down in 18 of 24 counties. I wonder if a more conservative candidate (who presented a clearer choice and didn’t have a previous record) would have done better.

In the meantime, we have work to do. The next opportunity to make a difference could be as soon as tomorrow.

Oh, one other observation while I have your attention.

I read a criticism on The Salisbury Grinch about the candidate videos other local sites did and how poorly they were seen. In truth, many had under 50 views – by comparison, the AFP protest video I did had over 1,200 because it was picked up nationally. If you totaled up the viewership of the 20 videos he cites, it still doesn’t match the number which saw mine because it was exposed to a wider national audience through Pajamas Media.

It seems to me that for all the heat not a lot of light was shed. One cannot win an election by internet alone and perhaps these candidates would have been much better off spending the time recording an interview making phone calls or knocking on doors. Obviously they didn’t realize it at the time and perhaps wanted to make sure they got on that newfangled internet bandwagon.

We as bloggers often think that we have the eyes and ears of the community, but in many cases these interviews were more to show how important we were as opposed to focusing on the candidate. When I used a series of candidate interviews over the summer from the Right Coast blog, the reason I liked them was because it wasn’t about personality. Joe Ollinger’s video was similar because he narrated it himself. (His channel got over 1,300 views but the video is no longer available.) Since my specialty isn’t sitting in front of a video camera sharing my thoughts, I chose not to create any videos.

So we bring down the curtain on Election 2010, with the next up being Salisbury’s local municipal election next spring. After the holidays we’ll know how that race will shake out as three City Council seats (Cohen, Comegys, Smith) become available. I’ll surely devote some coverage to it but there will be other important things going on as well, so don’t stray far now that the election is over.

Goodbye to flip-flop Frank!!

November 2, 2010 · Posted in Campaign 2010 · 1 Comment 

So far the key news of the night is that all is right with the Eastern Shore as far as Congress is concerned.

Once again, our area of the state will have a CONSERVATIVE voice as part of the NEW MAJORITY in Congress. Just a few minutes ago (thanks to the Harris win in Wicomico County) the race was called for Andy!

And all those people who thought Matt Maciarello was too inexperienced to be State’s Attorney; well, guess what? He has four years to grow on the job as your new State’s Attorney as he spanked W. Seth Mitchell.

I’m also going to depart from normal protocol to reveal that the new head of the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee is Dave Parker. Joe Collins is the new Vice-Chair, Bob Laun remains as Treasurer and this writer is the new Secretary.

Since Frank is doing his concession speech I’ll break for now.

**********

Update 12:30 a.m.

It looks like Rasmussen wins again – currently there’s a 10-point margin between Bob Ehrlich and Martin O’Malley, 54-44. So we appear to be stuck with O’Smelley for another four years. Maybe Brian Murphy was right? I knew it was over when I saw early voting totals with Bob Ehrlich in the 50’s – 56% of the vote in Wicomico ain’t gonna make it.

It’s no surprise Barb Mikulski got 60% of the vote in the Senate race, but props have to go to Green Party candidate Kenniss Henry – she got 1.14% of the vote and as I recall getting 1% on any statewide race ensures ballot space for the next cycle. So Henry keeps the Green Party on the map and wins the third-party derby. Sounds like a good legacy to honor one’s daughter with.

I guess the Democrats pushing the Libertarian really worked, huh? Hey, Richard Davis got almost 4% of the vote – too bad that seemed to come out of Kratovil’s total since he lost by 13 points. Can you say bitchslapped?

Turning to local races, it’s not unexpected that Rich Colburn won re-election by a comfy 20 points. Can we shift some of those to Michael James? He only needs 214 votes to pass Jim Mathias and there are still 2 precincts out. That will certainly come down to absentees and you hate to see James lose two nailbiters in a row, particularly since it looks like the Democrats may gain three State Senate seats.

In the House of Delegates, all the incumbents won (which sucks in the case of Norm Conway and Rudy Cane, two miserable excuses for representatives who should’ve been ousted) but boy did Charles Otto lay the wood to Mike McCready! And I hope Marty Pusey tries again in four years, when Mike McDermott will be able to carry her over the finish line. Norm Conway, you may as well retire. Conversely to the Senate, it looks like the GOP will pick up perhaps five House seats – including McDermott, who’s the first Republican to represent Worcester County in, well, ever?

Looking at Wicomico results, it looks like Eric Wargotz could at least carry this county – he’s just 19 votes down pending absentees. But I suspect that margin will widen a bit.

I don’t think Rick Pollitt will lose a 571-vote margin with absentees, but boy he may wish he lost after he sees his County Council. If Bob Caldwell hangs on to a 45-vote lead, the County Council will be 6-1 Republican and essentially they will run the county. Now they can pass anything they want and even if Pollitt vetoes the measure they can easily override the veto. This is huge. The new blood of Bob Culver and Matt Holloway will hopefully be more conservative than the two men they replaced, Democrat Bill McCain and Republican John Cannon.

So this is just about how it ends, although I hold out hope Michael James prevails. Always I want more, but I think our fair county is in pretty good hands now because Rick Pollitt is effectively neutered.

And we can celebrate now that Andy Harris will be representing us in Congress!

The forgotten commercial

November 2, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delaware politics, Delmarva items, Politics · Comments Off on The forgotten commercial 

You have to wonder how many potential votes were lost when the television station “forgot” to air this. Perhaps all the Delaware and regional bloggers can pick up the slack.

We the People of the First State from Friends of Christine O’Donnell on Vimeo.

As a reminder, I’ll not be moderating comments until late tonight at the earliest since I have a House of Delegates race to help win.

It’s all about turnout!

November 1, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Pajamas Media, Personal stuff, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on It’s all about turnout! 

Those of you who know me know I like to play with numbers. And in a day that’s all about numbers, it’s important to know that working the numbers up one side or down the other makes a big difference.

Let’s use this recent Maryland Poll and election data for an example. It’s the poll which had Bob Ehrlich down 5 points based on a particular turnout model. But what if turnout projections are way off?

Over the last two state elections (2002 and 2006), this was the actual turnout statewide.

2006: Republican 62.75%, Democrats 59.3%, Green 47.65%, Libertarian 46.69%, Constitution 47.61%, Populist 29.91%, unaffiliated 41.83%

2002: Republican 67.44%, Democrats 62.94%, Green 55.19%, Libertarian 46.08%, Constitution 45.82%, Reform 41.15%, unaffiliated 45.25%

For the sake of this argument, though, I’m just going to lump the minor parties with the unaffiliated as these polls do.

Finally, here are the latest monthly voter registration figures from the state Board of Elections.

  • Republicans – 920,181
  • Democrats – 1,948,008
  • Green – 8.349
  • Libertarian – 8,828
  • Constitution – 571
  • unaffiliated/other – 562,670

Taking these numbers and using the 2006 turnout model (poor for the GOP) this would be the voting universe.

  • Republicans – 577,414
  • Democrats – 1,155,169
  • unaffiliated/other – 242,789

With the 2002 turnout model (a little better for everyone) this would be the voting universe.

  • Republicans – 620,570
  • Democrats – 1,226,076
  • unaffiliated/other – 262,639

The next set of numbers is based on the Maryland Poll. Assume for every 100 voters that the following proportions vote for Ehrlich or O’Malley – it’s a number based on the percentages given plus proportionally dividing the undecided and refused among the groups:

  • Republicans – 90 Ehrlich, 10 O’Malley
  • Democrats – 19 Ehrlich, 81 O’Malley
  • unaffiliated/other – 54 Ehrlich, 46 O’Malley

So, based on the two above turnout models this is what the numbers would be:

A 2006 turnout gives Ehrlich 870,261 votes and O’Malley 1,105,111 votes.

A 2002 turnout gives Ehrlich 933,692 votes and O’Malley 1,175,993 votes.

Based on either of the last two turnout models Ehrlich is a loser and won’t have much in the way of coattails for other local canddiates.

But let’s make up another turnout example. How about a turnout (using the BoE numbers) of 80 percent GOP, 60 percent Democrat, and 50 percent unaffiliated/other? If the TEA Party is really out there this is easily doable.

Here, then, is the new voting universe:

  • Republicans – 736,145
  • Democrats – 1,168,805
  • unaffiliated/other – 281,335

Since the other parties all have a gubernatorial candidate we’ll assume they vote straight party line and not factor them into the count.

Using this voting total model and the Maryland Poll results we get a much closer result; Ehrlich gets 1,036,524 votes and O’Malley 1,149,761. It’s then up to the Ehrlich camp to get to a better result of 25% of Democrats and 60% of independents because with those proportions and 80% GOP turnout he wins – and probably picks up the General Assembly seats he needs to have a vetoproof minority. (Bob could win with near 100% GOP turnout as well if all other numbers stayed the same.)

Now let’s take this more local, looking at the four Lower Shore counties. All of these counties have Republicans at a numeric disadvantage as far as voter registration, so let’s say the Democrats turn out 60 percent of their voters. This would be the GOP turnout needed to negate the advantage (if voters voted straight party line, of course):

  • Dorchester: 89.44%
  • Somerset: 99.22%
  • Wicomico: 76.84%
  • Worcester: 68.08%

The only counties where it’s statistically impossible to overcome 60% Democratic turnout are Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles, Montgomery, and Prince George’s. (Needless to say, it’s likely O’Malley will carry those counties but as you can deduce that can be overcome statewide with disciplined and heavy GOP turnout.)

So it is important for Republicans to be just as excited to vote (or get their friends who are GOP, conservative independents, or thoughtful Democrats to vote if they’ve voted early) as they were when this campaign started. Don’t let the bastards in the press get you down because we can win.

On a different note, I’ll probably not post here tomorrow since I’ll be working a poll for a great candidate in Marty Pusey, then kicking off the next election cycle as part of the Wicomico County Republican Central Committee – we’ll be sworn in tomorrow night at the GOP Victory Center. Look instead to Pajamas Media, where I’ll be part of the national coverage team and deliver updates as needed.

Are you ready for the next step?

Chances are when you read this tomorrow will be Election Day, since I’m writing this shortly before midnight.

It’s been a tremendously long campaign since it really began about the time the TEA Parties began in the spring of 2009. Everyone involved believed the government had finally overstepped its bounds after a series of debacles which began under the Bush Administration and overlapped into President Obama’s tenure. In their eyes, more spending and government weren’t the answer for kickstarting a moribund economy.

Locally, I’ve seen the impact of this movement both on and off the ballot. All three local parties have at least one candidate who was inspired to take part in the political process thanks to the TEA Party movement. And although neither the Brewingtons (Julie and Mike) nor Chris Lewis was successful in their aspirations for legislative office, it can be argued that the TEA Party has affected the local Republican Party. We have a lot of new blood in the lower levels of the party thanks to the TEA Party, but the trick will be to keep them there and not make them disillusioned over what happens beginning November 3rd.

Normally I don’t discuss inside party baseball, but I’m sure most are aware that the local Republican Party will have a new Chair for the next term because current Chair John Bartkovich opted not to run again. But many of those who were on the Central Committee previously ran and won, and while I’m not going to name names in this space I will let you know that three people are interested in taking over the reins of the local party. (Let me say up front: I’m not one of the three! There are some who might be disappointed by that, but there are better qualified people among the group than I.) I think two of them would be acceptable to the local TEA Party to represent a non-establishment presence there while the other may smack too much of the ‘old guard’ establishment.

(A note to local Republican establishment types: this new group of activists doesn’t believe the best conservative candidates necessarily will have an ‘R’ after their name. This is the new political reality; get used to it.)

Some of the things I believe we will need to address will depend on that which happens in the next 48 hours – of course, the first thing we need to do is get as many Republican candidates as possible elected locally and that’s my main focus. Given the absolute worst-case (but possible) scenario of having Rick Pollitt as County Executive and four fairly leftist Democrats controlling County Council, we have plenty of work to do to protect our wallets. (I won’t go into just how damaging it would be to have Democrats control the federal or state levels.)

But if I have my say, the Republican Party of 2011-14 will be out in the community more and better tapping into the resources we’ve been presented by this new political resurgence. The idea, though, isn’t to elect people simply because they have an ‘R’ after their name but to elect good conservative stewards of our community and way of life. There are some positions locally which haven’t had a good pruning lately and need to be addressed in the next cycle; that’s another job to take care of.

As the next few months progress, I’m sure we will begin to pull back the curtain on a new era in the local GOP. I’m looking forward to being on the winning team for awhile and trying to cement local success while pushing back the frontiers of ignorance (as Walter E. Williams would say) on the state level.

On Tuesday, let’s win some for the Gipper.

Maryland: the land that TEA forgot?

I actually sent this in to PJM early this but they decided not to run it for whatever reason. Maybe it’s a little bit off-message, or perhaps we are a true backwater of conservative politics. 

Last year in Virginia and New Jersey, the first successes of the TEA Party movement swept unabashed fiscal conservatives Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie into office.

Similarly in Pennsylvania, the latest polls show Republicans with wide leads in statewide races for governor and U.S. Senate. Next door in West Virginia, a Republican has a good chance of taking over the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat stalwart Robert Byrd.

Even where the polls aren’t as friendly, such as Delaware, they garnered national attention when a TEA Party-backed upstart in Christine O’Donnell upended longtime moderate Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 primary. O’Donnell made her final push to victory after getting financial backing from the TEA Party Express and the endorsement of Sarah Palin.

Yet as all that political turmoil roils states which border Maryland, TEA Party activists there bemoan the fact that they’ve been bypassed by the excitement.

Sarah Palin’s endorsement of TEA Party favorite Brian Murphy did little to help his campaign for governor as he was spanked by a nearly 50 point margin in the September 14 primary. While Delaware voters turned their political world upside down by going against the state’s establishment Republicans and selecting O’Donnell, Maryland’s state GOP apparatus placed their support behind former governor Bob Ehrlich almost immediately after he formally announced he would seek the office again. The move angered conservative activists but more mainline Republicans bought the argument that only Ehrlich could unseat current Governor Martin O’Malley – who defeated Ehrlich in 2006.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, Ehrlich trails in the latest Rasmussen Poll by 8 points, which is larger than his 2006 margin of defeat. A similar (and more recent) poll by Gonzales Research has Ehrlich down 5.

Of course there are bright spots for conservative activists in some portions of the state. Andy Harris is a TEA Party favorite who is giving freshman Democrat Frank Kratovil all he can handle in a spirited First District race that’s also a rematch, from 2008. Even more popular is the man challenging Steny Hoyer in the Fifth District, Charles Lollar. He’s a dynamic speaker who has excited crowds anywhere from a small campaign event to the 9-12 rally in Washington, D.C.

But for two TEA Party believers I spoke to, the lack of good choices on the Maryland ballot is disheartening.

Chris Lewis helped to organize the first TEA Party in the small Eastern Shore city of Salisbury back in April 2009. This involvement eventually led to an unsuccessful run for a Wicomico County Council seat earlier this year but he still attends a number of TEA Party events and leads the occasional local protest.

While he has no bitterness about losing in his primary – Chris ran as a Republican this time after a bid as an unaffiliated candidate 12 years ago – he’s “not too happy” with the remainder of the choices Republicans selected.

“Voting for the lesser of two evils is becoming very frustrating,” said Chris. “Maryland has always been blue, but the Maryland GOP has done a horrible job of putting up serious and constitutionally conservative candidates against these very weak, liberal, anti-constitutional and anti-business Democrat candidates.”

Fellow conservative activist Julie Brewington agrees. Like Lewis, she was active in the local TEA Party movement practically from its inception and ran for office this year, losing in a GOP primary for a House of Delegates seat.

Julie ran down a list of Republican nominees at the state and local level, describing many as “blah” or milquetoast. “I will reluctantly pull the lever for Ehrlich,” she said, if only for the sake of having a better say in redistricting. “I have finally come around to the fact that if Ehrlich is not voted in we will have no voice at all, as conservatives in this state.”

Still, she’s frustrated at what’s happened to the movement she helped create. “I feel the TEA party here in Maryland has been hijacked to a degree successfully by establishment Republicans,” said Julie. “It’s because of this we have less than exciting candidates to pick from.”

In fact, Julie was most thrilled about crossing over to Delaware to attend a campaign rally for U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O’Donnell. “She’s the closest thing to a true blue TEA Party candidate we have locally (and) I can relate to Christine on many levels. This would include personal attacks I endured during my candidacy for the House of Delegates.”

“She is me, and I am you.”

Lewis and Brewington express a thought that many conservatives trapped in the (not so) Free State have been thinking for years. Emboldened to speak out by other events nationally, they’re afraid that they’re being abandoned by state and national Republicans and don’t have the numbers to make a difference. This is odd because the same Rasmussen Poll that had Ehrlich 8 points down also showed that seventeen percent of Maryland voters consider themselves members of the TEA Party movement, a number slightly higher than the national average.

Yet as Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eric Wargotz noted when I asked him about the TEA Party, “I absolutely agree with the two main tenets (of fiscal responsibility and limited government)…but Maryland is a Democratic state.” He’s had to walk a bit of a tightrope in his campaign, although it’s clear that Wargotz has embraced the TEA Party more than Bob Ehrlich has in the other major statewide race – Ehrlich completely dismissed the Palin endorsement of his opponent and hasn’t made any attempt to make up with movement conservatives in the state.

Perhaps in a cycle or two Maryland may catch on, but by all indications there’s not going to be a lot of TEA Party victories in the Free State next week. It’s a sad state of affairs, but it’s one the Maryland Republican Party may have brought upon itself due to the conscious decision to not listen to its newly-energized TEA Party base and instead choose the establishment side in the primary.

Friday night videos – episode 49

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Friday night videos – episode 49 

The last episode before the historic midterm and state elections may be a little on the long side. I have four videos from earlier today to feature first, with Andy Harris, Bob Ehrlich, and two doses of Michael Steele speaking before a crowded Salisbury GOP Victory Center earlier today.

Another short video which is important to our election on a more local scale comes from State’s Attorney hopeful Matt Maciarello.

All in all, Barb Mikulski’s another brick in the wall.

Perhaps a good way to look at the future is remembering the past, like this video from the Republican Study Committee does. This man is a good one to study.

We can roll back the damage done.

I told you I might reuse this one.

That WILL be Tuesday. We can truly drain the swamp of all the scum that’s accumulated over the last couple election cycles.

And when you go to vote, don’t forget what Ava says.

You just HAD to know I would call it a wrap with her – there is no other way but to close a long and bitterly fought election season but with that song.

Fire Pelosi tour comes to Salisbury

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Fire Pelosi tour comes to Salisbury 

This morning there was a big red bus out front of the Salisbury GOP Victory Center.

Eventually we saw there were a number of special guests on the bus, and our small city will get a little love from Fox News as well. Bret Baier sat in our headquarters taping an interview with Michael Steele for later broadcast.

Apparently Bret’s aboard the bus for today. But people were excited even if they’re not on the bus, and passers-by were greeted by about a dozen sign wavers – that’s the first picture below.

Overall well over 100 people crammed into our South Salisbury Boulevard headquarters, including practically every local candidate and state party Chair Audrey Scott. As you’ll see in the second picture below, that guy running for governor is also a popular fella to be pictured with. Bob referred to the group as “the James Gang”, playing off the rock band of yore. Bob made sure to point out that “I don’t support Jim Mathias, despite what he may say.”

It was also an excuse for GOP candidates to see and be seen. Marty Pusey was out making her rounds.

Mike McDermott, her fellow District 38B House candidate, was also there but had this high-visibility item nearby as well.

So after the bus made a show of re-arriving, leading to the quip of the day – Michael Steele joked as he was departing that, “I tell my Democratic friends the bus is a little understated, but it gets the job done” – we all crammed into the headquarters building itself to hear what they had to say. When I say crammed, it was pretty crowded.

State chair Audrey Scott, who you may see in the middle of the above picture, served as the emcee.

As I write this, I’m uploading the videos from today’s remarks for a special edition of FNV. But Michael Steele didn’t get right back on the bus after his remarks were through. He also gave a pep talk to the volunteers who jumped on the phones to make the calls we need for victory.

He also had time to tape a quick interview with local radio host Bill Reddish and talk to other reporters.

Michael noted the 2010 campaign, “is unreal…a tidal wave that’s brewing.”

We will find out on Tuesday, but the group here sounded pretty confident of victory.

Pusey: ‘The Lower Shore needs jobs. We deserve jobs.’

October 29, 2010 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Campaign 2010, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Pusey: ‘The Lower Shore needs jobs. We deserve jobs.’ 

So what is she going to do about it?

It’s needless to say that she’s in favor of lowering taxes, as most candidates are this year. Reducing the sales tax seems to be the weapon of choice, but Marty would also like a “clear cut reduction in corporate tax rates.”

So far so good; this is a basic and solid conservative approach to drawing business in. But given Maryland’s long border with Virginia, part of which borders her district, she’s come up with another idea I wholeheartedly support and the remainder of the state should embrace.

It is crucial to the citizens of this state to bring labor reform to Maryland. Through the “right to work” legislation, there would be no pre-set wages, breaks, benefits, no Union requirements for dues, and local contractors can participate in State contracts. States that have passed this have better economic conditions and more jobs; that’s why it needs to be a top priority in Maryland.

Yes, Virginia is a right-to-work state. Courtesy of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, this is Virginia’s law on the matter. Most right-to-work states are in the South, though there are a string from Texas to North Dakota and into many of the Rocky Mountain states.

It also cuts the union influence. Do you think that AFSCME Local 1081 would have $3,800 to donate to opponent Norm Conway if there were right-to-work legislation? Or would AFSCME Local 3478 push $500 his way? Even out-of-town unions like UFCW Local 1994 from Gaithersburg ($2,000) or the SEIU out of Baltimore ($1,000) might become more interested in selling their advantage to prospective members than buying politicians. Fellow Democrat Gee Williams seems to be more the favorite of teachers’ unions.

If we are to re-establish any sort of manufacturing capacity in the district, it’s going to be helpful to present a package that attracts businesses to our state and region. Government can be of assistance in doing things they are supposed to do, like infrastructure (how about upgrading the U.S. 13 corridor to interstate level northward from Salisbury to a connection to I-95 near Wilmington?) but they can also help by eliminating costly regulations and making it fiscally feasible to locate a business here.

That’s the sort of thinking we need in Annapolis; right now there’s a shortage.

Crossing way over the aisle

Perhaps part of the reason that Frank Kratovil won election in 2008 was a September endorsement from former Congressman Wayne Gilchrest. As I noted at the time, “(for a Republican) reaching across (the aisle) means more often than not you end up with a bloody hand full of teeth marks and a larger, more intrusive federal government.”

While I had some definite issues with him as a Congressman Wayne has gotten even more annoying since he left Washington. Right after he gave his blessing to Frank Kratovil, he then planted a big wet one on Barack Obama. So much for being a moderate Republican; instead he graduated to become a suckup to the inside-the-Beltway ruling class.

If you don’t agree, remember that Wayne was all for Obamacare, at least in this piece for the Chestertown Spy:

So I’m not completely surprised that Wayne is now slobbering all over Martin O’Malley; as I recall he conceded to voting for O’Malley in 2006 while loyal Republicans in his district worked and campaigned for Wayne as well as to re-elect Bob Ehrlich.

The Democrats’ new best friend is even making his input into local races, encouraging District 37B voters to dump the tried and tested Republican Addie Eckardt and elect Democrat Patrice Stanley. So now she has endorsements from Big Labor, Big Green, Big Teacher, and Big Sellout.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that Wayne sold out more of his former supporters and constituents. At least we know where he stands, for the moment.

In 2008 we thought that maybe Wayne was upset with a bloody primary fight where he lost because Andy Harris successfully tagged him as a “liberal.” (Oddly enough, until his last year in office – most of which was spent as a lame duck – Wayne was still more conservative than Frank Kratovil was, according to the American Conservative Union’s ratings.) But I guess Andy was right on the money with this one, wasn’t he?

My advice to Wayne Gilchrest is to be careful what you wish for – once your usefulness has passed, the Democrats will drop you like a bad habit. Your legacy will be one of a bitter old man whose career was cut short because you took two unpopular stands against a war we needed to fight and an industry we need to maintain our standard of living.

All you had to do was listen to and consider what the people of your district were telling you and perhaps you may have survived the 2008 GOP primary and Frank Kratovil’s attempt to run to your right (and yes, he would have ran to your right) to serve one final term to round out a 20-year career. But you didn’t and you paid the price.

Like a true Democrat, all your endorsements will do is enable them to spread the misery equally.

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