Poll update – day 3

It looks like two candidates’ supporters are taking this seriously.

As of about 3:00 this afternoon, it’s become a two-way race:

  1. Eric Wargotz     1,785  (49%)
  2. Corrogan Vaughn    1,156  (32%)
  3. Jim Rutledge     499  (14%)
  4. Carmen Amedori     128  (4%)
  5. John Kimble     43  (1%)
  6. Daniel McAndrew     5  (<1%)
  7. John Curran   4  (<1%)

Let’s look at what happened in the last 24 hours or so:

  1. Eric Wargotz     948  (54%)
  2. Corrogan Vaughn     783  (46%)
  3. Jim Rutledge     23  (1%)
  4. Carmen Amedori     2  (<1%)

No one else got a vote, so it’s obvious that this poll may have run its course as a useful exercise.

The percentage changes are as follows:

  1. Corrogan Vaughn  +12 (20 to 32)
  2. Eric Wargotz  +4  (45 to 49)
  3. Daniel McAndrew  0  (stays at <1)
  4. John Curran  0  (stays at <1)
  5. John Kimble  -1  (2 to 1)
  6. Carmen Amedori  -3 (7 to 4)
  7. Jim Rutledge  -12  (26 to 14)

The poll will end on Tuesday, and I’ll have the final totals and the conclusions I draw from them that night.

By the way, the “Eric” you see on the Polldaddy.com comments is not the candidate Eric Wargotz. I figured you’d know that but he took the time today to point out it wasn’t the case. I can moderate these comments to some extent, but only after the fact.

I think when I wrap this exercise up I may post some of the better comments and cases for some of the candidates.

Poll tracking – day 2

Well, things haven’t slowed down with my U.S. Senate poll, as the total response closes in on the 2,000 mark.

Again, I stress this isn’t a strictly scientific poll as there is the opportunity for multiple responses from the same person – but there is a time-out period built in. Yes, the system can be gamed but my theory is that the gamesmanship will occur roughly in proportion with actual support.

Here are the results I had shortly before 4:00 this afternoon:

  1. Eric Wargotz     837 (45%)
  2. Jim Rutledge     476 (26%)
  3. Corrogan Vaughn    373 (20%)
  4. Carmen Amedori     126 (7%)
  5. John Kimble    43 (2%)
  6. Daniel McAndrew    5 (<1%)
  7. John Curran     4 (<1%)

The other key number is tracking the daily totals as opposed to the overall totals. It was just about 24 hours since my first update, and the change since then has been most meaningful for Wargotz and Amedori. The percentage is the share of the votes cast in the last day or so.

  1. Eric Wargotz    582 (54%)
  2. Jim Rutledge     247 (23%)
  3. Corrogan Vaughn     220 (20%)
  4. Carmen Amedori     31 (3%)
  5. John Kimble     3 (<1%)
  6. Daniel McAndrew     2 (<1%)
  7. John Curran    0 (0%)

I did some checking on my Facebook page among the universe of friends I have and those associated with the Corrogan Vaughn campaign (including the candidate) plugged the poll twice, while a Wargotz ally did it once. Now here is the precentage difference from yesterday to today – you can see who benefitted at whose expense.

  1. Eric Wargotz    +12 (33 to 45)
  2. Corrogan Vaughn    0 (still at 20)
  3. Daniel McAndrew    0 (still at <1)
  4. John Curran    -1 (1 to <1)
  5. Jim Rutledge     -3 (29 to 26)
  6. John Kimble    -3 (5 to 2)
  7. Carmen Amedori    -5 (12 to 7)

This is what I mean by depth of support – Wargotz’s supporters continue to flood the poll and perhaps distort it somewhat. But the last time I did this Wargotz held a large early lead only to see Jim Rutledge supporters close the gap at the end, so perhaps this may play out again.

Tomorrow I’ll do another update – I expect the pace to slow down some during the weekend but a big share from someone could have a significant impact on the results. The poll continues for a few more days (I have an end date set for it but I won’t say when it is) so we’ll see whether the supporters can keep going – it determines depth of support and also helps me determine whether my theory is validated or not.

Poll tracking – day 1

With the huge interest in my poll regarding who should face Barbara Mikulski for the U.S. Senate seat she currently occupies, I thought it would be a good idea to keep a daily track of it for the duration.

Most of the major candidates have posted about it on their Facebook pages multiple times, so the sampling size is extraordinarily high. As of 3 p.m. this afternoon there were 779 total votes cast, and the interim results follow:

  1. Eric Wargotz     255 (33%)
  2. Jim Rutlegdge     229 (29%)
  3. Corrogan Vaughn    153 (20%)
  4. Carmen Amedori    95 (12%)
  5. John Kimble     40 (5%)
  6. John Curran    4 (1%)
  7. Daniel McAndrew    3 (<1%)

Obviously this is a very tight race and I encourage people to stay involved! I’ll try to keep this tracking going for the duration of the poll, which will continue for the next few days.

Republicans united?

As the Church Lady would say, isn’t this conveeeeeeenient? I talk about Republicans divided in an op-ed then talk about uniting hours later. But Daniel Vovak makes a good point at a time when unity would be necessary.

The Republican Primary on September 14, 2010 has produced a spirited contest for the office of U.S. Senator, facing the probable Democratic primary winner, Barbara Mikulski. According to official reports and announcements, on the Republican ballot will be seven candidates, including: Carmen Amedori, John F. Curran, John B. Kimble, Daniel W. McAndrew, Jim Rutledge, Corrogan R. Vaughn, and Eric Wargotz.

Daniel “The Whig Man” Vovak has proposed a “Statement of Unity” for the Republican candidates to sign, and has pledged $250 to the primary winner, should that person sign his form. Vovak says, “Although I will not be a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2010, I was a candidate in 2006 and I remember perfectly well how Michael Steele treated the primary as a mere formality, never reaching out to any of his nine primary opponents, which hurt our Party in November 2006. In 2010, it’s a different situation because the Republican primary is a wide-open contest. It’s not that Maryland Democrats have been successful, it’s Maryland Republicans who lose statewide seats through internal division. Once these candidates unify behind the primary winner, any Democrat can be defeated.”

Vovak says that following last week’s U.S. Senate candidates’ debate in Montgomery County, every Republican candidate sought his support.


In spite of losing statewide (among Central Committee members who selected a new party chairman in the wake of Jim Pelura’s resignation last year), Vovak sincerely congratulated (current MDGOP Chair Audrey) Scott following her decisive win and offered his help. Vovak says this “Statement of Unity” is something he practices and believes. He says, “If I had won the chairman vote, I would have proposed this same Statement to position Republicans for winning, long before Election Day. I have no doubt Audrey Scott shares the same goal.”

Currently, three of the seven candidates have indicated they will sign the Statement. Because Vovak has not been able to speak directly with all of them, he said he will wait until all have been given ample time to respond before releasing their names, though those candidates can speak freely at any time with their supporters and the media, should they desire to do so.

Within the Maryland Republican Party Constitution, under Article 11, Section 2, d(2), Maryland’s Republican Chairman must show no “partiality or prejudice” towards any Republican candidate before a primary. Article 2, Section 2 states that the Party “works towards the election of Republican nominees.”

It’s an admirable goal, and perhaps we will see all of the contenders sign this agreement before all is said and done September 14.

But this election is somewhat different than Steele’s 2006 campaign as there is no de facto favorite. A couple have run previous bids for the Senate that drew little support (Kimble and Vaughn, both also-rans in the ’06 race with Vovak) and a couple others are perhaps dark horses due to lack of name recognition or fundraising prowess – I’d put Curran and McAndrew in that category. The other three (Amedori, Rutledge, and Wargotz) to me are the leading contenders, with Amedori perhaps being the “establishment” candidate based on her tenure in the House of Delegates.

I happen to agree that the Maryland GOP shouldn’t take a stand to support any candidate pre-primary. I know some disagree with me because they fear the voters may select some David Duke-esque radical as the party’s representative but I place a lot more faith in the party electorate than apparently these officials do. I already lived in one state which tried to bribe and cajole good Republican candidates like Ken Blackwell out of the race to avoid primary fights and I don’t want a repeat in Maryland.

Since the reports of Barbara Mikulski retiring were apparently premature, it looks like whoever survives the primary has the uphill fight of knocking out the entrenched, reliably liberal incumbent who may be keeping the seat warm for Martin O’Malley once he’s through being governor.

I believe there is a scenario possible where, if Mikulski wins and O’Malley loses in November, Barbara could retire in early January and Martin O’Malley could name himself  successor (or a placeholder to keep the seat warm) just before his term were to expire – leaving the possibility of two new Senators from the state in 2013 as Ben Cardin also runs for re-election in 2012 and the seat held by Mikulski is opened up for a special election by current state law. I think Martin O’Malley has aspirations beyond being Governor and this would be an opportunity for him to go national.

All that has yet to be seen but in any case it’s good for Republicans to put up a united front as they campaign to upend the Democrats’ apple cart this November.

Rutledge gives his report

I’ve given quite a bit of attention to U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Eric Wargotz of late, but there’s others in the race – I’m particularly interested in finding out more about former Delegate Carmen Amedori.

But the other day I received my first “Rutledge Report” in my mailbox and one passage jumped out at me:

In (the) 1920s President Harding faced unemployment numbers doubling from 2.1 million to 4.9 million, excessive governmental interference in the market creating a 24% plunging gross national product, and $25B national debt.  By taking a hard stance, he reduced government spending in half, cut taxes, and watched unemployment numbers drop to a low of 1.8% in 1926.  (Not-So-Great Depression by Jim Powell.)

Today we face similar problems the country faced at the beginning of Harding’s administration. Unfortunately Congress continues to pass legislation creating more government jobs, increasing the national debt and the burden on tax payers.  Businesses have frozen plans for growth because the uncertainty of future costs of hiring an individual. 

We need to follow Harding’s example.  To create jobs and reduce unemployment we must take two simultaneous steps NOW: cut taxes and cut government spending!  We can kick-start the economy by abolishing the capital gains tax and the inheritance tax.  This will keep the money in the hands of the consumers and businesses giving them the freedom to choose their own path forward.  A simultaneous cut in government spending, and not just a freeze, will free-up revenue to pay off the ever growing national debt.

The road ahead is tough and Americans do not back down from challenges!  Now is the time for action – cut taxes and cut spending.  Place into office candidates willing to lead Americans down the tough road.  We can and will get through this together.

While I admire the Senatorial candidate giving a little love to one of my home state’s native sons, perhaps he needs a little bit better research. President Harding died in 1923, so Calvin Coolidge became President. Coolidge served out the remainder of Harding’s term and won election in his own right in 1924, pounding Democrat John Davis and Progressive Party candidate Robert LaFollette by securing over 54% of the vote. (This was back when the colors were proper too as this electoral map shows.)

Anyway, those policies began by Harding were continued by “Silent Cal” and some of this prescription could be enacted today. The biggest difference, though, is that the federal government of Harding’s era didn’t have nearly the entitlements our modern day government has – these Republicans has no Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid to deal with (let alone legions of regulators in a number of agencies.) The Washington of the 1920’s was still a sleepy Southern town.

But we can and should cut spending and taxes. The Americans of the roaring ’20’s enjoyed great economic prosperity, at least until the stock market crash in 1929 (essentially, a price bubble similar to that in real estate or dot-com stocks.) What turned a simple market correction into a depression, though, was enacting the steep Smoot-Hawley Tariff in 1930.

The current set of economic doldrums can be traced in part to a different sort of government intervention and lack of oversight as Democrats prevented a probe of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac several years ago. Once the housing bubble burst, our financial house of cards tumbled down and government overspending has been of little help in resolving the problem.

So why not harken back to Harding for solutions? Just stay away from influence-peddling (as in the Teapot Dome scandal) and things could be all right.

Rutledge holds local fundraiser

On Wednesday those who are interested can meet U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rutledge as he holds a coffee fundraiser in Berlin.

Billing his candidacy as a chance to “Restore, Cherish, and Defend our Constitutional Rights,” Jim will hold court at the Ocean City Golf Club at 11401 Country Club Drive in Berlin beginning this Wednesday (the 24th) at 6:30 p.m. The RSVP can be directed to Kimberly Fernley at (443) 513-6542.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that there’s no suggested amount. Obviously the campaign is looking for funds but there’s nothing which prohibits you from paying a dollar (or any amount up to $4,800 per Federal campaign guidelines – $2,400 for the primary election and $2,400 for the general.) Maybe that’s an omission on the part of whoever put together the flyer but it is curious.

They didn’t forget to say that checks should be made payable to “Rutledge for U.S. Senate” though.

Unfortunately, I can’t make it since I have another commitment (next week is really busy for me!) But those who would like to hear what one of the leading GOP contenders has to say about his views and goals for Congress should attend.

In the department of “I’ll believe it when I see it” – Mikulski out?

Update 3 8:45 a.m. – Sean O’Donnell of the Baltimore Examiner cites Cillizza and two other sources to quash the rumor – for now. Certainly this is a case study on the power of the internet – now the question becomes who the original source was.

It’s also worthy of noting that The Vail Spot, which had just over 200 readers in the previous week, has had over 20,000 readers since 2 p.m. yesterday when the rumor was picked up. (He has an open Site Meter – for now.)

Update 2 7:30 p.m. –  Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post tweeted earlier this afternoon: “Rumors that Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is retiring are NOT TRUE, according to informed D source.”

We’ll see. This means it’s the word of an “impeccable” source vs. an “informed” source. More below.

Update 1 5:45 p.m. – I spoke briefly via phone with fellow candidate Dr. Eric Wargotz who agreed with me – he’ll believe it when he sees it too.

Senate candidate Daniel McAndrew notes that this rumor isn’t really new, but “if true, then the next question will be who, in the Democrat party, will have the better chance trying to keep the seat from flipping. This is likely to be very interesting given the rash of others retiring.”

Another source who preferred to be unnamed cautioned me that Mikulski looked healthy and was getting around fine at the recent MACO conference, so the foot injury has apparently healed.

I’ve also been told that there’s a high possibility Rep. Chris Van Hollen may jump in if Mikulski quits – he’s been “gearing up” for a Senate run. Obviously if the Democrats lose dozens of seats in the House Van Hollen could be a fall guy as DCCC head.

Main story:

A blogger heretofore unknown to me by the name of Rich Vail may have dropped a bombshell on Maryland politics and created a gamechanger movement by citing an “impeccable source” who says Senator Mikulski will not seek another term.

His post on The Vail Spot, if true, sets a lot of machinery into motion.

Obviously having another open Senate seat (a second in four years) could convince a number of prominent Maryland Democrats to leave the safety of their offices for a run – one name mentioned in the comments was Attorney General Doug Gansler, with another being Governor O’Malley. This could also convince any of Maryland’s seven Congressional Democrats to move up as well.

If you go back and look at the 2006 race for the seat eventually won by Ben Cardin (to replace the retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes), Cardin’s main competition came from onetime NAACP head Kweisi Mfume – no other Democrat secured double-digit support. But Mfume has laid low politically since his 2006 defeat, making it questionable whether he would try again.

Most of the Democrats’ Senate seat bench, then, comes from the ranks of already-elected Congressman and state officials, with only Gansler, O’Malley, Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, and Comptroller Peter Franchot haviing run statewide. Of that group, Brown might be most likely to make an attempt, perhaps couching it as a bid to place a black person back into the ranks of the Senate (Roland Burris of Illinois, who was appointed to succeed President Obama, did not stand for election this year.)

While the Democrats’ bench isn’t the largest one around, the side with an even more shallow bench is the GOP. Their group of elected officials who have run statewide is exceedingly small: former Governor Bob Ehrlich and the man who ran against Mikulski last time, State Senator E.J. Pipkin. Pipkin could well decide to go again if Mikulski retires and not worry about the First Congressional District race which he’s been rumored to consider entering.

The more intriguing possibility is Ehrlich, who’s not officially entered the GOP race for governor but has had the field essentially cleared for him by the withdrawal of three people previously interested, most recently onetime Congressional candidate Larry Hogan. Since the latest polls have Ehrlich trailing a governor in Martin O’Malley who’s only marginally popular statewide and Ehrlich doesn’t want to be placed in a position where he’s likely to lose, the open Senate seat could pique his interest.

Obviously that prospect would dim the hopes of the five people who have already entered the Senate race and would get a boost from not having to run against an entrenched incumbent. I’m going to ask them for comment and update the post if I get any.

However, before we get too far along and despite the fact Vail has laid out a good case for Mikulski’s retirement, it remains to be seen whether this is rumor or scoop. Yet given the other political news of Senate retirements (with the most recent shoe to drop being Mikulski’s fellow Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana) it’s not out of the question that Mikulski may feel it’s her time to go. On the other hand, though, Bayh faced a much tougher potential re-election fight than conventional wisdom pegged for Mikulski – so the health issues she’s faced lately may indeed be taking their toll.

Obviously this is a developing story I’ll stay on top of.

Friday night videos episode 23

This will be a somewhat abbreviated version which focuses less on politics and more on other fun stuff. I just have to remember to set these up to the proper format for my revised site.

Jim Rutledge is among five Republicans running for the United States Senate seat in Maryland. This is one of several videos he’s placed on his website to explain his views. (In the interest of fairness, I looked on his main competitor’s website and he has no videos – if I find he has a Youtube channel I’ll put his up.) This is called “The Bankrupting of America.”

A much more famous former (and future?) candidate graces the spotlight here. After the commercial (since this comes from the CBS News site) you can watch the entirety of Sarah Palin’s address to the TEA Party Convention in Nashville.

Since Palin’s speech was so long, I’m going to shift gears and add a couple local music videos I stumbled across. Each week I make an effort to be near my radio at 9 p.m. Sunday to catch the show “Local Produce” (it’s on 93.5 the Beach.) One of the hosts is Bob Daigle and in replaying my Semiblind video I featured last fall (“Right As Rain”) I found they did the same song acoustically at the 93.5 the Beach studios. Here’s that video.

And the original, plugged version I had from last October. The sound’s not as good but it’s interesting to hear the difference.

The solo which comes in about 2:30 works much better plugged in.

Lastly, this band is a local band called Vivid Season who’s taking time to help a good cause (as you’ll see in a post tomorrow. This is called a “tease.”)

Since the song is from their website, I don’t think they mind sharing.

Hope you enjoyed the extra music after the politics. If I can find enough good stuff from local bands I may make that a larger part of future FNV episodes – I figure I deal with politics five or six other days a week (depending on time of year) so why not let my hair down – what little I have – on the weekends, right?

The Senate survey says…

Over the last couple weeks I’ve ran a survey of who readers prefer to face Barbara Mikulski this fall. Here are the results of my very non-scientific poll.

Out of over 100 responses, Dr. Eric Wargotz had 49% of the vote (with 58 votes), with Jim Rutledge being his closest competitor. Jim garnered 37% of the vote with 44 supporting him. Corrogan Vaughn trailed with 15 votes (13%) while Daniel McAndrew had 1 vote for him.

It was interesting how the count transpired as Wargotz, Rutledge, and Vaughn started out fairly even through the first 40 to 50 tallies. But once each competitor had about 12 to 15 votes apiece (aside from McAndrew), the Wargotz total started surging to a point where he had a significant lead (over 60% of the total) before Rutledge came on at the end to even things out somewhat.

In truth, though, this survey may have been a little premature as word has leaked out of a fifth competitor, former Delegate Carmen Amedori of Carroll County. Since Wargotz seems to be the frontrunner, it would appear that he has the most to lose from her candidacy, but he noted that it’s “not for me to judge ones qualifications. Others will do that. May the ‘best’ candidate prevail.”

I’m thinking this will be a three-way race if Amedori gets in, but it’s anyone’s race among the three with Wargotz as the frontrunner. Since I’m not aware of any scientific poll on the race yet, mine could be the closest idea of just how the candidates are faring with campaign organization and name recognition.