A race for 2018?

March 8, 2016 · Posted in Campaign 2016 - President, Campaign 2018, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on A race for 2018? 

Bloggers love it when they can tie multiple points together in one cohesive post, and here I have the opportunity to do so thanks to a press release from Delegate David Vogt, who is moonlighting as a candidate for Congress from the Sixth Congressional District. Here’s what Vogt had to say about likely opponent John Delaney and his insistence that Larry Hogan should denounce GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump:

John Delaney should just go ahead and declare his candidacy for Governor so he can stop pretending to represent the 6th District.  Congressman Delaney would rather support an avowed socialist or a career criminal over an accomplished businessman who is tackling the issues that matter.

The Congressman’s time in office has been spent as a rubber-stamp for the failed Obama/Pelosi liberal agenda, and it is no surprise that he is calling on one popular, successful Republican to denounce another.

The people of the 6th District need a Congressman, not a political pundit, and Delaney’s incompetent handling of the Iran nuclear deal, the Syrian refugee crisis, and Obamacare shows that he isn’t qualified to be either.

It’s intriguing to me that Vogt feels that way because I have those same suspicions about Delaney’s plans for 2018. In a lot of respects, Delaney is the Democratic mirror image of Hogan with a business background and, aside from the two terms in Congress, a similar political record. (Had Hogan had a specially-gerrymandered district created for him, perhaps he would have gone in another direction after winning his 1992 Congressional campaign. It was a trajectory his old boss, Bob Ehrlich, employed in 2002.)

Obviously Democrats are trying to throw the kitchen sink at Hogan legislatively but try as they might Hogan’s approval numbers continue to rise, reaching a stratospheric 70 percent in the most recent Maryland Poll released today. (H/T: Maryland Reporter.) Yes, that is 7 out of 10. I have no doubt they may chip away at the approval rating as a strategy but Maryland Democrats also have to find a candidate willing to take on a popular Republican governor running for re-election. Will anyone have the same ambitious streak as Martin O’Malley?

There’s one thing missing from the Maryland Poll that would serve as a counterpoint to Hogan’s numbers, and that is an approval rating for the General Assembly. We know Congress is unpopular (although the “throw the bastards out” mentality stops with their own representative) but no one polls regarding our body politic either during or after the “90 days of terror.” With the number of veto overrides and the blockage of some of Hogan’s legislation, it would be intriguing to see how popular the Maryland legislature is.

But returning to 2018: the Democrats have a relatively short bench of willing candidates with name recognition, and it’s unclear just how well Delaney is known outside the Capital region. The only other statewide candidate being mentioned is Peter Franchot, and right now he has a rather sweet gig as Comptroller – maybe not quite to the extent of Louis Goldstein, but if he wants another term or two it’s doubtful Maryland voters would object. At the age of 70 by the time the 2018 election comes around, Franchot would be the oldest governor to win election in at least a century. (AG Brian Frosh is reputedly not interested in being Governor.)

As for Hogan and Trump, that’s a matchup which seems like oil and water. While I’m sure Hogan respects the business acumen of Trump, the bombast The Donald brings is a polarizing feature among both parties that Hogan is likely to avoid. Hogan was indebted to Chris Christie for campaigning on his behalf, but if I were to pick a remaining hopeful Hogan would back he probably lines up best with fellow Governor John Kasich. But Hogan may just steer clear of an endorsement until mid-April, seeing who is still in the race.

Who will vote for Vogt now?

January 28, 2014 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Who will vote for Vogt now? 

The uphill battle is over.

This morning I received the following release in my e-mail:

David Vogt, a Marine combat veteran and former Military Times’ Marine of the Year, announced on Tuesday morning that he will not continue to seek the Republican nomination for United States Congress in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. The seat is currently held by Democrat John Delaney. Vogt has been very critical of Congressman Delaney’s continued support for the Affordable Care Act and his partisan voting record. “His voting record and lack of presence within our district are exactly why he needs to be replaced during the 2014 election cycle,” Vogt said.

Vogt launched his campaign for Congress in June of last year and was the first Republican to officially file with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

“After spending much time discussing with friends, family, and supporters, I have decided to withdraw from the Republican primary in the Sixth District,” Vogt announced. “I have traveled all over this district in the past several months, and I have spoken with countless Marylanders who have been adversely affected by a failed Big Government agenda. I will continue to offer my fervent support of returning statesmanship to our district, state and country regardless of candidacy. In direct regard to our 6th Congressional District, I wish Dan Bongino the best of luck in his fight to restore conservative principles to Western Maryland.”

“Although I am withdrawing from this race, I remain committed to our community, our state, and our nation. I will continue my work in assisting our military veterans and their families as I have with the Major General Boyd Cook Memorial Foundation, Toys-for-Tots and Operation Second Chance and I look forward to continue being involved in our futures together as neighbors and friends. The fight for liberty and the advancement of the American Dream is never finished, and it must be fought for on every level: municipal, county, state and national. If we forfeit the fight on any battlefield, then we have forfeited the rights given by God alone,” Vogt exclaimed.

Vogt is considering entering a more local race during the 2014 cycle.

So Vogt just ceded ground to Dan Bongino in the Sixth District Congressional race, although there was little doubt Bongino had the campaign funding and name recognition to prevail in the primary anyway. What interested me, though, was the last line.

In looking up the district where Vogt’s hometown of Brunswick lies, it appears Vogt now resides in District 4. In the former configuration, however, Brunswick was in District 3B, represented by Delegate Michael Hough. If Vogt were to run for a state seat, he’s now in the same district as Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley, along with Hough and fellow Delegates Kathy Afzali and Kelly Schulz, who represent the current District 4A. All of them are Republicans, but at this point, Schulz is the only one who has filed for a House seat. Interestingly enough, though, today the lone person who had filed for State Senate, Jason Miller, withdrew from the race – seems to be coincidental timing there, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, if Vogt were to aspire to a County Council position, he would be in the newly-created Frederick County Council District 1, where no Republican has filed.

Of course, I don’t believe in “turns” nor do I think anyone is entitled to a legislative seat. But the chances are pretty good that Vogt may step out of the frying pan into the fire. We’ll see how his political moxie is built in a local race, should he choose to go that route.

Allen West: Dan’s the man

September 16, 2013 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Allen West: Dan’s the man 

Once again taking what would normally be a fairly localized race and nationalizing it, Sixth District Congressional candidate Dan Bongino announced his first major national endorsement today: former Congressman and conservative darling Lt. Col. Allen West.

In a statement released today, Bongino simply noted:

I am both proud and honored to receive the endorsement of Lt. Col. West, a man who has developed a large national following due to his reliance on principles and not cheap party politics.

There will be a formal event October 10 in Washington, D.C. to officially make the endorsement, in which Dan is joined by three other officeseekers.

But this is important in nationalizing the race because West’s Guardian Fund has plenty of support nationwide, despite the fact West was a one-term Congressman from Florida. Needless to say, I don’t think Dan is going to honor opponent David Vogt’s call for a campaign finance limit in the race, perhaps because incumbent Congressman John Delaney has plenty of money himself.

Meanwhile, Dan continues to rack up support from potential TEA Party peers in Washington and beyond – but it brings a point to mind. Obviously. since we are nowhere near the Sixth District, I have no idea how the grassroots in that region are taking to Bongino since he’s an outsider to the district. I know he had plenty of support in his statewide race from a plethora of volunteers, but I need to be convinced that the same passion is there this time around. While some had fun at Vogt’s handling of the Richard Douglas endorsement, having someone familiar with the lay of the land like Bud Otis can be an advantage as well. It means Vogt might be showing up at the right events and meeting the correct people therein.

But can that compete with the influence and power of Allen West? Only time will tell.

Some Syria reaction

September 10, 2013 · Posted in National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Some Syria reaction 

Among those who have weighed in on the Syrian issue are our Congressman and two would-be Congressmen from the Sixth District.

First District representative Andy Harris, who has a vote in the matter, put out this statement today:

After much consideration, including attending a classified intelligence briefing, I do not believe using military force against Syria is in the national security interest of the United States. At this point, I won’t be supporting any authorization to use military force if it is brought to a vote in Congress. The use of chemical weapons is a very serious matter for the international community that should not be tolerated, but this Administration has failed to lay out a coherent strategy for why using American military force in this situation is in the best interest of the country.

Fairly straightforward and boilerplate; I could probably find similar statements coming from six dozen other Republicans in Congress.

On the other hand, those who are running in District 6 had more of a rhetorical flourish. Since he was first to the post, let me present what candidate David Vogt had to say:

The Congressional vote on Syrian military intervention will most likely occur this week. While there is heated debate from many sides arguing for various actions, I am calling on Congressman John Delaney to consider the overwhelming opinion of the American people and to side with reason, not emotion, in this debate.

I suffer no illusions about Bashar al-Assad or the vile act of a leader murdering his own people. The suffering and death of the Syrian people are very real. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

However, the difficulty, as an outside nation, is in determining not only if we should intervene, but how? What is our objective, and what is our exit strategy? Are we accomplishing a goal, fighting for a stalemate, or further destabilizing the conflict? Would we be removing chemical weapons from the hands of a tyrant, yet creating the risk that they fall under the control of an unknown opposition force with their own agenda? After all, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

Faced with more questions than answers and such little international support, we must balance our desire to police the world with our obligation to act rationally. This particular situation is one with no defined goal, and American interests are not threatened by a lack of action. Diplomatic options have not been exhausted, and it is not even clear that they have been fully explored.

The world should take a stand against the use of chemical weapons in any country, but the time to have made a direct impact on Syria has passed. This situation has devolved from a humanitarian mission to a political game in which the American people want no part.

In a case of the people versus the establishment, the people’s voice must always be heard. This Marine is saying no to the establishment and no to military intervention.

I would vote “No” on this resolution, and I am calling on Congressman Delaney to do the same. The Congressman should not vote to authorize military conflict, but should instead push the President and his peers to pursue a solution that places the chemical weapons under secure, international control.

This was actually quite perceptive because I think this is the solution currently being favored as the answer to avoid direct American military involvement. Vogt makes the great point that if action were to occur, it should have already commenced.

Meanwhile, fellow Republican candidate Dan Bongino had his own thoughts:

Last week during a Senate hearing on the use of force in Syria, Sen. Bob Corker asked what the United States is “seeking” in Syria. Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had no answer. “I can’t answer that, what we’re seeking,” he said.

This is indicative of the Obama administration’s lack of a discernible foreign policy strategy towards Syria. A limited strike in Syria is nothing more than a face-saving measure for President Obama which could potentially draw America into yet another full-scale war in the Middle East.

After a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan where billions of dollars were spent and thousands of lives were lost, a military intervention in a Syrian civil war that is not connected to the national security interest of the United States is the wrong course of action for our nation.

Dan makes the case, by tying this situation into that in Iraq and Afghanistan, that Americans are tired of war – and he’s right. I’m not as sure this situation is equal because we have no al-Qaeda or Taliban to use as an enemy; in fact, the solution advocated assumes that only the Syrian government has chemical weapons, not the rebel groups. If the rebels have secured their own supply we just barked up the wrong tree.

For his part, District 6 Congressman John Delaney was coy on his Syria stance in a September 1 interview with WTTG-TV in Washington. He hasn’t made a public declaration on Syria since that point.

If there will be a vote of Syria – after President Obama’s remarks this evening, it’s anyone’s guess whether one will occur – it’s plain that Andy Harris will be a “no” vote, siding with the American people unconvinced our national interest would be at stake from events there and having no desire to lob a few cruise missiles into the beleaguered nation. I suspect that will meet with the approval of his district.

Finally, as an aside: shouldn’t we be hearing from Republican candidates from the other six districts on this?

Bongino: I won’t be a lifer

August 24, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics · Comments Off on Bongino: I won’t be a lifer 

Expanding on a possible “outsider vs. establishment” theme to get him through a Sixth District primary against at least two challengers (David Vogt and, more recently, 2012 aspirant Brandon Rippeon) Dan Bongino promised “I will always be one of you. I will never be one of them.”

At this time, the front of his campaign website has four promises he’s vowing to keep: in brief, they are donating half his salary to charity, not voting for anything which “exempts the political class”, no free vacations (or as he calls them, foreign junkets), and most importantly to me, a six-year term limit. On that point Dan says:

I will serve no more than 6 years or three terms in the House of Representatives. One cannot speak of term limits within a specific office while insulated within that office from the very people they are elected to serve.

That’s only half of what Andy Harris promised informally when he took office in 2010. But what’s most intriguing to me is that Dan will only be 46 when that time is up, in a year where nothing will be on the ballot except a Presidential election and his seat. I know the 2020 election seems a long way off, but if Dan holds true to his word he would be on the ballot in 2014, 2016, and 2018.

Now that doesn’t mean, of course, that Dan couldn’t serve just two terms in Washington and then decide to run for governor, presumably in this case against a Democratic incumbent. Another option would be what one could call the Martin O’Malley option: spend the two years between the end of the term and the election stumping for higher office. That would mean a 2022 run for governor, when the seat would be open unless a new governor is elected in 2018.

Needless to say there’s a whole lot of speculation in all this, but one has to ask: when Bob Ehrlich won a Congressional seat in 1994, did anyone foresee it as a springboard to the governorship eight years later? Maybe lightning could strike twice in Maryland.

Another vote for Vogt

It’s beginning to look like a race out in the Sixth District, but the question is now becoming one of whether the establishment Republican is really Dan Bongino, who earned his stripes by garnering the Maryland GOP’s senatorial nomination last April. Consider that Dan’s closest opponent in that race, Richard Douglas, is now backing Vogt:

Service in the armed forces is not the only quality required of a conscientious member of Congress. But it is an enormous asset. For this reason, I believe that former Marine rifleman and Afghanistan veteran David Vogt is the best choice to represent Maryland District 6 in the U.S House of Representatives.

During the last twelve years, our nation’s most important national security enterprises have been combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. After September 11, 2001, Americans like Mr. Vogt enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and other branches of the armed forces to perform our nation’s dangerous and demanding work. They volunteered without fanfare, fully aware that they would be deployed to combat theaters, rifle in hand. Their willingness to go in harm’s way is the essence of service and sacrifice.

Even Americans who opposed U.S. operations in Iraq or Afghanistan can appreciate the worth of such badly-needed qualities, today, in every walk of our often-troubled national life. These qualities are important because the interests of Maryland and our nation often demand that elected representatives in Congress, regardless of party, cross swords with the people who govern us from the White House, the Pentagon and other Executive branch departments and independent agencies.

Staring down the President, the Pentagon, a massive bureaucracy, or your own party leadership to serve the people takes genuine courage. But that is a House member’s duty, regardless of the political consequences. Armed forces veterans — particularly those with combat experience in the ranks — understand and have lived the duties of self-sacrifice and courage. They are less likely to become the star-struck cheerleaders for bad military, foreign, and domestic policy which, sadly, populate Congress today.

Service, seasoning and wisdom matter. Marylanders have had a bellyful of tough-talking lightweights in public life. Mr. Vogt is a step forward. He is the Republican primary candidate who has demonstrated the courage, seasoning and experience required to represent Marylanders well.

Mr. Vogt’s Afghanistan service in the U.S. Marine Corps did not make him a better American than his electoral opponents. But it will make him a better member of the U.S. Congress.

I’ll leave aside the question of Douglas’s backing vis-a-vis the question of establishment vs. conservative for the moment, because it’s worth pointing out that Bongino and Douglas were rivals for the same job last year, and the backbone of Richard’s campaign was his foreign policy experience as well as his tenure as a Senate staffer. At the same time, the question of Afghanistan was still in the air and Dan made a compelling case for pulling out, which automatically and immediately puts him at loggerheads with the Afghan campaign veteran Vogt. For that reason alone, I’m not surprised at this endorsement, which could help Vogt most in the extreme western part of the district where Douglas prevailed in the 2012 primary.

But this is also shaping up to be yet another establishment vs. outsider proxy battle, with Bongino again playing the role of outsider against Douglas in an election with few established names. It’s true that Vogt has no elected political experience, but the same could be said for Douglas – yet he was embraced by a number of MDGOP insiders as well as those inside the Beltway.

I find it interesting, though, that Bongino hasn’t chosen to begin rolling out endorsements yet. Maybe he feels less need to since it’s implied that many of those who backed his Senate run will do the same for a Congressional bid, but if Vogt’s ball keeps rolling he could make it a race. While it’s very unscientific, the most recent Red Maryland poll gives Bongino a solid – but not convincing – 17-point edge. Considering his name recognition from being on the ballot last year, that’s got to be too close for comfort.

So how will Dan Bongino play this? I can only speculate, but I suspect the big push will begin after Labor Day and it will center on pocketbook issues.

Meanwhile, there are some in the online media who are questioning the way the Vogt campaign is being run, particularly staffing decisions. There’s no question that Dan Bongino has rubbed some in the Maryland GOP the wrong way, but one name in particular continues to pop up on the radar screen of Jeff Quinton and his Quinton Report, and apparently that person is now involved in Vogt’s campaign as well.

Leaving aside the personality aspect, Jeff makes a valid point – why would a story like this be buried on a weekend? (I received this word before this evening, but it was embargoed to today and I respected the campaign’s wishes.) One might posit that a release on Saturday assures more attention during a slow news period and perhaps placement in the Sunday paper, but having done this gig for awhile I know the ebb and flow of readership and when certain material works best and Saturday is an unusual day for political activity like this. And having noticed a similar line on a Facebook posting from Monday, arguably that would have been the time to lead with it if the endorsement were in the can.

So far we have proven that first-time campaigners make mistakes. The question is whether the unforced errors will doom the Vogt campaign.

The Bartlett influence

July 29, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The Bartlett influence 

Vogt and Otis

The photo on the left would seem to be a fairly normal stock shot of two people standing in front of a political logo. But its significance is that of tying one generation of Republican office holder with a new generation of GOP office seeker.

Perhaps the name Bud Otis has no meaning to most of you reading this, but those in the know out in the Sixth Congressional District are aware that Bud was a longtime Chief of Staff for former Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, splitting with the former Congressman late in his tenure over, among other things, the idea of Bud running to replace Roscoe.

But as the electoral cycle turns to 2014, it’s interesting to note that Otis is already behind a candidate, and it’s not the apparent odds-on favorite in Dan Bongino. Instead, this photo and an accompanying release I’ll quote below came from the campaign of fellow Republican hopeful David Vogt, who’s trying to recover from one of the political missteps to be expected from a neophyte candidate. Those remarks don’t seem to have an effect on the former Bartlett staffer.

David Vogt, Republican candidate for Congress in the 6th District, is happy to announce that Bud Otis, who served as Chief of Staff to former 6th District Representative Roscoe Bartlett, has joined his campaign. Otis served the citizens of the 6th District in Bartlett’s Congressional office from 2001 until 2011. Otis fully endorses Vogt and will serve as Senior Campaign Advisor to Vogt.

In some respects, this will play into the hand of Bongino as his typical modus operandi is to portray himself as a political outsider, so having one of his primary opponents endorsed by the chief of staff of a former officeholder would just be the work of yet another Washington insider. While David tries to portray himself as an outsider, too, perhaps Otis’s influence will convince Vogt to junk his plea for a $500,000 spending limit on the 2014 campaign. That’s the sign of a weak candidate who is afraid he won’t get his message out, particularly against a fairly proven fundraiser in Dan Bongino and a multimillionaire incumbent in John Delaney.

Yet there is something to be said for political experience, and Vogt indeed lives in the Sixth District, unlike his two major opponents. It also means that any influence from the former incumbent will be behind the scenes, as Otis was thought to be a viable candidate leading into 2012 before Roscoe axed him. Still, Bud sat out that race, and remember: Bartlett was respected in western Maryland, which is the home base for a significant portion of Sixth District Republicans, so having Bud as a political adviser shouldn’t hurt.

Unofficially official

June 3, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics · 1 Comment 

Bongino for Congress

I don’t know about you, but I like the looks of that.

What he described as “probably the worst kept secret” in Maryland politics was confirmed by Dan at the state Young Republican convention over the weekend. This came after the story broke at The Quinton Report and The Red White Blue on Wednesday, but the rumor began to spread a day or two earlier.

So the question becomes: what is he up against?

Well, at the state level no one has officially filed for the Sixth District Congressional seat. But FEC records show one current challenger in David Vogt, who is a Republican but has not shown any financial activity as of yet. (Alex Mooney is also on this list, but we know he’s departed the state.)

Meanwhile, incumbent John Delaney filed an amended first quarter FEC report which showed his financial situation wasn’t as strong as one might think: only $43,094 cash on hand and $638,675 in debts owed mainly to himself ($573,250 – including $160,000 incurred after the election, in December) but also to three other persons/entities: fundraising consultant Barbara Kaltenbach, campaign manager Justin Schall, and political consulting firm SKD Knickerbocker. So one could argue Delaney’s not paying his bills, which is sort of amazing when you consider the $69,500 in special interest money he collected over the first three months of the year.

Even Bongino’s cash on hand from his defunct Senate campaign at the end of 2012 was more than Delaney has now: $58,813 remained in his coffers at that point, although it’s likely much of it was spent getting the Cede No Ground PAC off the ground.

Certainly the situation of Dan’s entrance to the race, considering that he lives in Severna Park – well away from the Sixth District boundaries – is tempered by the fact that Delaney doesn’t live in the district, either. Granted, he’s less than a mile outside the lines but I have it on good authority that the property Dan alluded to in the Post story is very deep inside the Sixth District. Residency questions would not be a problem, and it would be almost impossible to gerrymander him out next time without a LOT of work.

And as I noted before in my previous speculation on the race, Dan carried the rural parts of the district over Ben Cardin while Roscoe Bartlett only carried Garrett and Allegany counties, somehow losing in Washington County. (Bartlett also lost badly in the portions of Frederick and Montgomery counties cherrypicked for the new Sixth District.) For all the talk about how much Montgomery County influenced the district, this is only a D + 4 district and 2014 will not be a Presidential year. I’m certain he broke this down by precinct, as I alluded to before.

So is a Bongino Congressional run worth the effort? Obviously he thinks so, otherwise he would have stayed in the race for governor, which was one he said he thought he could win. Moreover, with this being an election year for the Maryland General Assembly, there won’t be nearly as many Republicans who consider the idea of dabbling in a Congressional race knowing they have their seat to fall back upon. (I also reported LeRoy Myers may run for Congress, but some have also speculated Myers may run for a local seat in Allegany County instead. He announced last month he wouldn’t seek another term in Annapolis.)

If this is so, the field is relatively clear for Bongino insofar as the GOP nod goes. Because it’s not such a safe Republican district, winning the GOP primary is no longer a ticket to Congress as it was, which will also decrease the number of serious challengers.

On balance, this seems like a politically savvy move; one which would serve the heartland of Western Maryland well if Bongino wins.

Rumor has it…

Certain quarters of the Maryland blogosphere are reporting that one prospective participant in the governor’s race is going off in another direction. A website called The Red White Blue as well as Jeff Quinton at RedState have both made the assertion that something I heard when speaking with a representative of another politician was true – Dan Bongino will be announcing his intention to reclaim the Sixth Congressional District seat for the GOP. Shades of Alex Mooney!

This is particularly interesting to me when you consider that just last week Bongino put out a release purportedly critical of Martin O’Malley:

Sadly, the plague of bureaucratic, government corruption is not limited to the IRS and DOJ. It appears that the O’Malley administration is attempting to rival the Obama administration in bureaucratic ineptitude with its newest scandal. The lavish, inappropriate spending of federal “stimulus” funds by Baltimore City school staff on fancy dinners and expensive watches is another sad example of the very real penalty of an increasingly unaccountable and growing government. The growth of both federal and local bureaucracy has created a ‘soft tyranny’ of diffuse responsibility. When government grows large enough to diffuse responsibility among many than the responsibility for managing it effectively belongs to no one.

But that O’Malley criticism was absent in a statement Dan made yesterday on Facebook. Instead, it leaned more in a direction critical of Washington:

The recent spate of scandals is indicative of a trend line moving painfully in the direction of a “Members-Only” government.

In over a decade within the ranks of the Secret Service, and many years in the White House, I was unfortunate enough to have been a witness to this system, which has become strictly insider-driven.

Those who are appropriately “connected” live by a completely different set of rules & government means something completely different to them. The tax code, healthcare policy, election law, environmental regulation and many other areas have been corrupted and are being used as tools to both punish and reward.

There are solutions out there but you must push your Representatives. A simplified tax code, patient-centered healthcare reform, a reduction in the burgeoning administrative state and the rolling back of many administrative functions to the states would reverse this destructive trend and help restore us to vibrant growth and give our children hope that this is not the best it is ever going to be.

Interesting choice of words: “you must push your Representatives.”

Yet the obvious question I first had when I heard this assertion was: Bongino lives nowhere near the Sixth District. There’s nothing stopping Dan from moving to that area prior to the 2014 election, though, nor does the law preclude a “carpetbagger” from representing a district because Congressmen need only live within the state they represent. Perhaps it’s still the second-best Maryland option for a Republican despite Roscoe Bartlett’s 20-point loss last year. (Andy Harris isn’t going anywhere.)

But if you look at election results, the numbers indicate an uphill battle for Bongino: he ran seven points behind Bartlett’s pace in Montgomery County – albeit these are countywide numbers for Dan and his was a three-way race.

On the other hand, Bongino carried Frederick County over Ben Cardin (although not necessarily the Sixth District portion, which Bartlett lost by 20 points.) Bongino was 400 votes behind Bartlett in Washington County, just over 1,000 votes behind in Allegany, and a little over 200 behind in Garrett. In the latter three counties, though, Rob Sobhani drew 19 percent, 13 percent, and 4 percent respectively. These counties also lie completely within the Sixth District, permitting a more direct comparison.

So I’m sure Dan Bongino has the same information I do, and probably more since he has the time and staff to delve into precinct-by-precinct results. The obvious question is whether he can make up twenty points.

One thing Democrat John Delaney has now that he didn’t have in 2012, though: a voting record. But John will have plenty of money, and perhaps the one advantage Bongino would have over would-be challengers like Delegate LeRoy Myers – who decided earlier this month not to seek another term as Delegate – is the success he had nationalizing his Senate campaign.

Of course, all this speculation could be for naught, just as the phony Bongino/Keyes ticket was last month. This is doubly true considering the source, who would likely benefit from Bongino skipping the governor’s race. But if anything it proves that Dan Bongino has some mojo as a prospective candidate for something, whether he stays home or becomes a proverbial carpetbagger.

Maybe Andy Harris should watch his back.

Over the line

The latest figures are in, and the redistricting petition has enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

It didn’t appear they received a whole lot of help from the Eastern Shore, however. Here’s the totals for the nine counties so far, although they probably won’t change much as the final couple thousand signers are validated:

  • Cecil – 500
  • Queen Anne’s – 430
  • Worcester – 255
  • Talbot – 251
  • Kent – 215
  • Wicomico – 143
  • Dorchester – 128
  • Caroline – 125
  • Somerset – 20

By my quick addition that’s 2,067 signatures delivered from an area which is about 1/10 of the state’s population. So we weren’t exactly proportional here.

I think part of the reason we trailed behind the rest of the state is the fact the Eastern Shore will almost certainly stay as the most significant geographic part of the First District. But had one proposed map been adopted, a rendition which actually split the lower end of the Eastern Shore south of Salisbury off and placed it into the Fifth Congressional District with southern Maryland, I believe we would have contributed thousands more signatures. Counties most affected (Anne Arundel and Baltimore) combined for about 2/5 of the total signatures, with another third coming from counties which were (or still are) in the Sixth Congressional District. With the radical changes caused by gerrymandering, that’s understandable.

Of course, we can count on the Maryland Democrat Party to try and thwart the will of the people. Upon the announcement that enough signatures were turned in to give the referendum a chance to make it to the ballot, they sniveled that the petition drive was only a “desperate partisan power grab.” Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Anyway, here’s their money quote from ten days ago:

Pending the State Board of Elections’ determination that the validated petition signatures satisfy constitutional requirements, the Maryland Democratic Party will weigh all options to protect the integrity of the referendum process and ensure that every petition was completed and collected in line with Maryland laws and regulations.

This from the party who wanted to have all circulator signatures notarized in an effort to disenfranchise petition signers, yet wails that any attempt at sensible photo voter identification requirements at the polls represents “voter suppression.” Yeah, they’re hypocrites. But most thinking people knew that, and they know their message is “see you in court.”

So today was a good day as perhaps yet another reason for good, conservative Marylanders to cast their ballot this November took shape. Resounding votes against in-state tuition for illegal aliens, gay marriage, and overly partisan gerrymandering which paid no attention to preserving the integrity of political subdivisions might convince the party in power that, hey, we need to listen to the voice of reason once in awhile.  (Victories for Dan Bongino and 5 or 6 Congressional nominees might also pound home a message too. Listening to Democrats and the state’s primary media outlets – but I repeat myself – spin that one would be a riot.)

But just remember we have to win these fights to set ourselves up for more success in 2014.

Next up: a chicken in every pot?

March 29, 2012 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2012, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on Next up: a chicken in every pot? 

I get a lot of e-mail from Congressional candidates; it’s part of the job. But this one intrigued me, slight grammatical errors, sentence fragments, misspellings and all.

Maryland’s 6th District Republican voters will have a little bit more spending money after today.

Thanks to Peter James, who is mailing voters 1/2 Green JUST MONEY notes.

“The bankers loaned themselves trillions of dollars from money they essentially created out of thin air. I thought the average Joe could use an interest free loan for a change. So I am mailing money to voters throughout the district.”, James said.

According a recent partial Federal Reserve audit the Fed loaned $16 trillion at near ZERO interest. $7 trillion of these loans went to foreign banks.

US banks now have $1.5 trillion in excess reserves for which the American taxpayer is paying them interest.

“While America suffers, big bankers grow rich on interest payments on their excess reserves. These reserves represent $1 million for each and every one of 12.8 million unemployed in America that could just as easily be injected into the economy in the form of low interest loans.”, exclaimed James.

All JUST MONEY notes are backed and redeemable in lettuce. A growing list of farmers and local merchants redeem JUST MONEY for goods and services. The advantages of a JUST MONEY over private bank credit money is that it bears no interest and does not loses it value over time.

The concept is explained in somewhat more depth here, but if the money were legal tender wouldn’t this be considered buying votes?

Peter is no stranger to politics, and it may come as a surprise that he actually has been a Republican nominee for Congress before. In 2008 James won the nod in the Fourth District over three other candidates before losing to Donna Edwards in the general election with just 13% of the vote. (He did get 26.7% in the Montgomery County portion of the district, though.)

But one has to ask whether the “Just Money” is really all that much different than the system we have now. After all, even if one pegs the value of the currency to that of a head of lettuce or other commodities, wouldn’t an oversupply of the commodity make the currency worth less? Truly it’s no different than the farmer who considers whether to plant wheat, corn, or soybeans based on what his prediction of the market will be come harvest time, except the farmer is paid in dollars which he can use in other places. Sure, the value of a dollar isn’t what it used to be years ago but there’s no guarantee that Just Money will buy the half-head of lettuce a year from now either unless the grower is convinced he can use it for other items, too. Perhaps it’s more like a coupon in this respect.

Moreover, there are many methods of trading value which don’t involve dollars. For example, we’ve often used the lasagna trick for getting people to help us move or do other tasks – sharing in a pan of good lasagna can be worth the afternoon of toil.

So in essence James is trying to buy votes, and enrich himself in the process. Because he is one of the farmers who accepts Just Money at his place of business (I presume it’s a vegetable stand of some sort) he would also be able to receive actual dollars for other items purchased as well – I sincerely doubt his stand is completely independent of our national legal tender. I can pretty much guarantee you that not all of his suppliers are Just Money fans.

I get the point that we need to shore up the purchasing power of our dollar, and the best way to do so is to not continually ratchet up debt. But sending out Just Money notes seems more like self-promotion than actually addressing the issue.

Oh, and Peter: please have someone review your press releases before they’re sent out. I’d be happy to give it a shot, but you’ll have to pay me more than Just Money.

Odds and ends number 42

As you likely know, this is the post where I pick out a few items worth a paragraph or three but not a full post. So here goes.

Polling is in the news these days – sometimes as a real reflection of the political scene, and sometimes just to make news and push a particular agenda. There are two recent polls which I believe reflect the latter.

I’m usually not too trusting of polls in which I can’t find a political or geographical breakdown, and a recent Washington Post poll fits this bill. Taken simply as a sample of 1,064 adults in Maryland, the Post poll gives Martin O’Malley a 55% approval vs. 36% disapproval – compare that to the 53-40 split in the recent Gonzales Poll, which I can easily ascertain subgroups and methodology in. Other disagreements: a 50-44 split in favor of gay marriage on the Post poll vs. a 49-47 split in favor on Gonzales and the “key issue” question: the economy was the top choice of 49% in Gonzales but only 32% on the Post poll.

Without seeing the methodology besides the sample size, my guess is that the local Washington D.C. area was oversampled by the Post. Obviously the economy is better there than in some other portions of the state, and since the area is more liberal than the rest of the state (hard to believe, but true) the other numbers seem to point in that direction as well.

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  • 2018 Election

    Election Day is November 6 for all of us. With the Maryland primary by us and a shorter widget, I’ll add the Delaware statewide federal offices (Congress and U.S. Senate) to the mix once their July 10 filing deadline is passed. Their primary is September 6.

    Maryland

    Governor

    Larry Hogan (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Shawn Quinn (Libertarian) – Facebook

    Ben Jealous (D) – Facebook Twitter

    Ian Schlakman (Green) Facebook Twitter

     

    U.S. Senate

    Tony Campbell (R) – Facebook Twitter

    Ben Cardin (D – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Arvin Vohra (Libertarian) – Facebook Twitter

    There are three independent candidates currently listed as seeking nomination via petition: Steve Gladstone, Michael Puskar, and Neal Simon. All have to have the requisite number of signatures in to the state BoE by August 6.

     

    U.S. Congress -1st District

    Andy Harris (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Jenica Martin (Libertarian) – Facebook Twitter

    Jesse Colvin (D) – Facebook Twitter

     

    State Senate – District 37

    Addie Eckardt (R – incumbent) – Facebook

    Holly Wright (D) – Facebook

     

    Delegate – District 37A

    Frank Cooke (R) – Facebook

    Sheree Sample-Hughes (D – incumbent) – Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 37B (elect 2)

    Chris Adams (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Johnny Mautz (R – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Dan O’Hare (D) – Facebook

     

    State Senate – District 38

    Mary Beth Carozza (R) – Facebook Twitter

    Jim Mathias (D – incumbent) Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38A

    Charles Otto (R – incumbent)

    Kirkland Hall, Sr. (D) – Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38B

    Carl Anderton, Jr. (R – incumbent) Facebook Twitter

     

    Delegate – District 38C

    Wayne Hartman (R) – Facebook

     

    Delaware

     

    U.S. Senate

     

    Republican:

    Rob ArlettFacebook Twitter

    Roque de la FuenteFacebook Twitter

    Gene Truono, Jr. –  Facebook

     

    Libertarian (no primary, advances to General):

    Nadine Frost – Facebook

     

    Democrat:

    Tom Carper (incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

    Kerri Evelyn HarrisFacebook Twitter

     

    Green (no primary, advances to General):

    Demitri Theodoropoulos

     

     

    Congress (at-large):

     

    Republican:

    Lee MurphyFacebook Twitter

    Scott Walker

     

    Democrat (no primary, advances to General):

    Lisa Blunt Rochester (D – incumbent) – Facebook Twitter

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