For the Wicomico County Republican Club, the 2007-2010 election cycle came to an end tonight; it was the final scheduled meeting before the all-important local and state elections.
As always we led off with the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. It was then announced that two of our three featured speakers could not attend due to a conflict of one sort or another – among the two at-large County Council hopefuls Bob Culver was booked for another event and for Matt Holloway his farming had to take precedence. This left our candidate for County Executive Joe Ollinger as the lone scheduled speaker.
So we heard our treasurer’s report, which brought up a few questions about the club’s expenditures – you may have heard some of them if you listen to local radio. Much of the rest went to various candidates.
Once we reviewed the minutes from September’s meeting it was time to hear from Joe.
After joking that he really didn’t need to speak because he had the votes in the room sewn up, Joe wanted to make sure everyone checked out his video. He even had cards made which simply repeated the website his video could be found at. But rather than pass out a number of cards, I’ll just go a step further.
So far Joe’s had “great feedback” on the video and he’s been out campaigning “where the most people are.” Dustin Mills noted later that he sees Joe everywhere he goes on the campaign trail here in Wicomico County. Another video Joe pointed to was one done by the Daily Times, a 30-minute show where he answered a number of questions from the editorial staff.
However, aside from the “very positive” feedback he gets, Joe isn’t sure how the campaign is going. Ollinger mentioned the point-counterpoint featured in Sunday’s Daily Times, and blasted opponent Rick Pollitt for “lack(ing) any vision whatsoever…(he) can’t see the possibilities.” Yet Joe’s radio advertisements are quite positive, encouraging everyone to get out and vote. Joe also related that a debate between him and Pollitt is all but ruled out.
Some of the questions Joe answered regarded changes in procedure at the county’s landfill. The questioner wanted to know about converting the large amount of cellulose brought there into alcohol and allowing people to claim usable items tossed out via a licensing system of some sort. Ollinger said they sounded like good ideas which could merit further study.
He also answered a question about the county’s public information officer – “Jim Fineran won’t be there” in January should Joe win. In addition, Ollinger is considering searching for a new county administrator once the FY2012 budgetary process is complete.
Other observations Joe made were that the campaign was a “very enjoyable experience,” and that he’s “become a far bigger fan of the firemen” since he’s spoken with so many in the county and learned about their jobs. He also opined that County Council could learn a lot from some of the smaller municipalities.
Turning back to club business and reports, it was announced that the “Fire Pelosi” bus tour would be in Salisbury Friday morning at 9:30 at the Victory Center (the former Hollywood Video adjacent to SU.) Not only will it feature RNC Chair Michael Steele but also Bob Ehrlich and Andy Harris as well.
Dustin Mills gave the Lower Shore Young Republican report, which was simple: phone banking each Wednesday night and “doing everything we can” for candidates.
A poll watching report was given by Greg Belcher, who reported “a couple mild successes” in keeping poll workers in line. Mainly they get in the habit of asking leading questions when they’re not supposed to. “The Democrats are pretty desperate,” he added.
Giving his final Central Committee report, the outgoing Chair John Bartkovich thanked the WCRC for the support they’ve given over his 12 year tenure. He predicted the campaigns will get dirtier, and candidates should respond immediately.
Bartkovich also announced the Central Committee would be airing radio ads this week, and chided Jim Mathias in particular for his ads – “he sounds more conservative than I am.” (Just look at the record and you’ll see the real truth.) He also advised us to vote for the county issues and against the state ones, and concluded, “we’ve had a good cycle (and) good candidates who work hard.”
“I’m going out on top,” said John.
Speaking on his campaign, Dustin Mills also thanked those in attendance and said as well that “it’s been a fantastic ride.” Hinting that Rudy Cane would be a lame duck if he wins because he’s considering this his last term, Dustin said of the incumbent “he’s not good enough” for the district. (I say we should retire Cane now – why wait?)
Gail Bartkovich thanked us for our support as well, and noted the comprehensive plan and zoning were two key upcoming issues.
Bill Smith of the Orphan’s Court again plugged his two Democratic cohorts, they “deserve to be reelected.” (He can do that as the lone Republican standing for the three spots.)
We also received thanks via letter from Matt Holloway, Addie Eckardt, Andy Harris, Bob Caldwell, and Rich Colburn for the club’s contribution to their efforts.
Some final reports came from Daryl Ann Dunigan, who reminded the group about phone banking and door-to-door efforts from headquarters; Dave Parker regarding Wednesday’s AFP meeting, and Woody Willing, who wondered why more GOP candidates weren’t campaigning at the early voting site.
Finally, the next meeting will be November 22. Most likely it will be a fairly short meeting to help plan the Christmas Party and analyze how the election went. It will also feature a new presenter of the Central Committee report.