First the bad news: the Pathfinders program scheduled by the Maryland Republican Party for Wicomico County for Saturday, March 23 has been rescheduled for two Saturdays later, April 6. Conservatives who would like to learn more about the process of running for office will have to wait two more weeks for this valuable training.
This news, however, came as a minor annoyance on a day when the Maryland GOP was embarking on a new initiative. This from interim Chair Diana Waterman:
As Interim Chair of the Maryland Republican Party, it’s no question that Maryland matters to me, and if you’re reading this note it matters to you too. That doesn’t mean Maryland has been at its best lately. Between 2007 and 2010, 31,000 Marylanders have left the Free State thanks to the burdensome taxes–which get worse every year. These tax increases have gone hand-in-hand with a 30% increase in spending and growth in state debt payments of 50%.
In short, to make the Free State free again, we must get off this unsustainable path.
To make sure we play a critical role in Maryland’s turnaround, we are proud to launch our “Maryland Matters” campaign.
The initiative is a survey, which greeted me with the message that my input was “critical to the future of the Maryland Republican Party.” Well, I certainly hope so, since I went through a contested election to secure my position for the next 18 months or so.
So I filled my copy out, which took a few minutes and definitely gave them my two cents; in fact, I think I approached a quarter.
I can tell you what I thought the number one priority was in my eyes: candidate recruitment. Let me give you an example from 2010.
In that year, we had two Republican candidates for Governor, three for Comptroller, eleven for United States Senator, and 28 would-be Congressman (the actual number for each district varied from one to five.) But we didn’t manage to have an Attorney General candidate and we left nearly 50 General Assembly seats unopposed.
Now I understand there are people out there who believe they would be the perfect person to move from citizen to Congress or to the governor’s chair. I’ll grant it’s somewhat possible, and God bless people like Brian Murphy, Dan Bongino and Jim Rutledge for making their first try for elective office a statewide bid.
But there is something to be said about building a farm team, which is how the Democrats have managed to corner the market in this state. It really doesn’t matter if three or four of their local officeholders are defeated in a primary for a higher position, such as the situation which may develop in their primary for Governor between a sitting Lieutenant Governor, sitting Attorney General, sitting County Executive, and sitting Delegate – there are several more than willing to move up from local and small-district positions to take their place. In turn, there are those local campaign workers and volunteers being groomed to take the positions vacated at the bottom.
While I disagree with the words of some who think we have no shot in a statewide race, I do agree with the aspect of working on local races. In Wicomico County we have the majority of officeholders, but we allowed too many Democrats to slide by without a contest last time. Granted, here in Wicomico we had very few primaries for Republican nominations – while we had to run a primary in 2010, it was only necessary to eliminate one would-be aspirant in Council District 3 and one for the at-large Council seats. On the other hand, 13 of us ran for 9 Central Committee seats.
If we can get some good young candidates to run in seats where we need people willing to be the state leaders of the future after getting some valuable experience in the trenches, we can build up our own farm team. That’s not to say we don’t want those who have reached a certain age to run for positions where experience is desired (such as Orphans’ Court, Register of Wills, Clerk of the Court, and the like) but generally political futures are built on the legislative end of the spectrum.
Just to use myself as an example, the fact is I’m 48 years old and the second-youngest on my Central Committee – all of us have seen 40 come and go. I realize where my political future is and it’s not in the legislative arena – win or lose, I’ve decided the 2014 election is my last as an officeseeker. (I figure 12 to 16 years on Central Committees between two states is plenty, since I served four years in Ohio before moving here and was elected to my current post in 2006.) But those who would like to build up a political resume may be well-served by serving a term on the Central Committee.
So when Pathfinders training comes around, I encourage you to take advantage. Nearly 60 years ago President Dwight Eisenhower said:
Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage.
For most of the past two decades, politics has been my part-time profession and I think it’s made me a better person. Conservatives and pro-liberty freedom fighters: if you’ve been on the sidelines, it’s time to step out onto the field.