Monday, March 2, 2015

Potential Replacements for Mikulski

I am so sorry that I have not updated this blog very much. Today's announcement from Senator Barbara Mikulski motivated me to write for one simple reason; I love to prognosticate who will run for open seats. Let's start with the Democrats.

Chris Van Hollen

In political circles, everyone knows of Rep. Van Hollen's desire to move up to the Senate. Over the past decade he has worked to position himself as the favorite to win his party's nomination.

John Delaney

Watch Delaney. In 2012, he disrupted the O'Malley-Miller coronation of Robert Garagiola by easily winning the newly drawn district 7 primary. From there, he defeated the frail and tired Roscoe Bartlett. In 2014, Delaney held off a spirited challenge by Dan Bongino. Watch Delaney. He's independently wealthy and thus able to compete with a financially stacked Van Hollen.

Martin O'Malley

For some bizarre reason, O'Malley actually thinks he can win the United States presidency. Meanwhile, his hand picked successor, Anthony Brown, lost in what many viewed as a referendum on their record. Then last week, O'Malley received zero votes in a poll of 617 likely Iowa caucus participants. Anyway, many suspected that Mikulski would step down during his tenure as Governor. From there, he would appoint himself. Personally, I think that means his only chance at that seat has sailed.

John Sarbanes

Rep. Sarbanes has one of the most liberal voting records in the House. His dad, Paul Sarbanes, enjoyed immense popularity during his time as Senator. That would undoubtedly help John if she decides to make a run.

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

Mayor Rawlings-Blake does not act like many big city mayors. Rather, she's an independent-minded executive who has earned respect from both sides of the political aisle. Ms. Rawlings-Blake has also raised her stature by appearing on nationally syndicated talk shows.

Other possibilities who might consider, but would have an uphill primary battle--Doug Gansler, Kweisi Mfume, Peter Franchot and Dutch Ruppersberger.

As for the Republicans..

David Craig

The former Harford County Executive finished second behind Larry Hogan in the 2014 Republican primary. He now serves in Governor Hogan's cabinet. Interestingly, Craig has a history of defeating incumbent Democrats and may have an easier time with an open seat.

Jeannie Haddaway

Former Delegate Haddaway served as David Craig's running mate. She's attractive and an aggressive campaigner. She also helps buck the stereotype that the Republican Party is an old white guy's club.

Steve Schuh

Personally, I think Schuh will decline the temptation to run for Senate. Make no mistake though; he wants to run for Governor in 2022. A six year Senate term will transition nicely into that election cycle.

Dan Bongino

Mr. Bongino is an extremely likeable guy who has worked some tough beats in law enforcement. Unfortunately, filing in for Tom Marr, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity has caused him to move far away from the center. That's not the formula to win as a Republican in Maryland.

Andy Harris

Similar to Mr. Bongino, Rep Harris has positioned himself too far to the right for a statewide run in Maryland. Plus, Rep. Harris isn't as likeable as the other potential candidates on this list. The one positive I see in a Harris run is a new Republican Representative in District 1.

Bob Ehrlich

Former Governor Ehrlich has lost his last two runs for statewide office in Maryland. He also changes his message depending on the crowd. He has the name recognition to win the primary, but he'd get humiliated once again in the general.

Other possibilities who might consider, but would have an uphill primary battle--Charles Lollar, John Grasso, Pat McDonough and Michael Steele.

My March 2015 prediction is John Delaney versus Dan Bongino.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Larry Hogan-Great Expectations

Every few years, United States voters alternate their dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans. Every time either party seems headed toward extinction, the public grows tired of the one's in charge. Meanwhile in Maryland, the electorate just tends to hand the reigns from one Democrat to another. Well, for the second time in twelve years, they decided to select a Republican over a weak Democratic gubernatorial candidate. In doing so, the public has granted their approval for Governor-elect Hogan to pursue the ideas he presented on the campaign trail.

When Bob Ehrlich got elected in 2002, he epitomized the term of Republican in name only (RINO). For example, he raised fees, increased government spending and appointed liberal-leaning judges. In other words, he acted like a Democrat. And while that earned him an approval rating of almost 60%, the voters decided to go back to their comfort zone by selecting Democrat Martin O’Malley over him four years later. Ironically, eventual disgust with O'Malley caused Democrats help elect Hogan.

No doubt, Mike Miller and Mike Busch will act like clowns in hopes of destroying Hogan over the next four years. Like it or not, they would rather put the wishes of the Democratic Party over the best interest of Maryland families. Still, Hogan must overcome this and take his message back to the people who elected him to do the job. Regardless, the majority of Democratic legislators will not approve his plan to rollback any taxes. So, what can Hogan do to combat this?

In Maryland, the Governor submits the budget and the General Assembly cannot add any new spending to it. Sure, they can technically reduce the size of the budget, but who really envisions the majority of Maryland Democrats agreeing to that? Therefore, Hogan can present a budget that doesn't rely on the revenue created by any of the O'Malley tax increases. Employing such a tactic would create a surplus and potentially put Democrats on the defensive on why they won't return money to the people. Either way, it's a win-win for Hogan.

Going forward, Hogan has two choices: go along with the Democratic agenda or force the Mikes to react to his. Bob Ehrlich chose the former and it led to his demise. Thus, Hogan should probably avoid that path. The voters have spoken; now it's time for Hogan to put his ideas into action.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Best Overall Campaign-Steve Schuh

After John Leopold got narrowly re-elected in 2010, most Republican insiders expected Delegate Steve Schuh to emerge as favorite to replace him four years later. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I wholeheartedly expected to help him reach that goal. In February 2013, John Leopold resigned and soon thereafter went to jail. As I watched the candidate for County Executive interviews on live TV, I barely paid attention to a lady named Laura Neuman. Two hours later, the majority of councilmen selected her as the successor to John Leopold.

Though I knew little about her, I trust my friend Jerry Walker's judgment on these types of things. Like all newly elected candidates, I give them a clean slate and judge them on the totality of their work. No doubt, Laura Neuman impressed me with her relentless desire to restore integrity and best practices to county government. Quite frankly, I liked her quite a bit. When Steve Schuh filed to run against her in the primary, I firmly believed he stood little chance of beating this rising Republican star.

Still, Steve Schuh stuck to his guns. He knew he enjoyed tremendous popularity in north county. Likewise, he went from one end of the county to the other spreading his message of smaller schools and a 3% reduction in property taxes. Even though the polls showed a tight race, Mr. Schuh won the June 24th primary by a surprisingly large margin. For the next four months, he worked to mend fences within his own party, while reaching out to Democrats as well. Bottom line, he took no vote for granted. I saw that when he agreed to meet me one day at Starbucks shortly after the election. As the weeks went on, I watched as he stayed true to his message. In the end, he won the general election rather easily.

For the past 18 months, Erik Robey and Dave Abrams became lightning rods for those wanting to connect Steve Schuh with the Leopold administration. Through it all, these two gentleman relied on their experience to keep the County Executive-elect on the right path. These two guys clearly wielded more influence with Mr. Schuh than the king of negativity, Mr. Lawrence Scott. Generally speaking, Robey and Abrams are ones that work to capitalize on a candidate's positive features. That uplifting message obviously resonated with the county electorate. I know it sold me.

Others considered= Larry Hogan, Terry DeGraw, Patrick Armstrong

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Democratic Majority in Anne Arundel County?

One advantage of losing the race for Central Committee involves my ability to speculate openly without worrying about who will take offense to my comments. Then again, I spoke candidly throughout my campaign. And make no mistake; it rattled some in the establishment. Anyway, we as Republicans face a potential disaster come November. Going into yesterday, I felt Democrats had a chance to pick up one seat on the council: Werner over Grasso. I truly believe Councilman Grasso will have a tough time against Coach Werner. Now, we face the unthinkable: Michael Anthony Peroutka may cost the Republicans a seat in an overwhelmingly conservative district. If the Republicans lose both races, then the Democrats will hold a super-majority on the Anne Arundel County Council.

First off, let me acknowledge that Mr. Peroutka defeated me by 295 votes in the District 31 Republican Central Committee race. Frankly, I am honored to come that close against someone who ran nationwide for President of the United States back in 2004. I offered my congratulations via email, but have yet to receive a response. Perhaps he has not seen it yet. Regardless, the Central Committee doesn't concern me whatsoever at this point. Instead, I am worried about losing ground in a county that has shifted decidedly right over the past 10 years.

Bottom line, if Peroutka doesn't explain and/or denounce his extremist positions, he will probably lose the November Election. For those that doubt this possibility, look no further than Frank Kratovil's victory over Andy Harris in 2008. To this day, Harris blames the loss on the Obama voters. Of course, he cannot explain how John McCain won the same area by 12 points. Back then, Harris stood proudly alongside radical organizations such as Club for Growth and Eagle Forum. Today, Peroutka maintains his membership in the overtly racist League of the South. He also believes in a theocratic form of government. Face it, the Council doesn't need his inevitable theatrics. When it comes to local government, citizens want their trash picked up in a timely manner and a police/fire department that responds rapidly in an emergency. In other words, Peroutka's antics would interfere with the efficiency of these vital services.

Admittedly, I do not know much about the Democratic candidate, Patrick Armstrong. Last night in an online forum, I suggested he might want to change his Facebook profile picture that featured him smiling next to Anthony Brown. Others must have passed along the same advice whereas he now uses a different photograph. To win, he'll need to follow Kratovil's example by running to the right. At the very least, he should immediately put out a press release denouncing the Rain Tax and pledging to govern as a fiscal conservative.

While I would welcome such rhetoric out of a Democrat, I strongly prefer a Republican in that seat. For the second primary election in a row, Maureen Carr-York came up just short. As someone who has gotten to know Maureen over the last five months, I can attest that she has both the temperament and ideology that will satisfy District 5 residents. Unlike Dick Ladd and Michael Peroutka, Maureen Carr-York believes in civility on the council. Like it or not, that's how things get accomplished on a small governmental body. Without a doubt, she provides the safest option for those of us who want to keep that seat in Republican hands. As mentioned, an anticipated close race between Grasso and Werner makes this a must win for us. Maureen Carr-York can undoubtedly win this race as a write-in candidate. Meanwhile, Michael Peroutka makes that an uncertain proposition. For the good of our party, "Run Maureen Run."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

BGE for Martin O'Malley/Anthony Brown

Does anyone remember this O'Malley/Brown commercial from 2006? As BGE seeks yet another rate hike under this administration, I am reminded how they were going to "take on BGE to stop the rate hikes."

Monday, June 30, 2014

"The Most Incompentent Man in Maryland"

I am very impressed with this latest gem from the Hogan campaign. I seriously think he can ride this theme into a General Election victory. Note to Brown supporters: "Stay uniformed my friends."

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Assessment of the Numbers

I will just say it; Election Day sucks for a candidate. The polls stay open for 13 hours and then it often takes another two hours beyond that to compile the results. Instead of lining up people to cover approximately forty polling locations, I relied on refreshing the State Board of Elections website on Tuesday evening. In theory, it should only take a few minutes to upload the computerized data. For whatever reason, modern technology seems slower than the days of hand counting each ballot.

As the results poured in, I noticed a pattern; I lingered between 4th and 5th place the entire night. At the time, I had no way of knowing what precincts had already reported their data online. By midnight, I only knew that I trailed Michael Peroutka and Chris Casey by about 250 and 70 votes respectively. Meanwhile, Faith Loudon and Nathan Volke won the first two seats by a wide margin. I conceded to my opponents Wednesday morning.

Thursday, the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections website uploaded the tallies from the individual voting precincts. Technically, we have forty-four precincts in District 31, although some locations contain two separate ones. When I looked at the information, a few things stood out to me. For example, at Brooklyn Park Elementary and Brooklyn Park Middle, I received more votes than any of my opponents. Likewise, I finished second at Brooklyn Park Library, Fort Smallwood Elementary in addition to one of the Riviera Beach Elementary School precincts. Finally, I placed third at Belle Grove Elementary, Chesapeake High School as well as Emmanuel Lutheran and the VFW in Pasadena.

Clearly, I did well in the Brooklyn Park area. I concentrated a great deal of effort door knocking in this area. True, I already knew some people in that live in these Northern suburbs. In fairness though, the overwhelming majority affiliate with Democratic Party and thus couldn’t vote for me. I am especially proud about my showing at Fort Smallwood Elementary and the Pasadena VFW. I vote at the former, but many of my neighbors go to the latter. Either way, it shows my neighbors cared about and believed in me enough to give their support. As for Riviera Beach Elementary, I worked that area pretty hard through door knocking, literature drops and a mailer.

As mentioned, I notched third place finishes at Chesapeake High School and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Pasadena. Many of my stanch supporters live near the high school and I know they worked valiantly to spread the word to their families, friends and neighbors. That’s grassroots politics in miniature. Finally, I spent last Sunday placing business cards on mailboxes of homes on Rock Hill Rd, Valley Rd and Meadow View Rd in Pasadena. Incidentally, one guy on Meadow View Rd starting to bang on his window as I walked up his driveway. I could literally see the veins in his neck pulsating as he demanded me to get away from his property. For some reason, I doubt he knew my identity. Wouldn’t it have been something if he picked my name at random on Election Day? Oh, if he/we only knew.

As for familiarity, I spent time knocking on every voting Republican door in the Fox Chase area, off Hospital Drive. District 31 took over that area from District 32 in the latest round of redistricting. I felt I got positive response from the neighbors, minus the one guy that tried to slap literature out of my hand as he declared I had no business soliciting in the area. Maybe so or maybe no, but that certainly didn’t warrant an assault on his end. Of course, I just smile and move away from jerks. Bottom line, I will not let them deter me from going to the next door. These residents vote at Grace of God Fellowship. In turn, they awarded me with a third place finish in that precinct.

Admittedly, I am very upset with my showing at Marley Middle School and North County Library. I knocked heavily in both areas and took away positive vibes. Nonetheless, I finished 6th and 7th respectively. Now, I won’t declare the visits to Sun Valley and Harundale a waste of my time. After all, I met some great people in those neighborhoods. Over the next couple of months, I will try to rationalize an explanation.

All told, this gave me some insight into how I might refocus my efforts in the slim chance I run for another office. I will continue to discuss the same in subsequent posts.