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