Hogan Survives the Maryland Blue Wave

Well it looks as if my predictions were wrong. I had Republicans sweeping the eastside of Baltimore County, picking up a House of Delegates seat in District 12 and was even dumb enough to predict a Republican would win a seat in Montgomery County.

I thought the key to a big Republican night was the success of Gov. Larry Hogan. Yes, we knew he was getting re-elected but by how much? Hogan pulled off a 4-point victory over Anthony Brown in 2014. Hogan was projected to win in some polls between 15 to 20 points. For a strong double-digit victory statewide over Ben Jealous, Hogan would have to rack up some huge numbers in places such as Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County.

That would then trickle down to the down ballot races for Republicans such as the County Executive’s race and the District 8 Senate race in Baltimore County, The District 12 races for House of Delegates and Senate candidates in Howard County and the Senate and House of Delegate races for District 30 & 32 in Anne Arundel County. I never thought the GOP County Executive’s in Anne Arundel and Howard counties needed a big night from Hogan as I thought they were already safe.

So, if Hogan only beat Jealous by four or five points that would mean that he was winning comfortably but not dominating in place such as Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County, which would have hurt the down ballot races.

When the early results came out and Hogan was winning by 14 points statewide and by almost 25 points in Baltimore County, I thought that would translate into a big night for GOP County Executive candidate Al Redmer and state Senate candidates Christian Miele and Chris West. That was not the case as Redmer and Miele lost, and West held off his Democratic opponent for a narrowly win. The same result in Howard and Anne Arundel. Not only couldn’t Hogan’s big numbers in those judications help the Senate and House of Delegate candidates, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Anne Arundel. County Executive Steve Schuh both lost in upsets.

Last night reminds me of 2006 when Democrats took over Congress during the mid-term during a Republican presidency [George W. Bush] and a Maryland GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich was up for re-election. We remember that Ehrlich lost, and the GOP took a beating locally in the House of Delegates.

The only difference is that this incumbent GOP governor Larry Hogan was able to survive. Not just survive but win big. Can’t figure out why Hogan’s numbers didn’t trickle down.

Eight Days is Too Many for Early Voting

I am sorry but Early Voting is too long. Eight days is too many days. This is coming from a person who initiately opposed Early Voting when it started in 2008. I have changed my thought a bit as I have learned to not only accept Early Voting, but I am starting to like it.

It does have the benefits of beating the Election Day crowd and it gives voters a chance to meet most of their favorite local candidates at the polls (candidates cannot be at all 30 precincts on Election Day, but they can attend the Early Voting site in their district). However; the Early Voting experience can be done in three to five days instead of eight days.

As someone who worked the polls for campaigns (including my own) eight days is a lot. Many Democrats, who I will not mention, agreed that eight days is too many. While I don’t expect anyone to shed a tear for candidates that must brave the heat (June primary) or the cold and rain (November general) for eight days, I do think everyone will agree that it is a waste of taxpayer money. We must pay Election Judges and rent the facilities for eight days.

Many of these Democrats in the General Assembly that admit that eight days is too long, would never consider reducing Early Voting to five days or less. The theory behind Early Voting is that there are more Democratic voters in Maryland, and the longer the polls are open, the more Democrats will come out and vote. I disagree.

If Early Voting is cut down from eight to four days, then there is a belief that Early Voting totals will be reduced by 50 percent. I do not believe that for a minute. I have no scientific proof, but I am sure that if Early Voting days were reduced by 50 percent, voter turnout would probably only decline by 10 to 20 percent. For those who want to vote early will find a way to get to the polls within the four-to-five-window compared to the current eight days.

Another argument that Democrats would make in favor of keeping eight days is if there was some bad weather (which we did see on Saturday) during my proposed four-day stretch. Then they would argue that we would need the full eight days. Yes, Early Voting turnout would be lower if those three to four days were washed out, but those voters would still be able to come back and vote on Election Day. What happens if we have bad weather on Election Day? There is no make-up day after Nov. 6.

I should not complain too much. When Early Voting started it was only five days. There was talk of the General Assembly reducing it down but then it was increased to the current eight-day format.

If there is another change to Early Voting, The General Assembly would probably expand it to three weeks instead of shirking to four to five days. I guess I should be happy it is only eight days.

Magee, Hill & Roger Try to Enhance GOP in Baltimore County

As a Republican, I want to see the party grow in Baltimore County.

Gov. Larry Hogan is expected to win big here in Baltimore County with over 60 percent of the vote on Election Day and there is a chance that Al Redmer could become the first Republican County Executive since 1990 if he can beat Democrat John Olszewski Jr.

On the other hand, Democrats still outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

So where do Republicans stand in Baltimore County? When you take out the polarizing names such as Larry Hogan, Ben Jealous, Bob Ehrlich, Jim Smith, Pat McDonough, Martin O’Malley, etc. and there is a generic Democrat vs. generic Republican, who wins in a countywide race?

History shows that it is the Democrats. In 2010, Julie Ensor (D) defeated Richard J. Reinhardt, II (R) 58 to 41 percent for Clerk of the Court; States Attorney Scott Shellenberger (D) defeated Steven Bailey (R) 57 to 43; Grace G. Connolly (D) beat Lindsey Ann Thomas (R) 58 to 42 for Register of Wills; and Democratic Sheriff R. Jay Fisher beat GOP challenger Raymond C. Boccelli 57 to 43.

In 2014, the GOP only had one candidate (Eugene Craig who lost to Ensor 59 to 40 percent) but Connolly, Fisher and Shellenberger were unopposed.

I am curious to see if the Republican candidates can make a run and perhaps unseat a Democrat. This year three of the four “low key” countywide races involve a Democrat vs. Republican. Shellenberger is unopposed again.

Again, Hogan is expected to receive a higher percentage of the vote than in 2014 and Redmer is certainly expected to receive a higher percentage of the vote total – win or lose – than GOP candidate George Harman did in 2014. Can that push these three candidates over the top?

Carl Magee is running for Baltimore County Sheriff

Carl Magee
The GOP candidate for Sheriff is not your typical generic candidate. Magee is a strong campaigner. The former Baltimore City Police Officer ran for the House of Delegates in 2014 and for Congress in 2016, so he is now an experienced campaigner. Magee is very opinionated. If elected, Magee wants the Baltimore County Sheriff’s Office to have a uniformed Deputy Sheriff at every school in the county. He is also against Baltimore County being a Sanctuary county for illegal immigrants.

One political insider compared him to Pat McDonough saying that Magee is a polarizing candidate. Either way, he is a very rememberable candidate, which builds important name ID.
There is talk that many deputies under Fisher are ready for new leadership. In my humble opinion, Magee is the strongest GOP candidate for this office since Sheriff Norman Pepersack served back in the 90s.

Deb Hill is trying to defeat Julie Ensor for Clerk of the Court

Deborah Hill
She is the Republican candidate for Clerk of the Court. Hill is challenging Ensor who has been in office since 2010. This is going to be tough race as Julie Ensor is a strong campaigner. Within the last month, I have seen Ensor signs pop up in neighborhoods all over the county. If you turn down a random street in Parkville, Perry Hall, Dundalk, Cockeysville, etc. you will probably find an Ensor sign in someone’s yard. That might include a yard with a Hogan and/or Redmer sign too.
I don’t know if Hill or any Republican can keep up with her ground game. It will be interesting to see if Hill can get more votes than Craig received in 2014.

Jane Roger
Her race against Connolly for Register of Wills might be a barometer for the true state of the Republican party here in Baltimore County. Roger has not run as strong as Magee, but Connolly is also not a strong campaigner compared to Ensor. With all due respect to Roger and Connolly, this is a generic Democrat vs. Republican matchup. If Hogan and Redmer’s success can trickle down to Magee, it could help Roger too. Most voters do not want career politicians and Connolly has been in office since 1998. The only problem is that not too many people know that Connolly is seeking a sixth term.

So, while everyone is focusing on the Governor, Baltimore County Executive, County Council, State Senate and House of Delegate races, I am also interested to see how these three races turn out.

Alex Foley Shows Up in Wrong Council District

Councilman David Marks questions why his challenger Alex Foley showed up at the wrong council forum?
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous has been mocked by Gov. Larry Hogan supporters for not knowing what state his is running for Governor (He said at a campaign rally that he will be the next Governor of Virginia) and he spend last weekend campaigning in California right before Early Voting. There is a similar candidate on the local level that does not know his boundaries and voters.

Alex Foley is the Democratic nominee for the County Council seat in the 5th District. Foley has run a very bizarre campaign. Councilman David Marks, his Republican opponent, criticized Foley in September for placing his illegal signs at Indian Rock Park in Perry Hall. Marks also criticized Foley for not participating in any of the six scheduled candidate forums.

I, along with my other voters, were surprised to see Foley at a candidate forum at Harford Park in Parkville last week. The only problem is that Harford Park is the home of County Council District 6 and the candidates (Democratic Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and GOP nominee Ryan Nawrocki) were at the forum. Foley sat in the audience and introduced himself to individuals during the intermission. Marks immediately jumped over Foley’s appearance in the wrong district

“Sometimes, [Foley’s] campaign has left me almost speechless. He skipped six community forums in a row. But tonight, he showed up to one – in the wrong County Council district,” Marks said. “Meanwhile, I was meeting voters in the correct County Council district.”

I asked Foley on social media why he attended a forum in Council 6 instead of Council 5. He really did not give a great explanation.

“Mr. Marks does not dictate how I reach my future constituents. The leaders of our community are worthy of respect, not discourse, that isn’t productive I value the constituency. I wish to lead in positive directions not to follow Mr. Marks. His wishes to control the narrative, is not my concern. Although I respect the query, these local offices need to support each person, community and taxpayers. You are the one I want to work for,” Foley said in response to my question.

Foley said he feels very confident that he will beat Marks. Why? Because he claims he received more overall votes than Marks in the primary. In reality, Marks actually received 5,235 votes compared to Foley’s 5,194 votes. But comparing a Democratic and a Republican vote total is like comparing Apples to Oranges. There are more registered Democratic voters in the district, so more votes should be cast in a Democratic primary compared to a Republican primary.

“You may also want to know why I got more votes than the Incumbent republican. But as it may make this race more interesting, I am not running to be interesting, I am running for the voter,” Foley explained.

With all due respect to Mr., Foley, I don’t think all those Democrats that voted for you in June will vote for you again on Nov. 6.

Matory is Providing Great Story in CD 2 Race

Liz Matory with former Sheriff of Milwaukee County and TV personality David Clarke.

One of the more interesting candidates of the 2018 Election has been Republican 2nd Congressional candidate Liz Matory. She has been very energized and passionate in her race against Congressman C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

The Republican party has been criticized by the media for being too old, too white and having too many males. Matory has broken all those stereotypes as she is an African American female candidate under the age of 40. Matory has been concerned a controversial candidate by some as she lives outside the district in Montgomery county and she ran as a Democrat for the House of Delegates in 2014.

But Matory does not hide from her former life as a Democrat. She talks about her “walk away” moment on the campaign trail and through her self-published book “Born Again Republican”.

Matory has been endorsed by former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and held an event with special guest former Sheriff of Milwaukee County and TV personality David Clarke. When she filmed a campaign visit to Havre Grace, she was asked about her support of President Donald Trump. Matory did not hesitate as she said she supports the president.

Matory must be doing something right because a “Republicans for Dutch” Facebook page was created to slow her down but that page has been removed. It seems as if the page was created to portray Matory as still a liberal in Republican clothing but there was also a reference from one of the organizers that Matory is “too extreme” by supporting Trump and his policies. Which one is it? She must be scaring someone.

This is still a tough district that is gerrymandered for Democrats. Most districts have a 66 to 34 Democrat to Republican ratio. Congressional District 2 (CD2) has a ratio of 72 to 28 Democrat to Republican.

In 2012, GOP challenger state Sen. Nancy Jacobs received 31 percent of the vote and state Del. Pat McDonough received 33 percent of the vote in 2016. Ironically, unknown Republican David Banach received 36 percent of the vote in 2014. How did Banach receive a higher percentage than McDonough and Jacobs? The most obvious answer is because of the top of the ticket. Jacobs and McDonough saw their party’s presidential nominee (Mitt Romney and Donald Trump) receive 36 percent in 2012 and 34 percent in 2016. Banach had Hogan on the top of his ticket in 2014.

So, a popular Larry Hogan at the top of the ticket and a strong campaigner in Matory could get the GOP vote into the 40s in CD 2. I predict that this will be Ruppersberger’s toughest race, but I don’t know if Matory can overcome all the gerrymandering in CD2. Win or lose, Matory is becoming a star in the Maryland GOP.

Wolf Becoming Star in Baltimore County

Craig Wolf is becoming a rock star here in Baltimore County. The Republican nominee for Attorney General has an uphill battle against current Democratic Attorney Gen. Brian Frosh. Polls in August showed Wolf down by 32 points but a poll last week showed Wolf only down nine points. He has really hit Frosh hard about not protecting the citizens of Maryland but instead worrying about suing President Donald Trump’s federal government.

Craig Wolf (second on the left) attended the “Three Joes” event last Friday with Councilman David Marks, Del. Joe Cluster, Del. candidates Joe Boteler & Joe Norman and state Senate candidate Del. Christian Miele.

Last Friday, Wolf attended a fundraiser for Sen. John Salling in Essex and later went to a fundraiser in Perry Hall for the “Three Joes” (Del. Joe Cluster, Joe Boteler and Joe Norman) in District 8. Wolf was a big hit with the crowd as many of the attendees posed for pictures with Wolf. I have also seen him at GOP County Executive nominee Al Redmer events and other Republican candidate events.

I talked to Wolf at the “Three Joes” event and asked him why he is always in Baltimore County. He responded that Baltimore County is a “make or break” jurisdiction for his chance to defeat Frosh. I agree. Gov. Larry Hogan is polling at 63 to 37 percent in Baltimore County against Ben Jealous and Redmer has an opportunity to win the Country Executive’s race. Wolf will need all those Hogan and Redmer voters to cast a vote for him too.

This reminds me of 2014 when Hogan was down big early to Anthony Brown. Later, Hogan narrowed the gap within a week or two of Election Day. Then Hogan’ s campaign caught fire and he flew pass Brown in the final week.

I am starting to see similarities with Wolf. I thought Wolf had a chance to win in March, then lost confidence after the first poll showed him down by 32, and now I’m starting to see him catch fire in the final three weeks. I’m hoping that Wolf pulls it off.

GOP Chair Reveals Internal Poll Number to Red Maryland

I reported on Tuesday that MD GOP Dick Haire was a guest on the Red Maryland Podcast on Monday to share GOP internal poll numbers for some of the key state Senate races. Again, I was critical when the Democrats released their poll showing Democrat John Olszewski up by 19 in the Baltimore County Executive race over Republican Al Redmer. I took it with a huge grain of salt considering the poll since it was a month old and an internal poll.
So, I won’t be a hypocrite and claim these GOP numbers are 100 percent accurate, but I did find it interesting that some Republican candidates are doing better than others.
Haire did not release specific numbers but revealed the closeness of the races. The full interview can be heard at Red Maryland, but I have written the cliff notes below on Haire’s breakdown on the races.

District 3
This district appears to be a close. District 3 has changed a lot of its demographics over the past 10 years. That has favored Democrats and Democratic Sen. Ron Young. The GOP poll shows that GOP challenger Craig Giangrande “has narrowed the gap” within the margin of error. I’m assuming that Young is up by three to four.

District 42
Haire revealed that Del. Chris West has a large lead over Democrat Robbie Leonard for Democrat Jim Brochin’s vacant senate seat in northern Baltimore County. I thought Brochin would have had a heck of a battle to keep his seat against West if he ran for re-election, so I don’t think Leonard will get in West’s way.

District 8
Haire said that both West and Del. Christian Miele had “significant leads” in their senate races. Again, I think West easily defeats the Democrat in District 42, but I thought Miele would be in a tight race against Democratic Incumbent Sen. Kathy Klausmeier in northeast Baltimore County. If Miele has a “significant” lead it is because he is a campaign machine. Miele did not have a primary, but he ran like he had a primary in the spring. According to Haire, Miele is in great shape.

District 12
In a bit of a surprise, The GOP said its challenger Joe Hooe is “holding a slight lead over” Del. Clarence Lam for Democrat Ed Kasemeyer’s vacant seat in Howard County. Haire did not report the specific numbers, but Maryland Matters cited a GOP poll where Hooe is beating Lam 39 to 32. This is a change when Lam was up over Hooe 48 to 30 in August. Maryland Matters believes that the popularity of Gov. Larry Hogan is helping Hooe.

District 28
Haire said this Southern Maryland district came into play when Democratic Sen. Mac Middleton was upset by Democratic challenger Arthur Ellis. This got the ball rolling where the GOP central committee nominated Bill Dotson as their nominee after the primary. He said Dotson “Looked very strong” in the race but did not explain if Dotson was “up or down” in the polls.

District 30
Former Del. Ron George was reported with an eight-point lead over Democratic challenged Sarah K. Elfreth. This is the vacant seat left by Democratic Sen. John Arstle. I thought George would have a slam dunk victory in the Annapolis area district but Haire reported that polls show him with only a four-point lead over Elfreth in the summer. Now it looks like George is finally starting to distance himself from the Democrat.

District 32
Haire didn’t mention how GOP challenger and current councilman John Grasso was faring against Democratic Del. Pam Beidle for the vacant senate seat but did reveal that two Republicans were favored in their polling to take two vacant House of Delegate seats. Haire said he was “optimist” for Grasso in that senate race in northwest Anne Arundel County.

District 38
Haire admitted that the GOP underestimated Democratic Sen. Jim Mathieu “Higher and durable” name ID, despite being in a strong Republican district in his Eastern Shore race against GOP challenger Del. Mary Beth Carozza
Haired said Carozza’s numbers have significantly increased and the race is now a “dead heat”.

Will Obama’s Endorsements Matter in Maryland?

Former President Barack Obama decided to enter Maryland Politics by endorsing Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, Speaker of the House Michael Busch and 9B District Democratic House candidate Courtney Watson in Howard County.

Obama’s endorsement of Jealous is bigger than most people want to admit. Jealous must do well in the big three jurisdictions of Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George’s County to defeat Gov. Larry Hogan. Polls show him winning in those three areas, but he needs to win all three with a wide margin to beat Hogan. Obama had a lot of support in those areas and that might be able to help Jealous gain some votes.

His endorsement of Watson is a little surprising. There are a few Democrats that have a slim chance of beating any Republican House incumbent. Although it will be close, I think the Hogan-Kittleman combination should be more than enough to help Del. Robert Flanigan defeat Watson.

Is Michael Busch in trouble? A poll back in August showed Gov. Hogan winning Busch’s 30A District 71 to 21 percent over Jealous. Is there a concern that the Democratic Speaker and his running mate Alice Cain could lose to both Republicans Bob O’Shea and Chelsea Gill in District 30A that Obama was asked to endorse Busch? If so, I don’t think the former President’s endorsement will help him that much in this Anne Arundel County based district. If Busch wins, it will be a result of his name ID and not Obama.

So I do worry that Obama’s endorsement of Jealous could help the Democrats, but I don’t think it will make a difference in 9B and 30A. What are your thoughts?

Opioid Epidemic Conservation Sadly Turns Political

It is hard to believe that a treatment organization such as The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland could turn a discussion about the opioid epidemic into a partisan discussion, but that appears to be the case.

RALI is holding a forum on the Opioid Epidemic at Perry Hall High School on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. Some of the guest speakers expected at the event are County Executive Don Mohler, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Eric Bromwell. All those elected officials are Democrats and Bromwell’s Republican delegate colleagues Joe Cluster and Christian Miele were not invited to the event, along with 5th District Republican councilman David Marks.

“Bipartisan, inclusive leadership is needed to eliminate the opioid epidemic in Baltimore County and throughout our state. Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, Delegate Joe Cluster, and I hope that the sponsors and organizers of tomorrow night’s community forum in Perry Hall reconsider their decision to only invite elected officials from one political party to participate,” Miele said in a social media statement.

Miele, Cluster and Marks sent out a letter to RALI of Maryland requesting an invite to this forum for this important and non-partisan issue.

Another participant of the event is John Torsch, who is from the Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation. The foundation is named after John’s brother Daniel who passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 2010. He promoted the event on a Perry Hall community Facebook page. Torsch was also a Democratic candidate for county council in the spring and is unaware why Republicans were not invited to the forum.

“That’s a question for the organizers of the event. I’d love to see more elected officials on both sides of the aisle speak up about the addiction epidemic and actually do something about it,” Torsch said on social media.

Councilman Marks, who could have potentially faced Torsch in November defended Torsch and commended him on his work.
“John is a good man, and I have learned a lot from him. I am still learning. He is a participant and not the organizer,” Mark said about Torsch.

The problem with having a nonpartisan event a month before the election is that many people are in a political frame of mind on both sides. There was a person who questioned why Kathy Klausmeier was even invited.
“Just say No to Klausmeier!” said a commenter to Torsch. He appropriately responded that the event is about saving lives.

“I tell you that more than 300 people died from drug overdoses last year in your area. We’re on pace for even more this year. And all you can say is “say no to Klausmeier “? That’s just sad. This isn’t about left or right. It’s about life and death. Baltimore County is losing,” Torsch said.

Redmer Calls Out Olszewski for Dundalk Debate No Show


The 7th District Civic Council in Dundalk announced their Friday County Executive debate has been cancelled after Democratic nominee John Olszewski Jr. told them he was not participating in the Dundalk area debate at the North Point Government Center.

“To what the committee believes is a detriment to the election process, and the voters of the 7th District, Olszewski’s cancellation has left the committee no choice but to cancel the debate,” said a statement from the 7th District Civic Council.

Olszewski’s Republican opponent Al Redmer Jr. put out a statement on social media where he said he was disappointed in Olszewski’s decision to cancel but left open an opportunity to still greet voters in Dundalk on Friday night.

“It’s disappointing if not unsurprising that my opponent has pulled out of the 7th District Civic Club debate at North Point Government Center this Friday. This isn’t the first time Johnny O has turned his back on District 7, and if he is elected County Executive it certainly won’t be the last,” Redmer said.

“I look forward to the other upcoming opportunities I will have to present my vision for Baltimore County, and in the meantime our campaign will find another way to connect with District 7 voters on Friday night.”