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.

Bevins’ Ex Aide Will Not Endorse Her

Dennis Teegardin, a former aide for Cathy Bevins, shared a post on why he won’t endorse his former boss.
A week away from the Election is always silly season. This is the time of year when candidates are being “official” endorsed by their spouses and are being denounced by their arch enemy in high school just to make headlines.

There was one strong lack of endorsement that was being displayed all over social media.

Dennis Teegardin works for Delegate Eric Luedtke and he gave out his local endorsements. As a Democrat it was not surprising to see Teegradin endorse fellow Democrats such as Johnny Olszewski Jr. for Baltimore County Executive, Senators Jim Mathias, Kathy Klausmeier & Bobby Zirkin, Delegates Eric Bromwell, Eric Ebersole, Steve Lafferty and others.

But there was one Democrat that Teegardin refused to endorse– Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. Teegardin did not officially endorse her GOP opponent Ryan Nawrocki, but specially said he was not supporting Bevins.

“As her former senior legislative aide, I cannot endorse her. Her treatment towards her staff and her own constituents is appalling and abusive,” Teegardin said on social media “Her mob-like mentality of demanding loyalty from her constituents has no place in public service. The residents of District 6 can do better and certainly deserve better.”

According to Teegardin’s LinkedIn page, he worked for Bevins from August 2015 to June 2016. Of course, it did not take long for Nawrocki supporters to share Teegardin’s post, including Patrick O’Keefe, Executive Director at Maryland Republican Party.

“When someone’s own aide who’s a dedicated liberal won’t vote for their former boss, that says a lot,” he said. O’Keefe added that he had some bad experiences dealing with Bevin’s office when he was an aide for Delegate Christian Miele.

In fairness, I had about two or three times when I called Bevin’s office for a constituent concern and her staff was very quick in their response, but I have not dealt with her office on a regular basis.

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.

Deceiving Bipartisan Mailer Sent to District 8 Voters

It is getting to become the crazy part of the campaign as many voters in District 8 received an unusual mailer that promotes a bipartisan ticket. The mailer that did not have an authority line, but the mailer was labeled “The Bipartisan District 8 Team”. It listed Larry Hogan as Governor, Kathy Klausmeier as Senator and Eric Bromwell and Joe Cluster as Delegates.

Cluster immediately denounced the mailer and explained he was part of Team Hogan that includes himself, Joe Norman and Joe Boteler for delegate and Christian Miele for Senate.

Bromwell released a statement denying any responsibility for the ad.
“I had nothing to do with this mailer. I don’t know who sent it out. I am not endorsed by Governor Hogan, nor Joe Cluster, but should we be re-elected, I will continue to work with them in a bipartisan manner,” Bromwell said.

It appears that the mailer was sent by a special interest group. I have seen many of the comments from voters on social media and some appeared to be confused by the mailer.

Here is the strategy, Democrats are using two of their long-standing candidate’s name ID to hold onto their final spots here in northeast Baltimore County. It appears the only way to fight off this Hogan/GOP wave is to tie Bromwell and Klausmeier to two Republicans that are going to get re-elected in Hogan and Cluster.

You must hand it to the Democrats. Yes, It is desperation and unethical but a good strategy. Let’s hope the voters in District 8 see through the trick and vote for the WHOLE Hogan team.

GOP Will Get One Seat in District 12 & Could Sweep All Four

Melanie Harris polled in third place in an early poll. Her numbers should now be higher. I guarantee she will win a seat.
Mark this down. I am guaranteeing that a Republican will pick up at least one seat in District 12. I’m not just stating the GOP “could” win in the all-Democratic District 12, but one candidate will win a seat. Her name is Melanie Harris. She has run a strong campaign, finished first in the Republican primary and will be the top Republican vote getter in the General Election. Some of my GOP friends do not believe District 12 is in play. I strongly disagree. Now I will explain why Harris will win at least one of the seats and could be joined by other Republicans in that district.

District 12 is based two-thirds in eastern Howard County and one- third in western Baltimore County (Catonsville and Arbutus) Democratic Sen. Ed Kasemeyer is retiring, and Democratic Del. Clarence Lam is going after his vacant seat. Eric Ebersol and Terri Hill are the other two incumbent delegates seeking reelection. Democratic newcomer Jessica Feldmark is looking to replace Lam.

On the Republican side, Joe Hooe is going after the vacant state Senate seat and Harris, Bob Cockey and Michael Russell are going for the three delegate seats.

In 2014, a different GOP slate won in the Baltimore County portion of the district but lost in Howard County. This Republican slate has focused hard on the Howard County portion.

This District has a chance to become this year’s District 6 (Dundalk and Essex) where four blue seats can turn red in one night. District 12 is a blue-collar district with a lot of old school Democrats that are not as liberal as its representatives.

Unlike some Democrats in battleground races, District 12 Democrats are not tying themselves to Gov. Larry Hogan. Heck, Ebersol was at the rally when Ben Jealous dropped the F bomb. They also don’t hide from their liberal voting agenda, which includes voting for gun bans, the Home Act and to make Maryland a sanctuary state.

When an internal poll came out in the summer, Ebersol and Hill were head and shoulders above everyone else with their name ID, but Harris was beating Feldmark at that time. So worst case scenario, Harris is getting a seat in third place behind Ebersol and Hill. The question is if Cockey and Russell can catch Ebersol and Hill?

It was a pleasant surprise to see Hooe doing well in a recent poll. Now I don’t know if the internal poll that showed Hooe up by seven over Lam is accurate but if he is tied or even down by two or three points to Lam, the Hogan factor should swing Hooe’s way.

I’m not sure if the GOP team in District 12 is getting two, three or four seats but they are at least getting one. I will guarantee that.

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.

Is Olszewski Really Up By 19 Points?

Maryland Matters sent a few shockwaves throughout Baltimore County this morning when they reported on a poll that Democratic Baltimore County Executive candidate John Olszewski, Jr. had a 19-point lead over GOP nominee Al Redmer, Jr.

A representative from the Olszewski campaign immediately shared the Maryland Matters article on the popular Facebook page “Baltimore County Politics”. The poll showed Olszewski winning 53 to 34 percent. However; Maryland Matters reported that the poll was conducted between Sept. 6 to 11 and that it was a “Democratic Poll” .
Redmer downplayed the poll by releasing a statement on social media.

“In a desperate attempt to generate a decent headline and reinvigorate their dried up donor base the Olszewski campaign released a month old poll that is in no way accurate at the present time. We’ve beaten Olszewski to mail and TV, and our polling shows we have successfully closed the gap in just a few weeks,” Redmer said.

“Our campaign has momentum, which is evident by the half-dozen major endorsements we’ve received over the last three weeks, as well as the voter enthusiasm and financial support we’ve accrued. As we close in on election day our positive message of fixing our schools and making Baltimore County safer and more affordable is resonating with voters, who are rejecting the dangerous Jealous/Olszewski agenda.”

The poll also reported that Olszewski is winning 49 percent to 35 percent “in the traditionally more conservative southeast portion of Baltimore County.” I’m not sure if the “southeast portion” is all of the 6th Legislative District, but Olszewski lost the senate race in the 6th District to current GOP Sen. Johnny Ray Salling 48 to 44 in 2014.

This race will come down to the 6th District. With Gov. Larry Hogan’s performance in 2014 and projected high numbers in 2018, Redmer must win in the Dundalk/Essex area. If Hogan is going to get around 60 percent of the vote countywide, Olszewski is going to need many of those Hogan voters to cast votes for him too. There are plenty of Hogan voters in the 6th District and that is why he is staying away from Ben Jealous.

So what is the truth? Maryland Matters has been known to lean to the left and why are they now reporting on a Democratic poll from September? I do believe that Olszewski was ahead in September, but not by 19 points. Again this was a Democratic poll. I also believe that Redmer has closed the gap with his mailers, television ads and recent endorsements from the Baltimore County Police and Fire unions.

Can the Baltimore Sun or Goucher College conduct an independent poll so we can see how this race truly stands?

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.

Foley Trashs Park With Signs After Marks Holds Cleanup

Foley’s sign was placed illegally at Indian Rock Park in Perry Hall
Illegal political signs were found at Indian Rock Park near Perry Hall High School. Those signs belong to Democratic 5th District Council County nominee Alex Foley.

The irony is that Indian Rock Park is the same location where his opponent Republican Councilman David Marks held a community clean up two weeks earlier. Marks pointed out that all his signs are on private property with permission of the property owner and that Foley’s signs are being placed illegally.

“My opponent must not care about public parks,” Marks said. “Two weeks ago, I organized about a dozen volunteers who ventured into swampy grass to clean up Indian Rock Park. Today, my opponent has littered that same park will illegal signs.”

Foley has run a bare bones campaign. He has rejected all invitations to debate Marks in candidate forums. The highlight of his campaign was making a video driving around in a car and he sign waved for Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous on Monday. Foley signs have also been spotted outside of the 5th District.

“I understand that my opponent has skipped community forums and may not know Perry Hall very well, but I had hoped he might respect a clearly-identified public park. When will he be cleaning it up?” Marks asked.