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.

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.

Miele Campaign Criticizes Klausmeier over Hogan Mailer


Some residents across the 8th District received a mailer (pictured) sent out by Sen. Kathy Klausmeier that appeared to imply that she was endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan. The mailer stated “Kathy Klausmeier is Working With Governor Hogan For a Better Baltimore County ” This is similar to the mailer that I received back in the summer that showed a picture of Klausmeier and Hogan, but her Republican challenger Del. Christian Miele and his team claim this mailer went a step further and gave the appearance that Hogan is a Klausmeier supporter.

“This is the problem with career politicians; they will say just about anything to get elected,” Miele said in a statement.
Miele also posted pictured of Hogan and himself and posted the video where Hogan endorsed him at his kickoff event in 2017.

“[The Klausmeier mailed suggested] that she has worked closely with and is being supported by Governor Larry Hogan. Specifically, she boasts about repealing the very taxes that she voted to create, including the Rain Tax and 41 other O’Malley tax and fee increases.”

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Klausmeier, many of the Democrats are trying not to be tied to their gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. The only way to do that is to show partisanship by claiming that you are willing to work with Hogan, but Democrats can only go so far.

Miele is endorsed by Hogan and Miele also pointed out many times where Klausmeier went against the Governor. The mailer also tries to make Klausmeier look independent from the Democratic establishment, but Miele explained that is far from the truth.

“This mailer was paid for by the same party bosses that she claims to have stood up to! How do we know this? Look at the legal authority line: “By Authority: Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee,” a committee controlled by Senate President Mike Miller, the chief party boss in Annapolis,” Miele explained. “Are voters really supposed to believe that the party bosses are supporting someone who has opposed them politically? Unbelievable!”

In my opinion, it appears that Klausmeier is worried about Miele and she should be worried. There was an early poll last year where Klausmeier was beating Miele in a head-to-head matchup. However; when it was made known by the pollster that Hogan endorsed Miele, the race was closer. To his credit, Miele went out a placed signs in District 8 with his picture with Hogan’s to inform that he is being endorsed by the Governor.

It appears that hard work and strategy is now paying off for Miele.

Can Hogan’s Poll Numbers Create a Drive for Ten in MD Senate?

We all know about the Drive for Five where Republicans are trying to pick up five seats in the Maryland Senate to prevent Democrats from overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of bad bills.

Now that the latest Gonzales Research poll shows Hogan with a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Democrat Ben Jealous, why not Drive for Ten for the Win? If the GOP can pick up 10 seats in November, they will take over the Senate. This might have seemed like a “pie in the sky” dream a few years (even a few months ago), but it is an outside possibility.

First, Hogan won many districts in 2014 that are occupied by Democratic senators and that margin is on pace to increase with this matchup against Jealous.

Another factor is that many of the moderate Democratic senators either retired or lost in the primary in those moderate districts and many of those Democratic nominees are more liberal.

Here is an overall chart of all 47 senate races and a list below of the Drive for Five races followed by five more races that could give the Maryland GOP a majority in the Senate. They are listed in the order where I believe each GOP candidate has the best chance to win.

Solid RLikely RLeaning RToss UpLeaning DLikely DSolid D
Edwards 1-RSalling 6-ROpen 30-D (George -R)Young 3-DOpen 12-D (Lam-D)Kelly-10-DZirkin 11-D
Serafini 2-RBates 9-ROpen 42-D (West-R)Klausmeier 8-DZucker 14-DGuzzone 13-DLee 16-D
Hough 4-RWaugh 29-R (Bailey)Mathias 38-DFeldman 15-DKegan 17-DOpen 18-D (Waldstreicher-D)
Ready 5-RCassilly 34-RMiddleton 28-D (Ellis-D)Open 19-D (Kramer-D)Smith 20-D
Jennings 7-RHershey 36-RMiller 27-DRosapepe 21-D
Simonaire 31-REckardt 37-RFerguson 46-DPinsky 22-D
Reilly 33-RPeters 23-D
Open 35-R (Gallion-R)Benson 24-D
Open 25-D (Griffith-D)
Open 26-D (Patterson-D)
King 39-D
Robinson 40-D (Hayes)
Open 41-D (Carter-D)
Conway 43-D (Washington)
Nathan-Pulliam 44-D
McFadden 45-D (McCray)
Open 47-D (Augustine-D)

Leaning Republican

Chris West District 42
Chris West is going after Jim Brochin’s old seat in the senate in Northern Baltimore County West finds himself in a great position in a moderate district. I believe West has the best chance of all the Republican candidates to flip a blue senate seat red.

Ron George District 30
Ron George is not too far behind West as I believe he has the second-best chance to flip a Democratic seat. Sen. John Astle is not running for re-election and George appears to be miles ahead of the Democratic nominee. Since District 30 is Speaker Michael Busch’s home district, this might be a little harder for George to win compared to West, but not by much.

Toss Up

Craig Giangrande District 3
Frederick businessmen Craig Giangrande has nearly $100,000 in the bank as he is challenging Democratic Sen. Ron Young. In 2014, Young won his race by 500 votes. Since District 3 is a close race, with Giangrande’s money and Young’s poor voting record, Giangrande is the Republican most likely to knock off an incumbent.

Marybeth Carozza District 38
Marybeth Carozza is a Delegate in District 38C and is challenging Democratic Sen. James Mathias. Carozza is in good shape as this lower Eastern Shore District is now heavily Republican after Donald Trump dominated the District in 2016. The bad news is that Mathias is the former mayor of Ocean City and has been a well-respected politician the past few decades. Although a photo with Mathias and Democrat Ben Jealous is hurting that reputation.

Christian Miele District 8
Of all the toss up races, Christian Miele might have the toughest battle. Democratic Sen. Kathy Klausmeier has been an elected official since 1995 and District 8 is more moderate as Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by a few points in 2016. The good news for Miele is that Larry Hogan beat Anthony Brown almost 2 to 1 in 2014. That number is expected to increase against Jealous and many voters are tired of career politicians such as Klausmeier.

Leaning Democrat

John Grasso District 32
Anne Arundel Councilman John Grasso is challenging Del. Pam Beidle for the open senate in District 32 as Democratic Sen. James Ed DeGrange did not run for re-election. Beidle is a liberal Democrat in a moderate District. Since Grasso is a current councilman, his experience should help him in this race. I have District 32 as Leaning Democrat for the simple reason that there are no elected Republicans in District 32 House of Delegates, but Grasso can win this race.

Bill Dotson District 28
When Arthur Ellis upset Sen. Mac Middleton in the Democratic primary, the Republicans scrambled to nominate Bill Dotson via the local central committee. John Leonard won the GOP nomination in District 28, but the Republicans asked Leonard to step aside to give Dotson the opportunity. Dotson had more money in the bank in June and I guess the GOP believes Dotson has a chance to win this race.

Joe Hooe District 12
Joe Hooe has unsuccessfully run for the House of Delegates in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and his June report showed him with under $2,000 in the bank. If Hooe can raise some money, he has a chance to take retiring Democratic Sen. Ed Kasemeyer’s seat away from Democrat Clarence Lam and Hooe should also benefit from a strong District 12 Republicans ticket as Republicans have an excellent chance to take a few Democratic House of Delegates seats in that District.

David Wilson District 15
This is where the GOP is starting to run out of gas to get to 10. David Wilson has just under $10,000 in the bank reported around June. That is enough to run a formidable campaign, but he could use a lot more. Wilson did not catch a break as he is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Brian Feldman in Montgomery County, but this is a very moderate district for Montgomery County standards. Feldman just received over 60 percent of the vote in 2014 and that number could go down as Larry Hogan has a chance to win this District over Jealous. Wilson could benefit and pull this off.

Robert Dronz District 14
Looking at the 2014 Election results, I believe that District 14 could be more winnable for the GOP over District 15. The GOP Senate nominee received over 42 percent of the vote in 2014 but Dronz has only raised less than $500 as of June compared to Wilson’s $9,000 in District 15. It will not be easy for Dronz to upset Democratic Sen. Craig Zucker, but this Montgomery County district is not as liberal as other parts of Montgomery County. I believe that Hogan won this district in 2014 and he should win by a wider margin in 2018. Dronz is probably guaranteed 40 percent of the vote. If he can get out there, work hard and raise some money, Dronz has a chance to upset Zucker.

So that is how I see some of these Senate race as of Aug. 20. What do you think? Email me at benjaminjboehl@gmail.com