Staab Compares Lutherville Parkland to Government Center

-The following letter was submitted by former Director of Recreation and Parks and State Delegate Bob Staab-

While Baltimore County’s acquisition of parkland in the Lutherville-Timonium community was welcome news, it also “pulled back the curtain” on County Executive Olszewski’s hypocrisy in dealing with the citizens of Dundalk and their parkland/open space needs.

In the case of Timonium, Mr. Olszewski touts his efforts in acquiring private land to save it from development and is quoted as stating that creating more recreational space is “a critical component” to creating “vibrant ommunities”. Conversely, in the case of Dundalk’s North Point Government Center Park, Mr. Olszewski has been working intensively to consummate an unprecedented sale of existing PUBLIC land which has been used as a school site and parkland for over 60 years so that it may be COMMERCIALLY developed.

Mr. Olszewski’s desire to create “vibrant communities” apparently doesn’t extend to Dundalk.

In the case of Timonium, citizens registered fierce opposition and in relatively short order had their voices heard. In the case of Dundalk, its citizens have been “fighting Goliath” for 10 years, to save EXISTING open space/parkland.

Thousands of dollars and hours have been expended in efforts to have the courts and “powers to be” consider a simple plea, to save EXISTING parkland. In response to their heartfelt efforts, Dundalk citizens have received only the cold shoulder (and a smirks smile) from Mr. Olszewski.

Fortunately, Governor Hogan and Comptroller Franchot showed the political courage to force a ‘time out” to the Baltimore County’s runaway development plans. Otherwise, Dundalk would likely be enduring a few more hamburger stands, convenience store/gas stations and increasingly congested traffic on property that has been enjoyed by the public for over six decades.

In the case of Timonium, Mr. Olszewski was willing to “put his (actually our) money where his mouth is”.

Unfortunately, in the case of Dundalk, Mr. Olszewski continues to “put his mouth (i.e., support) where the money is”.

One can only wonder WHY. Upon noting his political campaign’s “healthy” financial records, we can only hope that he is not becoming the best politician that money can buy!

Hornberger Easily Leading McCarthy for Cecil County Executive

It is appearing that a Republican County Executive is on the verge of being unseated.

Polls show that GOP Incumbent Alan McCarthy is trailing Danielle Hornberger in the Cecil County Executive Republican Primary 4,909 votes (59.7 percent) to 2,019 (24.6 percent) with some of the early mail-in ballots being counted.

Hornberger works for Congressman Andy Harris’ office and is the wife of Del. Kevin Hornberger.

Bill Coutz and Ewing McDowell were also in the race but finished a distant third and fourth.

Races to Watch for MD 2020 Primary

Today is the day of the 2020 Presidential Primary. While we know that President Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, there are some interesting primary contests on the Republican side.

1. 2nd Congressional District.
State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, Del. Rick Impallaria, Tim Fazenbaker, Genevieve Morris, Jim Simpson, Scott Collier and Blaine Taylor are the GOP.
The winner will face nine-term Democratic Congressman C.A.”Dutch” Ruppersberger in November, unless there is a historic upset. Democrats Jake Pretot and Michael Feldman are challenging him in the primary.

2. Cecil County Executive
GOP Incumbent Alan McCarthy is in a battle with Danielle Hornberger, an Andy Harris staffer and wife of Del. Kevin Hornberger. Bill Coutz and Ewing McDowell are also in the Republican primary.

3. 7th Congressional District
This is a redo of the Special Election after Elijah Cummings passed away. And since that was in February and April, there was no time for any new candidates to file. All the special election candidates could run twice and some Democrats and Republicans withdrew after the first race.

Newly elected Congressman Kweisi Mfume will be the likely Democratic nominee.
Kim Klacik was the GOP nominee in February as she beat out Liz Matory. Both candidates are running again along with William Newton, MJ Madwolf, Brian Brown and Ray Bly.

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”.