With so much of the news coverage of the unfolding race for state GOP chairman focusing on the “Who has climbed into the race today” aspect of it, I decided to indulge myself by looking at the four candidates I wish were running.
I picked each one in part because they have prior political experience under their belts. But, the main reason is that none is confined by that experience. Each retains the potential to be a strong, forward-looking leader. And, none is inexorably tied to any former candidate’s camp or faction within the party:
1) Ken Holt: The former
Baltimore County legislator and 2010 nominee for County Executive ran a decent race in an adverse year for . He comes from a financial background, which means he has access to a new potential donor pool for the party. He speaks with authority on budget and taxation matters, which means he could serve as the party’s most able spokesman during some of the fiscal battles looming on the horizon. And, he kind of looks like Ronald Reagan – not a bad quality in a GOP chairman. county Republicans
2) Marty Madden: Few people in state GOP circles have a better feel for the tactics and strategies needed to win elections than this former state senator. He long represented a district in increasingly liberal
, which means that he has a feel for issues that appeal to swing suburban voters. He is universally respected across the political landscape. And, based on my own dealings with him, I expect he would be the kind of chairman not averse to innovation and applying out of the box thinking, rather than relying on the same old tactics and personalities. Howard County
3) Bob Flanagan: This former legislator and MDOT Secretary came up short in his bid for the Howard County Council, but I think he still has a lot to offer. He is one of the smarter players in the party. He represents a proper balance of intellect and partisanship. He has the substance to engage the Democrats on policy, and the energy to fire up the GOP base.
4) Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio: Just elected to her third term in the Maryland House of Delegates, Delegate Haddaway-Riccio personifies the future of the GOP in
. Young, energetic, smart, and accomplished, she is a citizen legislator with an impressive record as a civic activist and an entrepreneur. Hardly a creature of Annapolis, she is a legislator whose feet are planted squarely in the real world. As chairman, she could easily connect with, inspire, and motivate young people to give the GOP a chance. Maryland
Those are my four “dream picks.” Of course, I would want to see each candidate’s plan before deciding which one should get the job. But, so far, I like my fantasy picks better than any of the actual candidates.