Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Knives Come Out at the State GOP Convention - Literally

Well, it looks like there was a bit of drama at the Maryland GOP convention in Annapolis.

Traditionally the convention’s opening night features partisans schmoozing and touring the hospitality suite circuit. But last night’s normally sociable affair was witness to some decidedly anti-social behavior.

And, no, I’m not talking about more bizarre antics on the part of Carmen Amedori.

According to a presser put out by the Bongino for U. S. Senate campaign, two campaign workers filed a report with the Anne Arundel County police after their tires were slashed. The release states that the tires had to be replaced, “costing the campaign seven hundred dollars.”

Now, I always hate to hear stories of strife within Maryland’s always-beleaguered state GOP. This fall, a corn roast fundraiser in Baltimore County turned into a tug-of-war affair between the county’s GOP central committee and remnants of the Ehrlich organization. The latter refused to surrender control of the event, causing the members of the former to boycott en masse.

But intramural strife is one thing. Destruction of private property is a different animal entirely.

What’s more, if early polling data and fundraising numbers are any indication, Senator Ben Cardin begins his reelection campaign in a pretty strong position. So, the notion of people engaging in destructive behavior over a prize – the 2012 GOP nomination for Senate – that ultimately won’t mean very much just seems silly.

There is a long history of luminaries from the D. C. political world who happen to live in Maryland deciding to jump into the state’s Senate races. Typically they possess few ties to state politics. Typically, they get slaughtered come Election Day.

Linda Chavez, Alan Keyes, and former Tennessee Senator, RNC Chairman, and Reagan Administration Labor Secretary Bill Brock all took their chances, and promptly vanished from the state’s political landscape when they failed.

Of the current crop of senatorial aspirants, former Secret Service agent and businessman Daniel Bongino seems to be the candidate who has created the early buzz.  Maryland’s GOP-unfriendly climate notwithstanding, he seems like a great candidate. If he wins the nomination yet is not successful in defeating Cardin, I hope he will choose to remain on the landscape and leverage his newfound name recognition to run for something else.

Of course, there is one potential candidate people are still waiting to hear from: Delegate Pat McDonough, who has been very coy about his plans.

McDonough first ran against the man he once dubbed “Tax and Spend Ben” in 1996. Cardin was an incumbent member of Congress, and McDonough had not yet been elected to the legislature. Cardin beat him by a 2-1 margin, so I’m not sure if McDonough’s prior experience running against Cardin is a strategic selling point which will resonate with primary voters.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if McDonough, with the support of his wife, gambles on a rematch.

But even if McDonough does run and fails to beat Cardin, another opportunity awaits him.

Since the passing of Montgomery County GOP activist Daniel Vovak in May, Maryland politics has been without its “Wig Man.”  This is a title which McDonough is exceptionally qualified to hold.   


  1. Mr Cross,

    Please check your facts before you publish untrue, incorrect statements regarding the "tug of war affair". You are wrong, flat out.

    There was no tug of war. It was a matter of reality vs. perception.

    Thank you.

  2. Why is a campaign paying for staffers' tires?

  3. Anon @ 11/12/11 @ 23:09:

    Thanks for reading and commenting. Two responses"

    First, politics IS perception.

    Secondly, as one of the corn roast's organizers herself conceded on Facebook, the entire Baltimore County GOP Central Committee boycotted the event, originally conceived to be a fundraiser for the county party. That's not a matter of perception. It is a matter of fact.



  4. Anon 13 November, 2011 04:38:

    The campaign is paying for the tires because the staffers were targeted due to their association with the campaign, and because people who work for campaigns are not generally so well paid that they can afford to replace tires all the time. That ought to be obvious.

  5. Dear RJC...

    You should rely on the source rather than the hearsay. I am open to discussion.


  6. Sirs,

    First, Baltimore County had 5 votes out of 28 at this past convention. It is with great assumption we conclude five individual people showed up. It is more likely three showed up with two of them carrying proxies. That is a near complete boycott!

    Secondly, I believe there are four declared candidates in the Senate primary: McDonough, Douglas, Bongino and Broadus.

    Finally, Bongino is using this alleged tire slashing as a fundraising topic. Several hundred dollars out is a drop in the bucket when you can turn it in to several thousand. Hmm. His people were quick to point the finger at other Republicans. Too quick perhaps.
    Had anyone even heard of Bongino before now?

    Thank you.
    Never Settle

  7. Richard -

    If the Corn Roast fundraiser had come down to being a battle between Ehrlich Hangers On (pro) versus the County (con), would I have attended? Seriously?

    Joe Steffen

  8. Thanks, all, for the comments.

    "Never Settle": Just to clarify, I never said the central committee boycotted the convention. I said that the central committee boycotted the corn roast. And, has McDonough actually declared his candidacy, aside from allegedly passing out fliers at a conservative event?

    Joe: I think you attended the event because: 1) it was fun; and 2) you wanted to support your friend Tammy Hunt Larkin.

    All: If anyone personally involved in the planning of this event wants to go on record with me to explain how and why this was not a "tug of war" between the organizers and the central committee, email me.


  9. Never Settle,

    On behalf of the BCRCC, although not as an official apokesperson, I would like to clarify our attendance at the convention this weekend. For the record, we had 28 out of 29 members and/or alternates in attendance. It was Baltimore City that only had 5. I would appreciate it if you would get your facts straight before throwing out such accusations.

    Secondly, the BCRCC did not in any official capacity "boycott" the Corn Roast. Each member was free to make up their minds as to attend or not. In case you're wondering why I didn't attend. A good friend of mine was having a house warming party that day and I was asked to help her pull it off. Since I was no longer committed to implementing the Corn Roast, I decided that my time, energy, and money would be better spent with my friend. I certainly did not boycott.

  10. Hillary: I take you at your word.

    I think we can argue semantics and verbage ("did not in an official capacity 'boycott'") all day long. That said, when 29 out of 29 central committee members refuse to attend a local event which had been previously conceived a major fundraising event for the party they represent, it sends a powerful message. To think that every member of the CentCom suddenly, coincidentally has something else to do defies credibility.

  11. For the record:
    1) I did not boycott the corn roast. I did not attend;
    2) Last week was no-show week for ALL Baltimore City Republicans for all political activities;
    3) I did not boycott the MDGOP Convention. I did not attend. Good, thing - I like my tires the way they are.
    4) Why is it that folks that participate in activities like tire slashing and character assassination in the name of Republican campaigns continue to work, cycle after cycle, without being called out as scum?
    The ex-investigator in me is screaming, "Somebody knows who did it and the need to come forward!"
    Don't fear coming forward. Those who align themselves with the miscreants will self-identify. The rest of us step up and act to keep them from participating in legitimate campaigns.
    Or, am I dreaming?

  12. In 1950 there was a now-famous incident (once featured on Unsolved Mysteries) in which a church exploded at the exact moment that its 15 choir members had their weekly evening practice.

    For some reason, each one of the normally punctual members was coincidentally delayed in getting to the church, meaning that none was there when the explosion happened.

    Some have labeled it a miracle, in fact. You can read more about it here:

    Perhaps a similar serendipitous if not heavenly explanation can explain why all 29 members of the Baltimore County Central Committee happened to miss the October corn roast.

  13. RJC,

    A few points:

    Corn Roast - I fully intended on going. Long story short, a last minute invite from a long-time friend (who did so much to help me while my father was dying) precluded me from attending the event. I did NOT boycott the event.

    MDGOP Convention - Again, no boycott. Family first. End of story.

    Bongino - Any inference that suggested a Republican campaign as the "opponent" alleged din't sit too well with the Bongino campaign. He's a good man, and at this point, I personally don't believe he would resort to this.

    ...never got that phone call....