Well, we're less than one month before the election and there’s still quite a bit of work to do. Here in Frederick County we have three major races with national implications which we can win if we really try.
Dan Bongino is poised to unseat Ben Cardin in the Senate race. Ken Timmerman has an excellent chance of beating Chris Van Hollen in District 8 and Roscoe Bartlett can hold off John Delaney to maintain his seat in District 6. Besides the presidential race, these three races are the ones on the national level most important to Frederick County. We also have two stellar candidates for school board, Tony Chmelik and Colleen Cusimano, we need to support.
Around the state there are other races where Republicans have a chance to win if volunteers work hard to make themselves seen and heard. Some of the people who are running deserving of our support include Nancy Jacobs, Andy Harris, Faith Louden, Frank Mirabile, Eric Knowles and delegate Tony O’Donnell. So you see there is quite a bit going on in Maryland which needs our attention and energy.
In spite of all the work that needs to be done, there are some who think that fighting in Maryland is a waste of time and effort. After all the focus should be on the presidential election, rather than local and state races, and Mitt Romney cannot win Maryland. That being the case, some GOP officials think we should send volunteers to those states considered swing states; such as Virginia and Pennsylvania. Of course they will tell you that they’re not talking about sending everyone just some volunteers and only for a few weekends until the election.
When you think of the time, money and effort linked to our state and local candidates, somehow that just doesn’t make sense to me. In a battle, and believe me this election is a battle, you don’t pull reinforcements from the part of the line being hardest hit by the enemy. You pull them from the part of the line that is being hit the lightest and has the least chance of being overrun. What some in leadership are suggesting is that we actually pull resources from Maryland where we are being hardest hit, where every conservative Republican vote is a struggle and send them to states that need help but overall may be in better shape than we are. Tactically that just doesn’t make any sense! Strategically it is very shortsighted.
Clearly, we need to make a big push in swing states. The presidential election is extremely important, but so are the races for the house and senate. It seems the best way to do that would be to bring in reinforcements from those states that are definitely in the Republican column, where the fight is not as hard and where the number of campaign workers on the ground can be reduced. That makes tactical sense!
In Maryland, due to the hard work of the central committees and grass-roots Republican activists in each County, the number of Republicans holding seats in local office is finally larger than the number of Democrats. This is a dramatic change in a state where Democrats used to hold the majority at that level of government. It happened because Republicans rolled up their sleeves, and fought hard. We got our message across to the electorate. In other words, we made progress by standing our conservative ground.
If we do this for the presidential election, Mitt Romney may or may not win Maryland’s electoral votes, but we may be able to keep the race for popular votes competitive. The smaller the spread in the number of votes between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the better the chances of Maryland Republicans being able to raise funds in future elections. If the ultimate vote spread is huge the Republican National Committee and donors in general will continue to look at Maryland as a “donor state” instead of one that should be taken seriously and supported by the party apparatus.
So it is in our long-term interest to make a strong spirited stand in Maryland, to fight for every vote, to fight for every elected position and to show everyone in the Republican Party that we are more than just donors but instead on a path to make Maryland a red state.
To do what I am suggesting takes real patience, fortitude and leadership. It takes standing up to the Republican National Committee and telling them that stripping Maryland of their campaign force is both a tactical and strategic error and we won’t allow it. It means telling the Republican National Committee to work with those states that are solidly Republican and have them send reinforcements to the swing states. It means telling the Republican National Committee that in Maryland we expect their support. However the Republican national committee is not the only organization where we need to make our voices heard.
We need to make sure the leadership at the state party level understands that we want to convert our state into a Republican state. We need to make sure that leadership at the state party understands that we want to make our state count. We want to make sure leadership in Annapolis understands that to go elsewhere to fight for candidates when we have so much work to do here in Maryland is at best self-serving acquiescence and at worst an act of cowardice.
Former speaker of the House Tip O’Neill is often credited with saying that “all politics is local.” I believe he is right. So I am asking all our Frederick-area constituents to spend their time, effort and political donations here in Maryland. All our candidates can use help and all our central committees can use help. If you want to work elsewhere and you’re already in a Republican county or district, work someplace else in Maryland. There are counties where Republicans are greatly outnumbered; they can certainly use your support.