Thursday, December 14, 2006

Commissioners, Minority Leaders, 2008 and 2010

There's some political stuff going on, and I'm going to cover what I've learned.

County Commissioner Board

The second issue is the County Commissioner president debate. The five member board now has three Republicans and two Democrats. The rules say that the top vote-getter of the majority party gets the president spot. The top vote-getter out of all five is Democrat Jan Gardner, and most of the committee supports changing the rule so that she can be president of the committee; her supporters include the current president, Republican David Gray. Her only opposition on the board is Republican Charles Jenkins, but the county Republican Chairman, Dino Flores, is trying to ensure that Gardner does not get the top spot.

Here's a crucial quote from Joe Volz of the FNP:
The commissioners' election last month, however, had very little to do with
Republicans versus Democrats. It broke down to this overriding issue: How is
the county going to grow -- haphazardly, at the whim of the developers, or in
an orderly way?

Dino says. "The voters overwhelmingly rejected growth versus no growth." But,
he argues, that no one can say that Republicans who pushed the lever for Jan
did so because they wanted her to be board president.
How do I feel? Well, changing the rules midstream to benefit one party doesn't really sit well to me. On the other hand, the top vote-getter regardless of party clearly has a mandate in at least one sense. But on the other other hand, it makes sense for the board president to be the same party as the majority, because otherwise the majority can vote against the leadership, and nothing will get done.

But in the end, if two out of three board Republicans support the Democrat, and I,
generally speaking, support Democrats over Republicans, then I'm going to have to
support Gardner for this position. Not that anyone cares who I support, but still...

Republican Minority Leadership

The second is the Brinkley/Mooney/Harris minority leader debacle (needs a good name... Wingnutgate? Looniegate? Douchegate?), wherein local Republican state senator Alex Mooney has backed the minority leadership campaign of Andy Harris of Baltimore County, apparently a close personal friend of Mooney's. How is that controversial? Well, the person ostensibly next in line for that position is David Brinkley, also a local State Senator. So, Mooney's opposition to Brinkley harms Frederick County because Mr. Harris will presumably work more for Baltimore County (his home district, and a more politically important one) than Frederick.

Do I think this is important? Not really. Minority leader is not a huge position, after all, so I'm not sure that Brinkley could really do much for Frederick County anyway. He's not even an entirely FredCo Senator... IIRC, he's mostly Carroll County, with just a little sliver of FredCo - admittedly, it happens to be my sliver, but still. And to think he was unopposed...

I'd also like to point out this gem:
In a recent vote to elect the GOP Senate leader, Mr. Mooney cast a proxy vote while
on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands. That vote created a seven-to-seven deadlock
that will require another vote, probably this week or next, among the Senate's 14 GOP members.
It might be considered rude to point out that he couldn't even organize his gridlock-making vacation schedule around the job that pays for trips to the Virgin Islands.

2008 open House race? Governor Steele? Senator Ehlrich?

Aah, but wait, there's more! While Mooney has been casting his decision in terms of friendship, there's also a political angle. It's been widely assumed that Roscoe Bartlett, Maryland's most conservative Republican Representative (though that's not saying much) and batty old fart extraordinaire, will retire... eventually. The scuttlebutt has been 2008, though he put the kibosh on that scuttlebutt a few days ago - a lot can change in two years, and he is old, so I don't put much stock in that, and he'll be 80, IIRC. If Roscoe retires, the likely Republican candidates for his seat include Mooney, Brinkley and Roscoe's son. By cutting off Brinkley's chances at statewide party leadership, Mooney is helping himself as well (not to mention having a great time in the Virgin Islands, no doubt). Every time any political commentator of any sort remarks on the potential for Bartlett to retire, said commentator is required, apparently by state law, to note that the Republican primary will be vicious.

While I was googling along, I stumbled across some stuff on Free Republic. What are the Freepers Freeping about these days? Freepingly, Michael Steele, former Lieutenant-Governor and former Senatorial candidate is interested in becoming a future former Gubernatorial candidate. Yes, that's right. The man who couldn't beat Ben Cardin, who has the charisma and panache of a sea monkey, is interested in challenging Martin O'Malley in 2010. The Freepers look at Steele running mates and see John White as a possibility, a good one IMO, though the other two suggestions are also intriguing: Wayne Curry, the PG County exec who scandalously endorsed Steele, and Mr. Alex Mooney himself, assuming he doesn't succeed Roscoe Bartlett in 08.

Freepiciously, Robert Ehlrich is being courted by both Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. The Freepers commenting want a Guiliani/Ehlrich campaign, which I thought was funny - would the Repubs really put a New York crossdressing liberal with the hoity-toiter bluestater Ehlrich?). Anyway, the really interesting point is that Ehlrich is considering a Senate run in 2010, when brillo-headed maven Barbara Mikulski will be up for reelection, and will be a ripe old 74. The Freepers suggested Democratic possibilities include Dutch Ruppersburger, Chris Van Hollen (I like Chris Van Hollen a lot), Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings and Albert Wynn (Wynn? Are they out of their Freeping minds? He'll be damn lucky to not get primaried into the unemployment line come 08).


Andrew Kujan said...

Hi there! Great commentary here.

It shows what dire straits MD Republicans are in when they nominate the same people for numerous offices. Whats next, Mike Steele for Comptroller? Bob Ehrlich for Clerk of the Circuit Court? Bartlett's great nephew for Orioles Manager?

If you haven't yet, be sure to sign up for Leftyblogs maryland Blogroll.

Fredneck said...

I want Ehlrich to be my Register of Wills, though I could settle for Clerk of the Orphans Court.

Do all states have weird positions like these?

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