5 weeks out…

First District news abounds from both sides tonight as we move into high gear for the primary election on February 12th.

I’m going to start with the Democrats this evening. After I posted the other day about the teachers’ union endorsement Frank Kratovil received, it wasn’t 48 hours later that he picked up the AFL-CIO endorsement. It buttresses my point about needing to get out a cadre of volunteers in November because Frank’s now going to have thousands more union thugs to work the polls and pre-election for him. Just come knock on my door, folks. I need a good political argument to warm me up for working the polls on November 4th.

As he notes he also has personal endorsements from:

Governor Martin O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Governors Harry Hughes and Parris Glendening, and former Attorney General Joseph Curran.

So it’s a who’s who of the Democrat establishment backing him as well as the unionistas. Speaking of O’Governor, more on him a bit later.

On the other side of the race, Andy Harris claimed a major victory last night in Anne Arundel County:

Andy Harris won a resounding victory Monday night in a straw poll at a dinner remembering the late President Ronald Reagan. Andy Harris trounced his opponents by receiving 67% of the vote – doubling the combined totals of his two opponents. The dinner with guest speaker Michael Reagan was hosted by the Citizens for Better Government Slate, a new Republican committee established to help elect Republicans in Anne Arundel County.

“Andy Harris is the only person in this race who shares Reagan’s values of limited government, personal responsibility, and across-the-board conservatism. It is only appropriate Andy would win the straw poll at an event honoring our greatest president,” said Chris Meekins, Campaign Manager for Harris for Congress.

The dinner was held in Anne Arundel County which contains the largest number of Republican primary voters in the entire first congressional district.

“As I travel throughout the district meeting voters, they want a change to genuine conservative leadership,” said Andy Harris. “Winning this straw poll epitomizes the support I see from Republicans as I travel throughout the entire district.”

Harris picked up 67% of the straw poll vote, with E.J. Pipkin at 22% and Wayne Gilchrest at an 11% share.

According to the PolitickerMD website, Wayne Gilchrest’s campaign manager Tony Caliguiri questioned the victory’s impact:

“No surprise,” reacted Gilchrest spokesperson Tony Caligiuri. “The poll was sponsored by a Harris supporter.”

Caligiuri went on to note that the last straw poll was won by now-withdrawn candidate John Leo Walter. That poll was tallied at a meeting of Wicomico County Republicans in September, but largely took place through voting online while last night’s was conducted entirely in person.

Faithful readers of monoblogue know that Caliguiri is only half right at best, as I helped to put together the Straw Poll in question and served as master of ceremonies. Walter won the fundraiser vote but not the raw totals, where Harris won with 46% of the total. And the vote was NOT held online, as I showed.

One thing I believe is that this result proves again that conservatism wins in a fair fight. Say what you will about the negative tone of Harris’s campaign, it’s shown by at least one neutral observer (the Maryland Accountability Project) that Harris tends to be a few degrees more conservative than E.J. Pipkin in a good apples-to-apples comparison.

Finally, my O’Malley tidbit. A Washington Times poll and accompanying story by Tom LoBianco and Seth McLaughlin showed that Martin O’Malley’s job approval is worse than President Bush’s. 36% of the 500 likely voters surveyed thought Bush was either doing an “excellent” (16%) or “good” (20%) job while the numbers added up to 33% for O’Malley (6% excellent, 27% good).

I guess it’s a good break for O’Malley that he’s not on the 2008 ballot because our last governor was tossed out despite approval ratings in the 50% range. Only the November 7, 2006 poll of about 2 million Marylanders placed Robert Ehrlich under 50 percent. I know hindsight is 20/20, but I’d love to see a poll about who Maryland would vote for today in a rematch.

Enough for tonight, I’m off to see the New Hampshire results roll in.

Crossposted on monoblogue.






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