Now it gets Interesting
For a long time I was discussing the likelihood that Comptroller Peter Franchot would challenge Governor O’Malley in next year’s Democratic primary. Well, it looks like the Governor is going to get a challenge…..not from the left, but from the right according to the Sun:
George W. Owings III, a former Democratic delegate and party leader from Calvert County, is “actively considering a challenge” to Gov. Martin O’Malley in next year’s election, the former majority leader told The Baltimore Sun.
The 64-year-old Vietnam war hero from Dunkirk, who served on Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s cabinet, said he was “45 to 60 days” away from deciding whether to challenge O’Malley in the 2010 Democratic primary. He acknowledged that the odds of anyone unseating the incumbent governor “are very long.”…..
….After serving in the House of Delegates from 1988 to 2004, Owings was Ehrlich’s secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. A conservative Democrat, Owings said he believes the state party has “strayed from its working class roots” under O’Malley’s leadership.
The former mortgage banker said he began mulling a challenge after the governor pushed unpopular tax hikes through the General Assembly in 2007 in order to confront the massive structural budget deficit he inherited.
“I see a lot of good, solid working-class Democrats with serious concerns about the direction we are taking,” Owings said. He said he has “the mechanics in place” for an organized campaign, including “some guarantees of operating money” from a “loosely knit financing committee.”
This is the best piece of news that opponents of Governor O’Malley could possibly hear. A bruising Democratic primary means there is a pretty good chance that O’Malley will need to waste financial and political capital running against a fellow Democrat, while the Republican candidate will be able to criss-cross the state introducing themselves to voters and stay above the fray……assuming we united behind one candidate (which is an altogether separate problem with all of the competing interests amount the Bob Ehrlich, Charles Lollar, and Mike Pappas camps).
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And Owings isn’t the only one contemplating a challenge. Former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne Curry may jump into the fray too. Even usually reliable Democratic quote machine Matthew Crenson even concedes the following to the Sun:
“Even if they’re not true, the fact that there are so many rumors suggests that O’Malley is perceived as vulnerable,” Crenson said.
This is a good sign, but let’s not bet the ranch that this is the be all and end all of the 2010 Election, either. Sure, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend may have been morally wounded when she gave up 20-percent of the priamry vote to grocery store clerk Raymond Fustero in 2002, but remember that incumbent Governor Parris Glendening bowled right through then Harford County Executive Eileen Rehrmann and former Redskin Ray Schoenke in the primary in his 1998 re-election campaign.
This is a positive development that O’Malley is drawing potential primary challengers, but there is a lot of work for Republicans to do over the next 18 months for us to be able to draw any benefit from it…