Mr. Lollar stated that he wanted to have this availability because he wanted to explain some things. I have some difficulty describing what the event was because, as with most things involving Mr. Lollar, there is an insistence that it wasn’t what it seemed to be. Mr. Lollar insists that he is not an active candidate for Governor but is the target of a “Draft Campaign” over which he strenuously maintains he has no control. See Mr. Lollar is active duty military for another month or so and is limited, both by federal law and military regulations, from being involved in certain activities associated with someone running for office. When asked why he simply doesn’t wait until after the restrictions upon him are lifted, there was no clear answer other than a sense that waiting may be detrimental to his ultimate campaign, should he decide to run.
Needless to say, this odd “non-campaign” campaign is confusing to most folks and was the first topic of discussion at our meeting, for lack of a better word. I encourage you to listen to Mr. Lollar’s answers. My impression is that you have a person who desperately wants to run for Governor, although he coyly suggests the decision is not entirely made, who is pushing the envelope legally to do everything he can to run without running. When asked if the campaign had some legal review of its actions, the answer appeared to be no. While I certainly make no conclusion, I really have concerns that what Mr. Lollar and the “draft campaign” are doing (he refers to them as “We”) would really bear a great deal of scrutiny.
With that backdrop, we asked Mr. Lollar a great deal of questions about, as he put it, what a Lollar administration would look like. Mr. Lollar said that he would run for Governor, assuming his family gives him the green light, because of his concerns about the taxing, spending, education and energy policies of the current administration in Annapolis. He outlined a fiscally conservative approach to the budget with a mind toward reducing the overall size of state government. He notably was a strong advocate of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights like that passed in Colorado and would apply the principles of TABOR to the development of the state’s budget as Governor. To my mind, this is the most pro-taxpayer ground taken by any potential candidate and should be music to the ears of true fiscal conservatives. Mr. Lollar noted the failures of the current administration to enact common sense energy policy, embracing engines of economic growth like fracking and opposing the expensive and inefficient alternatives of the O’Malley regime.
While on these issues, likely to be the most important in next year’s election, Mr. Lollar articulated unambigous conservative positions, some of his positions on other issues may be a surprise to conservatives. Mr. Lollar, after all, is to some degree promoted as a conservative alternative to current actual or potential candidates. When asked simply his views on marriage and how that issue would be affected if he were Governor, he expressed a view that civil marriage itself should be done away with. While not seeming to advocate any specific proposals or making the issue a priority, he supported the notion that the state should simply get out of marriage altogether. Not sure how pro-family conservatives who believe in the value of marriage as a cornerstone of civil society and are fighting to preserve its degradation from a variety of corners would view a candidate who would hold this position.
Also interesting, Mr. Lollar would not support re-instituting the death penalty. While no opponent of the death penalty and insisting that most Marylanders oppose its repeal, Mr. Lollar insisted that the issue was decided because the people’s representatives in the General Assembly voted. This was particularly surprising since Mr. Lollar is opposed to a great deal of decisions that this same General Assembly has voted on and passed over the last few years. I expect some clarification may be forthcoming.
Just to round out the social conservative questions, Mr. Lollar emphatically opposed public funding for abortion and was interested in policies oriented toward more positive alternatives.
When asked about the experience he had that would be an asset to him as Governor, Mr. Lollar pointed to his years as Marine officer and his business experience with a Landover based uniform company. Specifically, he mentioned his experience managing a twenty million dollar plus budget and his experience managing personnel. When asked if his lack of political experience would be a detriment, Mr. Lollar emphatically insisted that it was an advantage. He called out Harford County Executive David Craig by name as an example of the career politicians that he insisted the founders of our country would abhor and who he claimed have gotten us to where we are as a state and a nation. However, when asked about a potential Lieutenant Governor candidate, Mr. Lollar stated that he wanted someone with experience dealing with the legislature and when asked specifically whether such a choice could include an elected official, and more specifically one who might fit his definition of a career politician, he did not rule out the possibility. It seemed some recognition that his lack of political experience needed to be shored up if he were actually elected Governor and that perhaps some otherwise abhorrent elected official might yet be a good choice for LG.
While Mr. Lollar is a charismatic and passionate person, listening to his answers to our questions laid bare some of his weaknesses as a candidate for the highest office in Maryland. His political philosophy has more of a libertarian bent than a traditional conservative one, which will excite some voters no doubt. His lack of experience is a double edged sword at best and some of his answers belied a lack of thoughtful preparation for fairly obvious questions. Given how much Mr. Lollar has been talking to potential voters, while not actually campaigning, one might think the message discipline would be a little higher. Of greatest concern, the method of his current “draft campaign”, while perhaps walking the legal tightrope, raises doubts in my mind that Mr. Lollar and his many loyal and hard working supporters really have an adequate understanding of the intricacies of running a statewide electoral campaign. While Mr. Lollar is an intriguing candidate, I have to report my candid opinion that he does not seem ready to be a serious contender for the Office of Governor of Maryland.