The Vichy Wings Rides Again

Once again, it looks like the problem of the Vichy Republicans has reared its head up in Frederick County, in two different major races:

By all appearances, goodwill was in the air at a Saturday unity rally that included Jan Gardner, David Gray and Mark Sweadner. 

More than 200 people gathered in front of Winchester Hall to thank Republicans Gray and Sweadner for their campaigns for county executive, Gardner said. The rally also gave Gray and Sweadner, who were defeated in the GOP primary, a chance to underscore their support for Gardner, the Democratic candidate for county executive….  

…A defeated Republican county executive candidate has announced his support for Dan Rupli, a Democratic contender for the Maryland Senate. 

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Mark Sweadner, who lost the GOP nomination to Young, said he has long admired Rupli. 

“Dan is a person that represents all classes of citizens, and I hope you will consider voting for him to become our State Senator in District 4,” Sweadner said in a statement. 

Rupli, who is going up against Hough, said he appreciates the endorsement, especially since his campaign focuses on bringing together people of different political viewpoints. 

Rupli also noted that he has gotten an endorsement from Gray, another Republican executive candidate knocked out in the primary.

This of course is not the first time that a defeated Republican candidate has switched sides up in Frederick County. In 2010 Liberal Republican Charles Jenkins took his ball and endorsed the Democrat after his primary election defeat to Michael Hough, and Jenkins was at the vanguard of party switching endorsements for 2014 when he declared Jan Gardner as shoo-in to be County Executive last December.

Strangely, this seems to be behavior that we only see in Frederick County. Sure, you have occasional individuals from time-to-time break party ranks, but only in Frederick County do we see wide-spread dissension in the ranks between winning candidates and losing candidates so frequently. This is a problem that goes far beyond competitive primary elections. While the primary race between the Red Maryland backed winner Michael Hough and Senate Minority Leader David Brinkley was hostile and a lot of feathers were ruffled, few activists involved in the race have openly switched sides.

One of the questions that was asked frequently during the gubernatorial debate was about whether or not the three defeated candidates would endorse the winner. In the end, Messrs. Craig, George, and Lollar all came to the Unity Rally to pledge their support to Larry Hogan. There, it was clear that the issues that divided the candidates were at the margins, with most supporting a mainstream conservative philosophy. The problem with this kind of nonsense out in Frederick is that it asks the question not about party unity, but about ideological consistency. In Frederick County, there is a clear choice and a clear ideological divide between Republicans and Democrats. If Mark Sweadner and David Gray were so comfortable crossing party lines to endorse mainstream, out of touch Democrats like Gardner and Rupli, why were they seeking office as Republicans in the first place?

I mean seriously, two guys who ran as Republicans endorse the guy who said this:

The rights of middle-class families are evaporating in the face of exploding wealth and income inequity between the upper 1 percent and everyone else and fast-growing corporate political power. The release of vast amounts of unaccounted money by corporations and billionaires into our elections is threatening democracy itself by turning leadership selection into a bidding process. I completely reject the idea that “corporations are people” or that “money is speech.” 

This is not the kind of idea that actual Republicans buy into….

The problems in the Republican Party are not new. Hopefully, the newly elected officials and elected Central Committee leadership will be able to straighten all of this out. But the only thing that we know to be true with these endorsements is that David Gray and Mark Sweadner have joined Charles Jenkins as defeated candidates whose petulant, post-primary endorsements have ended their careers in Republican politics.

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