Mileah Kromer’s Failed Hot Take

Last October, the Baltimore Sun ran an op-ed from an outfit called Network 2000 demanding that both candidates for Governor last year make half of their gubernatorial appointments to commissions, committees, task forces, advisory boards and intrastate agencies. Neither candidate was going to play that game and the point of the op-ed (to put Larry Hogan on the spot on women’s issues) clearly didn’t work out the way the Sun Editorial Board hoped for.

The ideological sequel to that op-ed ran in today’s Sun, where political science professor and wannabe serious pollster Mileah Kromer wrote piece entitled “The Md. GOP needs to cultivate female candidates.” The title of the piece is certainly inoffensive, however the premise of the piece basically boils down to the idea that the Maryland GOP needs to ignore any potential Senate candidate who is not a woman:

Maryland Republican activists should be actively searching for a female candidate to enter the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. There is one big problem. The lack of gender diversity among Republican elected officials in Maryland has made this female candidate — someone with the experience and background to take on the Democrats in the general election — tough to find.

There are of course a number of problems with Kromer’s nothingburger of a piece:

  • Candidates don’t exist in a vacuum. It is extremely difficult to recruit any qualified candidate to run for statewide office in Maryland in a good year. It’s even harder to do it in a Presidential election year;
  • She pretends that nobody is actively trying to recruit a female candidate in the race. There has already been an effort to Draft Laura Neuman to run or the seat.
  • There seems to be a lack of historical understanding and knowledge about the Maryland Republican Party’s history with nominating women statewide. More Republican women have been the general election nominee for statewide office in Maryland than Democrats. Louise Gore was the first woman to be a nominee for Governor in 1974. Linda Chavez was the Republican nominee for Senate in 1986 against Mikulski. Ellen Sauerbrey was our nominee for Governor twice, beating narrowly losing to Parris Glendening in 1994, and again in 1998. Kristen Cox (Maryland’s first blind candidate for Lt. Governor) and Mary Kane were both running mates to Bob Ehrlich. Much like when the Democrats played the race card, the Maryland Republican Party has a better record in nominating women than the Democrats.

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Kromer’s piece also ignores the historic potential of Chrys Kefalas if he wins the nomination for US Senate next year. Kefalas would be the first openly gay candidate to be given a major party statewide nomination. It would go in line with other historic firsts the Maryland Republican Party has seen in nominating candidates statewide. Maybe Kromer has a problem with that, who knows.

There is, however, one sentence in Kromer’s piece that stands out in its absolute accuracy:

Political parties should always strive to recruit top individual talent regardless of gender, but dynasties are built when the players on the bench stand ready to bring their unique talents and perspectives to the game.

This is something that we have talked about at Red Maryland for quite a long time. The Maryland Republican Party has made great efforts in improving its bench, and the wildly successful general election grew that bench to its biggest size in our lifetimes. Those candidates have been cultivated from clubs and Central Committees around the state regardless of race, color, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. It’s a shame that Kromer doesn’t know that.

If Kromer wants to continue to write hot takes about the Republican Party, she like others should spend some time talking to Republicans instead of just assuming things out of whole cloth. Otherwise, she should stick to keep trying to make her statistically insignificant polls relevant.

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