Leave the Driving to Us
Today, Ovetta Wiggins of the Washington Post penned an article entitled “Maryland Republican Party begins to ponder its future without Hogan.” The article provides no real insight and is little more than filler for a slow news cycle.
While stating the obvious, Ms. Wiggins relies almost exclusively for any “analysis” on the opinions of our friend Professor Todd Eberly from St. Mary’s College. Now, we know Professor Eberly and he is a more even handed “talking head” about Maryland politics than most but the reality is that anyone who regularly reads this blog, attended our Leadership Conference, or listens to our podcasts knows more about the future of the Maryland Republican Party than the good professor.
You doubt me? Then let me lay it our for you.
Ms. Wiggins begins with a “water is wet” summary of the current political climate:
In November, Hogan won reelection by a wide margin, becoming the first Republican governor elected to a second term in the state in more than half a century. His popularity has boosted the party’s fundraising to historic levels, and the GOP spent heavily last year in hopes of expanding its footprint in Maryland, where Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by a margin of 2-to-1.
But the party ended up losing eight legislative seats and two of the five county executive positions they held, as Democratic voters, energized by opposition to President Trump, turned out in force.
Now, with Hogan barred by law from seeking a third term, his party is starting to turn its attention to 2022 and beyond.
Readers of Red Maryland know this and have been able to follow our detailed analysis of that race and have been able to hear from key players interviewed on our site. Moreover, if you attended our Leadership Conference in January, you heard a detailed analysis from state party leaders, local central committees, statewide candidates, top political consultants and activists from around the state.
Then Professor Eberly provides this “insight”:
“Right now so much of the Republican Party in Maryland is Larry Hogan. And if Hogan isn’t there it creates a huge void, and there is no indication of who will fill that void,” he said. “There is no heir apparent, and that does not bode well for a party that has been stuck in the minority for a long time . . . It’s just not a pretty picture looking forward, and Donald Trump doesn’t help them.”
Again, we like Professor Eberly but he is in way over his head here. First, while Governor Hogan is undoubtedly the leader of the state party and turned its fortunes around the fact is that the party itself is well positioned to move forward both in terms of fundraising and organization after he leaves office. In fact, that very point is made later in the article by State Party Chairman Dirk Haire, who we have known for decades and whose rise to state party chair we extensively covered. As for an heir apparent, while there is no named successor it is beyond doubt that top Republicans, particularly close Hogan allies, are organizing and looking ahead to a post-Hogan era with Lieutenant Governor Rutherford and Secretary Kelly Schulz as leading contenders to take the mantle when Governor Hogan leaves, another point actually made in the article.
Of course, if the good professor followed Red Maryland he would know that. Lieutenant Governor Rutherford spoke at our Leadership Conference just as Secretary Schulz will speak at the 2020 conference. You would also know beyond this that candidates like Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, who Hogan compliments in the article, DNR Secretary, former Delegate, and Lieutenant Governor candidate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, and even former Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele were also in the mix. That would put you ahead of the readers of the Washington Post.
Humorously, the Post notes that:
Haire announced last month that Corine Frank, 36, the vice chairwoman of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee, would replace Patrick O’Keefe as the state party’s executive director. O’Keefe left for a position with Anedot, an online fundraising company.
Of course, Red Maryland broke that story, something even the Baltimore Sun and Maryland Matters had to admit. We were the only outlet to interview Ms. Frank and ask her about the party’s plans for the future.
This story ends with some quotes from Delegate Kathy Szeliga, the Minority Whip in the House of Delegates, who expressed confidence in the party’s future. Again, if you followed us at Red Maryland you would know the basis for this optimism and you would have heard Delegate Szeliga expound on this at our Leadership Conference in January. (Delegate Szeliga will be joining us again for our 2020 leadership conference.)
Here is the point. The Washington Post, in fact nearly all of the mainstream media, doesn’t have the slightest clue what is actually happening the Maryland Republican Party. Red Maryland has been covering this beat for twelve years now. We know the players, the issues, the history inside and out. We have interviewed candidates, party leaders, activists and others that folks like Ovetta Wiggins haven’t and provided insight to our readers that “political experts” like Professor Eberly just can’t.
That is why you as a reader of this blog you know more about the future of Maryland Republican Party than the “experts” or anyone relying on the Washington Post to get their information. It’s why what we do is so important and is why we hope you will help us keep doing it for another twelve years as we cover the post-Hogan years with the same insight that we covered the post-Ehrlich years and the entire span of Governor Hogan’s tenure.