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September 14, 2006

The Times They Are A-Changing

Chris Cavey

Primary Election Day was certainly an exciting day for many candidates. The parties have each chosen their nominees and the main event, the General Election, will be upon us in less than two months. Tuesday the voting public sent a hidden message, even though they collectively don't realize what they did, with their candidate selection.

The message is that the Republican Party is growing broad and deep within its base while the Democrats are withdrawing and becoming narrowly focused toward the left-side of their party.

First the obvious look at the top of the ticket. The Ehrlich/Cox ticket brings to the Republican table an incumbent who is a proven leader actively working to broaden his party.and it's working.

Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. was the first to bring to the table an African-American as lieutenant governor in Michael Steele and is now showing Maryland that leadership and intelligence can also come from his Secretary of Disabilities, Kristen Cox.

The mind set of stretching the Republican Party has been picked-up by the voters. Anne McCarthy, dean of the Merrick School of Business at the University of Baltimore and a resident of Baltimore City, won the nomination for comptroller. Not because there is a Republican base in the city to carry her over, but because she is a highly qualified and articulate person. Republicans have no fear about putting the state's money in the hands of a woman who runs one of our premier business colleges. Imagine that a, comptroller with business and finance degrees.

Scott Rolle, unopposed on the Republican ballot but certainly qualified, to fill the shoes of an attorney general. Interestingly enough, the argument here is this attorney is not from the Baltimore or Washington hub of three-name law firms but from a Western Maryland county. Yes, a certain Republican bastion, but not a typical geographic area to make an attorney general selection.

Michael Steele for Senate. There is little need to explain the qualifications of Mr. Steele. He has virtually 100% name recognition, been a proven leader and is on the right track to be the most creditable Senate candidate in memory.

The message the Republicans, statewide, sent to the world Tuesday was: "We are a broad statewide party with a bench that is growing deeper with each election. Please check out our highly qualified and diverse candidates."

Conversely the apparent message from the Democrats is: "Thank God Martin O'Malley chose an African-American running mate because we only selected liberal white guys."

Gone is the Democrat icon William Donald Schaefer, his services to the Democrat party ousted by a Montgomery County liberal. Not even a well-qualified female county executive could make the cut.

Thirty percent of the total electorate is African-American; most are registered Democrat and very loyal. This election, however, sees the Democrats turning their collective backs on Steward Simms and Kweisi Mfume to elect a pair of liberal white guys to make the African-American community prove they willingly will submit to the creed of "party over race."

The Republican Party is broadening even to the point that pieces of its very core are becoming competitive with people wanting to become active and participate. Republican Central Committees are having competitive races. This is a sign that excitement is growing within the rank and file.

County organizations are experiencing healthy growing pains in both their central committees and club organizations. New people are realizing that Republican participation is open to everyone. Longer-term activists are learning that party growth spawns new ideas and suddenly they are growing a farm team. Many people with leadership skills are looking to become a part of a growing organization with a future in Maryland.

The future will be the Ehrlich-led Republican Party, if the primary is any indication; it is growing and showing a broad slate. The Democrats, on the other hand, are being absorbed by political adverse selection.

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