Pulling Up by the Bootstraps…
A couple of days ago as I thundered around the Baltimore Beltway at 11:15 P.M. heading for home, my mind wandered into calculating the political miles logged on my road warrior of a car. Even though the math problem helped keep me alert, the results were surprising.
The job of Republican Party chairman in a large county and my duties as a state party officer, combined with fundraisers and club meetings, equaled over 1,200 miles a month. Like any other addict, I guess I just never realized or wanted to admit to my problem – the desire to build the Republican Party.
Sure those around me noticed all the telltale signs. The mechanics at the local garage now pick up my car from work and bring it back when they are finished and at no extra charge. They have created a vendor account for me with revolving credit and they love the fact my bi-monthly payments are a steady income for the shop.
My mother and my children only call me on my cell phone and never the landline. Their first question is always “where are you?” They know odds are I am not at home. My friends only call at work because they know I’m not on the road or at a meeting during most business hours.
My wife needs to get up-dates on my calendar at least twice a week and has become very tolerant of her husband being missing-in-action around the house almost every evening. She is much less tolerant of the gas card bill…Yikes!
In my travels from Frostburg to Ocean City, I have found there is a shift in the mood of the electorate. People are looking for a change and have been very unhappy with the changes previous elections have brought to the forefront and taken from their pockets.
Tea Parties, town hall forums, groups such as the Campaign for Liberty and Americans for Prosperity have inspired and incited card carrying members of the Maryland Republican Party; and that has made my chore of driving more pleasant. Everywhere there are citizens who now pay attention to political surroundings…and that is good.
Perhaps the biggest change in this election cycle to date is the desire for change being so great that recruitment and interviews of potential candidates has been at an all time personal high. People are investigating and committing to running for office without hesitation.
I have personally interviewed U.S. Senate, congressional, legislative and countywide candidates and explained the trials and tribulations of being a candidate…a Republican candidate in a deep blue state. Most have backed away from the challenge; however, all desired personal involvement because they saw the need for change.
In my county (Baltimore), we will eventually have every slot on the ballot filled. Many have no demographic chance of winning, yet so far all are high caliber quality candidates who will only be stopped from serving their fellow citizens by those who vote blindly the straight line of party loyalty.
The most exciting candidate interviews are of those individuals who desire to serve on the local county central committees0. Twelve years ago Baltimore County Republicans could not even manage a full slate of central committee candidates for the ballot. This year most will be contested races between quality candidates.
The pool of prospects has grown almost to the point of interviewing for specific jobs. Potential candidates range from investment bankers to eyewear sales personnel. Volunteers now have graphic art skills, computer skills and an intense knowledge of new media and communications.
The GOP is growing stronger on the grassroots level. The desire to affect change and to participate in the party endeavors has become important to more than just a handful of party hacks. Every central committee candidate interview makes me smile more because the field is broader, deeper and more talented.
The GOP in Maryland is growing from the bottom up. My five year old car with over 133,000 miles is ready to go through the busy season of another election year. I know each road mile has helped to grow the party and I know I’m not the only Republican Party addict on the road.