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As Long as We Remember...

November 4, 2002

Not Going Anywhere for Awhile? One Man’s Election Primer

John P. Snyder

This is the third straight governor’s race that finds Maryland Republicans overcome with a quiet optimism that this is their year. This time around the reasons for optimism may be well placed.

For Bobby Erhlich is an appealing candidate that has run a near flawless campaign. He even has raised more money than a Kennedy, which is no small accomplishment. Yet, if he is to win, a few large obstacles need to be overcome.

When it comes to the art of race baiting and race hustling, Townsend consultant Bob Shrum has no peer. Quietly, but efficiently, they have galvanized black opposition to Mr. Erhlich, complete with rumor and innuendo.

And on election day, one can be sure that sophisticated "knock and drag" operations will gin up the inner city vote in Baltimore. Ditto in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

In 1998 those areas produced a 250,000 vote cushion for the Democrats. This year, I see a reduced 190,000 vote cushion. If Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties give Erhlich a 65,000 or more bulge it will be a barn burner. Last time around Frederick County gave Ellen Sauerbrey an 11,000 vote win. If Erhlich takes 60% of the vote, or a 16,000 vote win, Erhlich could be on his way to Annapolis.

All in all, it comes down to how heavy the voting is in Baltimore City, Prince George’s County or Montgomery County. It is unlikely we will know until after midnight.

We will know who emerges from the Mooney-Hecht showdown much earlier. One can tell which candidate is in a desperation mode by their actions. Insinuating that their opponent is in favor of wifebeaters does tip one off.

Of the 47 state senators in Maryland, only 13 are Republican. State Senator Thomas V. Mike Miller, who really is the Maryland version of HBO Mafia Boss Tony Soprano, targeted five for elimination. One of them being Alex Mooney.

And Sue Hecht, who has always been a reliable poodle for the Glendening-Townsend administration, has sought to remake herself as a moderate. If she were half a moderate she would understand Sen. Mooney’s opposition to Glendening’s agenda. But no. To her and her acolytes, Sen. Mooney is an extremist, which in Annapolis, is anyone to the right of Lenin.

Combine Ms. Hecht’s campaign expenditures with the muscle various liberal special interest groups and Tony Soprano, err, Mike Miller has given and it has been a level playing field. Except, of course, this is Frederick County.

Here being a conservative Republican does not make you a dangerous person.

I believe that KKT’s campaign has solidified the opposition outside of the Democratic strongholds. This is bad news for those having a big D beside their name in Frederick. Except for Bruce Reeder.

But no one knows for sure. We'll just have to wait.

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