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November 11, 2002

Arscott Had It Right! KKT Had To Win Ugly If At All

John P. Snyder

You would think that Doppler Radar would have picked up the early warning signs, but Marylanders came out to the polls to change the direction of Marylandís government forever.

The numbers are staggering. Outside of Baltimore City, Prince Georgeís and Montgomery counties, Bob Erhlich beat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend by over 450,000 votes! Hats off to our neighbors to the east in Carroll County. They gave Bob Ehrlich a 36,000 vote cushion with 79% of their total vote.

Big numbers in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties negated PG Counties 101,000 vote bulge for KKT.

Frederick County joined in the parade with a spiffy 63% nod to Mr. Erhlich and Michael Steele.

What happened? The answer was explained by respected Maryland Pollster Carol Arscott in the November 3rd op-ed piece she wrote for the Washington Post. To her, it all went back to the infamous debate that took place between the two candidates at Morgan State University in October.

At the time, it was viewed as a big win for Ms. Townsend. In hindsight it began the mass defection of the white vote from the Democrat column. Her retort regarding affirmative action was a bold step. She had to work to regain the support from the black community for a number of reasons, Adm. Charles Larson being the most prominent.

Many black leaders hoped Isaiah Leggett, from Montgomery County, would be her pick for lieutenant governor. Because some felt used and cheated, many African Americans were luke warm to her candidacy. Hence the tirade on affirmative action.

From Frostburg to Pocomoke, and from Harve de Grace to Brunswick The white vote, especially the 60% of white women that later defected to Ehrlich, had warmed to his message. Even though KKT had received a 239,000 plurality from her strongholds, it was not enough to offset the tidal wave that created a 450,000 vote surplus for the Republicans from the rest of the state.

Maryland Republicans were unwilling to say out loud what was becoming apparent daily. KKT, it turns out, suffered a backlash from those who felt she had bent over backwards to earn the support of African Americans.

Ms. Arscott saw Mr. Ehrlich getting 75% of the white vote. For Townsend to win, she wrote, she would have to "win ugly," a step Republicans expected, although it never really materialized.

Think that Maryland Dems might think twice before they insist that to be conservative means you are a racist?

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