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September 17, 2010

It doesn’t matter for whom you vote …Huh?

Joe Charlebois

Whoever said it doesn’t matter for whom you vote? Well, it is less and less likely that the old adage will hold true this November. The surge of TEA Party (more conservative or libertarian) candidates on a national basis – and even local races – is drawing distinct lines for the national Republican Party.


The Republican hierarchy has a great many decisions to make over the coming weeks. It needs to decide how to use campaign funds to maximize results come November. The wave against big government has stunned the Republicans as stalwarts of the Senate and House of Representatives have lost their bids in primary elections in favor of lesser known, more conservative candidates.


How will Michael Steele, the Republican Party chairman handle this influx of new candidates. Will he and the decision makers leave the candidates like Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell to fend for themselves? Is the party more concerned about propping up more moderate Republicans that “have a chance to win” or will they try to take the party in another direction?


When Newt Gingrich led the 1994 change in the House of Representatives, it was with a bold approach. It offered the “Contract with America.” It held certain conservative principles that were promises to change how the Republican Party operated.


It didn’t last long.


Once entrenched in the swamp that is the beautiful capital Washington, those promises weren’t as important. The Republicans seemed to revert back to the old ways of doing business.


Now a new opportunity for Republicans to take hold and change Washington for real this time may end before it begins. If the party doesn’t stand behind all of its candidates – especially those who intend to bring the true conservative change – then a quick change in leadership is needed.


The country is ready to make the change. Will the Republican Party just pay lip service to the “TEA Party” candidates, or will it realize that supporting conservative candidates matters as to how one votes for in November.


Notes on the local races:


Scott Rolle, who pulled out of the race in the summer, won a spot in the general election much to the dismay of Chuck Knapp and Chris Huckenpoehler. Absentee ballots widened the gap between Mr. Huckenpoehler and Mr. Rolle by eight votes. The question remains: Will Mr. Rolle rejoin the race or resign and allow the Republican Central Committee to name a replacement?


Of some surprise, is John “Lennie” Thompson’s last place showing in the delegate race for District 4-A. Mr. Thompson’s faithful following wasn’t enough to send him to Annapolis against four prominent candidates. His attacks on the citizens of Frederick County and Frederick County businesses finally caught up with him.


Kathy Afzali and Kelly Schulz were the winners of the District 4-A contest as they stumped hard and were rewarded. Delegate Paul Stull was edged out by Ms. Schulz for second place in the two seat district, but picked up 11 votes in the absentee ballot count. There is still the possibility that Mr. Stull will overtake MS. Schulz when the final number of absentee ballots is counted next week. (By law, absentee ballots postmarked on or before the actual primary date can be counted. The elections board must wait until next Wednesday to do that.)


Both the Democrat and Republican primary races for the Frederick Board of County Commissioner offered little surprise except for the fact that both fifth place finishers, Michael Kurtianyk for the Democrats and David Gray for the Republicans are the respective “black sheep” of their parties.


Mr. Kurtianyk is more pro-growth and business friendly than any other of the Democrat candidates running and Mr. Gray a Republican sided with the Democrat Commissioners Kai Hagen and Jan Gardner this past term than he did with fellow Republicans. Don’t be surprised if either one of these candidates with enjoy cross party appeal and make it into the top five vote getters come November.


Finally, not a surprise to me, but a surprise to Michael Hough is that he will not be getting the support of his opponent Charles Jenkins in the general election. There was a lot of bloodshed in the primary election as Mr. Hough tore into Delegate Jenkins record as commissioner and the wounds are unlikely to heal any time soon.


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