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March 30, 2012

Tuesday Voting

Roy Meachum

Board of Elections director Stuart Harvey packed up all his paraphernalia and paraded down Taney Avenue, on the way to Winchester Hall. Thursday finished the early 2012 primary voting, as delightfully summed up by colleague Norm Covert in his Wednesday column.


After dropping my Washington-based son at the train Monday, I headed straight for the county’s Senior Citizens Center where Norm presented the electronic key to the election computer. Putting action behind my words, as a registered Democrat, I voted for John Delaney and against Rob Garagiola. The Maryland Senate majority leader’s Germantown residence was instrumental in drawing the lines for the new Sixth Congressional District, as I have written. Mr. Delaney’s Potomac mansion is not located to my taste; he said he’ll move into the district, if elected.


Most of all, I resent State Senate President Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Mike Miller deciding my neighbors and friends are really rubes and they should be represented in the Halls of Congress by a Metro mentality, preferably by someone who swears fealty to Mr. Miller. Rob Garagiola became majority leader with his permission and help. Annapolis has demonstrated it is no friend to rural Maryland, including Frederick County, the state’s largest in square miles.


Of course, the new lines resulted from 2010 census and as the Democrats are a statewide majority, in officials and voter registrations, they chose to “gerrymander” the Sixth District, seeking to disenfranchise Republicans. Since Del. Tom Hattery shot down Congresswoman “Bev” Byron in the party primary 20 years ago, Dr. Roscoe Bartlett’s flavor of the Grand Old Party has reigned paramount. I regularly supported him from the start, until I became convinced he had fallen prey to a fatal condition I had observed when a Washington journalist. My warnings over the past several years fell on ears made deaf by excessive flattery.


My old friend acquired a common Capitol Hill syndrome. Roscoe listened mainly to his sycophantic staff, particularly Harold “Bud” Otis, who appeared at functions the congressman had been invited to, sometimes taking over the podium even when his boss was present. Generally, his chief assistant’s voice and manner became more familiar; press aide Lisa Wright, otherwise, intervened to cloak Representative Bartlett. Their employer was supposedly involved with “official business,” to the distraction of the people he represented.


When Democrats announced the new lines, there were moments of confusion. Before Roscoe could declare his intentions, Mr. Otis jumped into the breach, consulting with contacts he made on the job; simultaneously, he “broadcast” that the incumbent would probably not submit papers for re-election. He was given the opportunity to “resign” publically, although the truth was otherwise: he deserved to be “fired.”


State Sen. David Brinkley was encouraged by many people to run for the seat, although Mike Miller’s drawing of the new lines excluded his New Market home from the Sixth District. Several other near-candidates shadow-boxed that they were interested and a record number filed, mostly on the far-right. The senator is conservative but not radical.


Since early balloting passed last night, voters must wait until Tuesday to choose among the candidates. I did my civic duty last Monday, as Norm Covert wrote.


The very reason politics is in such a messed-up condition can be found in the ballot box; most people leave the country to the least-qualified politicians to look out for the general good.


Enough, arr-ready!




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