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May 29, 2012

Blaine Said ‘Yes Indeed’

Roy Meachum

It was no surprising statement. In earlier spring his regular Thursday column prompted my March 20 reply: “No, Blaine, No!” A week later the Board of County Commissioners president announced he was forming a committee to explore the possibility.


Last Friday Blaine Young let the whole world know he was running for governor in 2014, despite the plea based on my feelings: “Simply, I don’t want the man I’ve loved since adolescence to be hurt in a major way.”


His Republican backers know the odds. Voter registrations are 27 percent for the GOP favor, slightly more than half of the other major party’s strength. The Democrats control the state Senate 35-12, and the House of Delegates 98-43. Both U.S. senators are of the same party that also dominates the congressional delegation 6-2. The 2010 Census, gerrymandered by Annapolis’ legislative leadership, threaten to remove GOP U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett from Washington after this fall election.


Republicans have sporadically governed Maryland since 1900 only because of splits among Democrats. I lived in the district when Spiro “Ted” Agnew reached the State House. I was writing a Frederick column when the state’s “Good Ol’ Boys” let Bob Ehrlich in. They favored the Republican candidate over Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. They mistrusted her from the “get-go.”


As a Kennedy, she was too independent and wealthy to mind their narrow parochial advice and political cravings. Something must shatter the Democratic base for a GOP member to win the highest office in the state. Announcing two years before the 2014 election bespeaks “smart.” A Republican must have a head start in Maryland.


Already out there is Larry Hogan. Although not “declared,” he is making talk-show appearances and speeches mighty like a candidate should. Operating under the mantra of “change,” he walks and talks like a future governor, a post his father Lawrence J. Hogan, Sr., never reached. (Similarly, ex-mayor Ron Young hinted of a higher office when his office was still on Market Street, which he has found in the state Senate; he’s Blaine’s father.)


Three years ago The Baltimore Sun ran an editorial speculating about the younger Hogan’s approach to politics; some years ago he ran for the GOP nomination for Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District and yielded to Steny Hoyer. He may have lost, but he came away with lessons he could use in his present pursuit. In other words, there is already a fight for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. In those terms, Blaine Young entered late.


Today’s politics has more to do with money than principles, as proven on the national level. “Wannabe” Hogan operates a very successful real estate firm in Annapolis. There are many more bucks available in that neighborhood than in Western Maryland.


When his father ran for the seat of state Sen. Alex Mooney, Blaine wisely did not endorse the former mayor, which led to some frictions between Young households. In politics, campaign contributions are thicker than blood. As Maryland’s GOP party chairman and a proven fund raiser, certainly Alex Mooney can be more helpful than his father – to Blaine’s career. Furthermore, the former Democrat still had to demonstrate his blood ran Republican red.


Taking no regard of Larry Hogan’s intentions, I stand by my March 20 column: “No, Blaine, No!” My own children wave off my advice, but the youngest, Michael, is 12 years older than Blaine Young.


Oh, well.


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