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February 19, 2013

Latest Local GOP Brouhaha!

Roy Meachum

Local Grand Old Party members insist on shooting themselves in the feet. With Randy McClement sitting in City Hall – and carrying weight with his incumbency – they have pronounced their self-imposed handicap.


Frederick News-Post Sunday’s front-page story said, “Not all fellow Republicans are ready behind…his re-election campaign.” Reporter Pete McCarthy quotes first of all Del. Michael Hough; he is a widely known protégé of ex-state Sen. Alex Mooney.


Furthermore, he interviewed Del. Kathy Afzali, who allowed: “I think Randy made some enemies when he endorsed (Democratic State Sen.) Ron Young (in 2011). I think (he) ruffled some feathers and he’s got some explaining to do…It would be funny for him to ask for support after he threw us under the bus in the past.”


Both emphatically rejected the notion that Mr. Mooney might have beaten himself; that he was elected and stayed in office because of “outside” contributors. Although I knew Vince, his father, the Maryland Republican entered Frederick politics by the way funding from “foreign” sources, corporations and individuals not from the county. He brags about being executive director of the National Journalism Center, a very conservative organization that seeks penetration into the media. Three years ago the recession throttled the nation, and there was not a lot of Republican money around for local races.


In 2004, there existed a totally different political atmosphere. Right-wing Democratic Del. James E. “Doc” McClellan ran Frederick’s political machine. He had “permitted” Republican Jack Derr to get elected to the state Senate. With the election of former County Commissioner Anita Stup to the House of Delegates marked the passing of the McClellan era. Mr. Mooney never lined-up to kiss Doc’s boots. But he fashioned much to glorify right-wing’s platforms.


This city registered 17,300 Democrats and some 11,000 Republicans But since the 1989 elections, when temporarily GOP member Paul Gordon defeated Ron Young for mayor in Frederick and stayed for one term, there has been fellow Democrat Jennifer Dougherty alone. In the last eight years, despite the lop-sided registrations, GOP members Jeff Holtzinger and Randy McClement won the mayoral elections – partially because of Ms. Dougherty’s behind-closed-door’s manipulations.


Frederick County registrations reflect the growing numbers of Independents. But the Winchester Hall commissioners are all Republican, which most American voters were in 2010. In that year, Mr. McClement endorsed GOP state Sen. David Brinkley in the primaries, against their fellow party member Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. Mr. Brinkley returned the endorsement when the current City Hall chief announced his intention of getting re-elected.


“We have a person who wants just be mayor, fill potholes, do a lot of things that we as citizens tend to take for granted,” the state senator said at the announcement.”


Former Mayor Jeff Holtzinger responded to my last Tuesday’s column: “I’m not in any hurry to jump into the race for mayor at this time, but have other priorities I want to focus on right now. If I get in, it will be probably much later, say maybe 4 or 5 months from now.”


About Mr. Holtzinger, Mr. Hough went to see him and came back empty-handed. About Mr. McClement, the delegate predicted he will lose. I guarantee it – especially when his fellow Republicans knife him in the back.


The weight of incumbency, as I said, works to the mayor’s favor.


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