Who’s the alternative?
It’s nice to be back here, this time as a simple voter with lots of opinions on the recent primary election, offering insight on county races and even about my own campaign.
The calls for unity by the Frederick County Republican Party was amazing after such a ridiculously poisonous, scorched earth campaign strategy on the part of some the victorious candidates.
It wasn’t unexpected that political campaigns are a full contact, blood sport. You need thick skin. The race for the two at-large seats on County Council remained as publically civil as it could be. That is a testimony to the character of the Republican candidates who opposed me – Justin Kiska, Phil Dacey, and Danny Farrar.
I may have lost but I lost with dignity and those who won showed dignity in their victory. I am happy with my race because I left everything I had on the field. I was ill on the first day of early voting causing me to visit the Carrol County hospital emergency room. Lucky for me I explained to the doctors and staff that I would pace myself on the second and third day of early voting.
I lost fair and square. I have no regrets and I bare no personal ill will to any of my opponents. I cannot say that the same feelings emanate in some of the other races.
To make matters more complicated for many Republicans, the tally of victories in the Frederick Republican Primary gave rise to candidates who aren't even the slightest bit conservative in their own admissions.
In Council District 2, Steve McKay smiled his way into our hearts as the President of Residents Against Landsdale Expansion (RALE) in the Blaine Young days which he used successfully to catapult himself and his all-encompassing NIMBY development platform to victory over incumbent Councilman Tony Chmelik. Way to go Republicans!
RALE has since been taken over by Steve's handpicked successor – Matt Seubert. Yes the same foaming at the mouth enviroactivist extraordinaire named Matt Seubert who got 15 minutes of fame calling Monocacy River landowners fascists and a threat to the county at public comment in a hearing on the Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan. Steve McKay is as close to Maxine Waters as any local Frederick County Republican should be. Three cheers for a Republican primary won by a Democrat.
The Republican county executive primary was marred in a maelstrom of out-of-county cash, and a behind-the-scenes whisper campaign to disparage personal reputations, the hard work of the candidates and the likelihood of eventual victory over incumbent Jan Gardner in November.
With 44% of the vote retiring Del. Kathy Afzali came out on top. Like it or not, Mrs. Afzali won. If you are a fan of hers, you rejoiced. If you weren't, you took to social media in the most brutish of fashion to either assign blame for her win, declare yourself a Gardner supporter, or to snipe at Regina Williams or Kirby Delauter supporters.
Ms. Williams came in third not because she didn't have the experience, the tenacity to campaign, or the drive to work hard for the win. She came in third because her platform was as shallow as a mud puddle. She also embraced door knocking as a key focus. Time and time again truly great candidates fall into this trap. Door knocking is essential but should never be a primary focus. Reason? Math.
A county executive candidate cannot reach out to every voter by ringing a doorbell. Ms. Williams also campaigned with council candidate Danny Farrar exclusively creating what seemed to be a package deal. The vote tally showing Ms. Williams getting 4,000 votes to Mr. Farrar’s 6248 total, only 64% of Farrar supporters voted for Williams.
This shows the catastrophic flaw of the piggyback strategy when it goes horribly wrong. It certainly didn't help Ms. Williams when Sen. Michael Hough, an Afzali backer; endorsed both Ms. Afzali for county executive and Mr. Farrar for County Council-At- Large. Ms. Williams seemed to have gambled that Mr. Farrar would serve as an engine of grass roots support in a way that never truly materialized.
As for Kirby Delauter, he placed second because he was the victim of a two front public and private campaign against him and his candidacy. He was bashed by both Democrats and Republicans in public as well as influential county Republican donors belonging to both of his opponents in an effective behind-the-scenes operation seldom seen in local political races.
The successful whisper campaign was secretly enacted against him as he prepared to gather funds last fall. Some donors and Influential Republicans, who were supporting both his opponents, started urging caution to Mr. Delauter’s donors and supporters in private not to throw away their vote because he would be unable to win against Ms. Gardner in November.
In public Kirby was being hammered for his association with the Young Board of County Commissioners. The sneaky underhanded tactics of saying he was too Conservative to win presented themselves in a manner too late to mount an effective counter measure.
Suffice it to say that some who had pledged their early support to Kirby were not supporting him after the whispers took their toll.
Mr. Delauter had a platform and an understanding of the issues that are of concern in my house about the future of my county. He was the best choice. Anyone can see now that Ms. Williams split the vote with Mr. Delauter. It's sad, because you didn't need a Harvard Political Science degree to see that one coming.
Ms. Afzali is the Republican nominee. There is no question with her having a 6,898 vote total in respect to 5,250 votes going to Mr. Delauter, and 4,000 votes going to Ms. Williams. That brakes down to 57% of local Republican voters voted against the Republican Party’s nominee for county executive.
Calls for Republican Party unity in the face of such an overall unpopular nominees has further fueled bitterness with many Mr. Delauter and Ms. Williams supporters calling into WFMD, or posting to social media to voice support for Democrat Jan Garner and unaffiliated candidate Earl Robbins before submitting to an Afzali supporting machine.
The Republican Party now demands that any who disagree with the winners of the primary in any way should shut up until November, and then vote party line if you know what’s good for you.
This is the new Frederick County Republican Party. Is there someone else to vote for?