Monday, August 29, 2011

Tea Party Albatross for Frederick Politicians // Plus, Blaine Young for Recall (or Governor)

UPDATE: A reader emailed us the following message: "I live in Frederick County and just wanted to add that no story on Blaine Young is complete without mention of the Black Book Scandal." They link to a NY Times article headlined: "City Combs Madam’s ’Black Book’ for the Names It Knows." 

You can also read Mr. Young's fascinating 2004 blog post addressing the allegations: "I’m in the so-called 'Black Book'. Now what?" The NYT article, however, may explain his 2002 party-switch:
Ms. Potter's list has already helped end one career, that of Blaine Young, whose name was on a partial list released in 2001. Mr. Young, an alderman at the time and the son of a former mayor, said he had hired the women to dance at parties, not for sex. He decided not to run for re-election after The News-Post published reports on his liaisons.
In an editorial yesterday, the Frederick News Post fired warning shots at their 100%-Republican Board of County Commissioners. In particular, the editorial writers pointed out coverage of recent polls showing that the Tea Party's standing with the public has plummeted:

The public view of the tea party has eroded precipitously and may even be an albatross for the Republican Party in the 2012 elections. Such is the conclusion from recent polling.... Given the outspokenness of our county leaders on tea party principles, it's educational to pause and take a look at the movement's standing.... the tea party is currently "even less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.'" *
....From our own perspective, the radicalization of politics as engendered by the tea party can only lead to a backlash similar to the one that created the movement in 2009.
This prompted Maryland Juice to find out more about the political terrain in Frederick County. Our investigation reveals: a recall effort, an FCC complaint, and lots of extremism! 

The News Post editorial alluded to Frederick County leaders' "tea party principles" without much clarification. However, their recent coverage provides some hints. Take for example, their July article reporting on a movement to privatize core county services:
A crowd of more than 80 demonstrators, multi-colored signs in hand, assembled in front of Winchester Hall on Tuesday night in a rally to oppose large-scale outsourcing of Frederick County services....

"You have awakened the sleeping giants: Our citizens," Sue Hecht, a former Maryland delegate representing Frederick County, said to commissioners.

Commissioners now will continuing to look into outsourcing services. [Commissioners President Blaine] Young has said the board is considering multiple privatization models, including one that uses contracts with private industry to fill gaps left by employee attrition.
The Frederick County Board of Commissioners has five members, and right now 100% of them are Republicans. On top of their assault on the public sector, members of the Frederick County Board have been known to engage in anti-immigrant scapegoating. Left unchecked, the GOP appears to relish veering toward the fringes -- as you'll read more about below -- but we certainly didn't stop them with our local performance in 2010. The Gazette noted earlier this year:
After an election that saw high-level offices held by Republicans — including Frederick County State's Attorney and Sheriff — go unopposed by Democrats, and a Republican sweep of the Frederick Board of County Commissioners, local Democrats are retooling their message and hope to parlay that into a much-needed influx of cash.
Notably, Frederick County's election schedule coincides with Maryland's gubernatorial and Congressional elections, thereby subjecting voter turnout in local races to national and statewide dynamics. As you may recall, 2010 was also a bad year for Democrats nationally. But still, unopposed races? Frederick County is not Utah!

The previously mentioned Gazette article also summarized the longer (but still recent) political history of Frederick:
Democrats once held the majority in Frederick County. In 1982, 54.8 percent of the voters in the county were Democrats, according to the county's Board of Election; roughly 36.5 percent were Republicans. By 1998, Democrats had only 39.1 percent of registered voters, while Republicans jumped to 46 percent.

Frederick County's registered Democrats grew in 2008, thanks to President Barack Obama. Today, Frederick County has 52,181 registered Democrats to 57,958 Republicans.

The 2010 election saw a backlash against Democrats and that was reflected in the turnout. Of the county's 137,698 registered voters, registered Republicans outvoted Democrats by 7,625 votes, with 60 percent of Republicans voting compared to 52 percent of Democrats.

2010 may also prove to be the high-tide of the Tea Party's electoral influence -- and that point appears to be at the heart of the Frederick News Post editorial. In particular, they targeted Blaine Young, the Commissioners President, with this warning:
There is a growing dissension to the way the Board of County Commissioners, particularly Commissioners President (and tea party darling) Blaine Young, are conducting business. Whether that opposition will gather any gravity by the 2012 election is yet to be seen. They are becoming more vocal.
Maryland Juice decided to find out more about this Blaine Young (son of State Senator Ron Young). The "tea party darling" used to be a Democrat and grew up watching his father, Ron Young, serving as the Democratic Mayor of Frederick from 1974-1990. Now he is the self-proclaimed "Conservative Voice of Maryland."

Mr. Young describes his background as follows (excerpted from his site):
Blaine Young is Frederick County's self proclaimed "Youngest Good Ol' Boy" and for good reason.

Blaine's father, Ron, served as Mayor of Frederick for four terms...

At age 23 Blaine followed in his fathers footsteps and entered the world of local politics as Chairman of the Democratic Party for Frederick County from 1995 to 1999. Then, at age 26, Blaine was elected as the second youngest Alderman in Frederick City history in 1998, serving until 2002...

Upon leaving public office, Blaine announced in 2002 that he was switching political party affiliation from Democratic to Republican.
Blaine Young is also a controversial conservative radio host and lightning rod for community activists. A simple Google search turned up these efforts:
Thankfully, Blaine Young has pledged to serve only one term. Unthankfully, that may mean he plans on running for higher office. The Gazette called him a potential GOP candidate for Governor in 2014. In an article discussing Harford County Executive David Craig's potential interest in a gubernatorial or Comptroller's bid, the paper quotes MD GOP Chair Alex Mooney:
Other potential Republican candidates could include Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young; former congressional candidate Charles Lollar; 2010 gubernatorial candidate Brian Murphy; and Larry Hogan Jr., a real estate company executive and former cabinet member under Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, Mooney said.

Notably, Mooney didn't suggest Young as a candidate for a potential new CD6 -- probably because Mooney is rumored to want that seat for himself. Thankfully, some Democrats are already one step ahead of them

Nevertheless, theories of Young's ambitions for higher office (and out-of-step views) are bolstered by his formation of "We the People MD" - a new statewide conservative organization. As the Gazette reported in July:
...the group will be fighting for policies and legislation that will “bring more jobs to the state, lower taxes on hardworking Marylanders, reduce government spending and waste, reduce and eliminate burdensome regulations, and uphold the Maryland and U.S. Constitution and not give away tax dollars to illegal aliens.
We the People of Maryland formed in Frederick County four to five months ago, said Farrell Keough of Urbana, the group’s spokesman.

Farrell Keough is a frequent blogger whose numerous writings appear at TheTentacle. Here are some of my favorite topics:
Are these the activities of Mayberry Machiavellis or the careful plottings of an ambitious candidate? Either way, now you're on notice!

* I find it ironic that the Frederick News Post would highlight the Tea Party being less popular than Muslims. We previously reported on signs of the Maryland GOP fear-mongering across the state with hysteria about Islam creeping into America.  

Note for Nerds:

Notably, Frederick does not elect a County Executive due to its commission form of government. All five Frederick County commissioners are elected at-large -- that means that a bad year for Democrats nationally can devastate the swing-county's Democrats down-ticket. Because the commissioners are all elected countywide, in a good year for the GOP, their slate of candidates can win 51% (or more) of the vote in Frederick but take 100% of the Board of Commissioner seats. This is indeed what happened in 2010 (see Nov. General Election results below):
  1. Blaine Young (GOP) - 42,371
  2. Paul Smith (GOP) - 38,749
  3. Billy Shreve (GOP) - 37,915
  4. David Gray (GOP) - 37,179
  5. Kirby Delauter (GOP) - 36,914
  6. Kai Hagen (DEM) - 31,108
  7. Linda Norris (DEM) 30,103
  8. Michael Kurtianyk (DEM) - 26,825
  9. Ellis Burruss (DEM) - 25,336
  10. Janice Wiles (DEM) - 24,449
Note: I presume that Democrats are geographically concentrated within parts of Frederick County, thereby diluting their voting strength under an all-at-large Board system.

1 comment:

  1. What's remarkable is that Alex Mooney managed to lose his state senate seat representing Frederick County at a time when the GOP was sweeping just about every local office in the county.