Tuesday, January 17, 2012

CD6 MEGAJUICE: Bombs Drop in Maryland's 6th Congressional District // Round-Up of DEM & GOP Campaign Tactics


Multiple campaigns are now in full swing in Maryland's 6th Congressional District, as incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett faces serious challenges in both the April Republican Primary and the November General Election. The opening salvos from many of the candidates in both parties have been downright aggressive.

Below Maryland Juice prints a quick roundup of recent activities (both positive and negative) from the campaign trail. We begin with candidates in this April's Republican Primary and end with a discussion of the race between Democrats Rob Garagiola and John Delaney. 

Note: We do not highlight every candidate below, but you can see the full roster of hopefuls at Maryland Juice's U.S. House Candidate List. Make sure to read through to the end of this post, because we discuss some interesting new tactics emerging in the Democratic Primary. Without further ado, below is a splattering of CD6 juice:

6th District Republican Primary Roundup

Del. Kathy Afzali Uses Happy Marriage as Campaign Asset
JUICE #1: Delegate Kathy Afzali - I must start this roundup with a discussion of Republican lawmaker Kathy Afzali of Middletown, Maryland. She entered the race with a bang by jumping in on the eve of the filing deadline and immediately declaring that neither Rep. Roscoe Bartlett nor State Senator David Brinkley could win the General Election. The Gazette's Katherine Heerbrandt, printed the following comments from Ms. Afzali:
"I don't think they [Bartlett and Brinkley] can win against a Democratic challenger from Montgomery County. I can win...."
“Some of the candidates have personal issues that the Dems are going to use to the maximum. ... It could be an ugly and dangerous race,” Afzali said. “... Anyone running for election is going to be scrutinized. ... As for my personal life, I am pretty clean.”

Brinkley's affair with a staffer in 2008 and subsequent divorce may play a part in the election, but according to Don Murphy, a former state delegate and Brinkley's campaign chairman, that battle has been fought and won.
Indeed, Maryland Juice sources have in the past pointed us to news coverage of Mr. Brinkley's scandal noted above, including a Baltimore Sun article that discusses his claim that his wife used HIS hands to "hit herself in the face." The 2008 Sun article danced around the affair that led to the altercation:
Jacqui Nigh, an aide to Brinkley, said yesterday that she is taking a leave of absence from her job. She works in Brinkley's district office, which is in his home, she said.
You have to imagine that in a field of thirteen candidates, Ms. Afzali is hoping that her status as the only woman in the race will give her an edge. Well, that and the fact that she claims she has no history of sleeping with staffers that work out of her home office.

JUICE #2: Rep. Roscoe Bartlett - Maryland Juice has recently discovered that incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is Maryland's richest member of Congress. The Montgomery Village Patch recently reported:
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-6th) is the state's wealthiest member in Congress. His net worth was estimated between $2.4 million and $8.2 million, putting him 58th among the 435 members of the House of Representatives.

Peter James Wants To Be the CD6 Liberty Candidate
JUICE #3: "Liberty Candidate" Peter James - Another last-minute entry in the Maryland GOP Primary for CD6 is Peter James. A few days before the filing deadline, our blog received an anonymous message stating:
There is no Liberty candidate in the race in CD 6. With Ron Paul pulling 2/3 of the independents in Iowa and lots of anti war dems, it wouldn't surprise me to see one show up tomorrow.

PS. Thats for the Tuttle idea. There are more candidates from outside the district than within.
Soon after receiving this message, a Maryland Juice source sent us the following tip:
There was an unidentified candidate (meaning I just know he had paperwork to run for Congress… but I have no idea who he was) who was trying to pay his filing fee with treasury bills or silver or gold coins, as that was the only legal tender his pocket constitution would allow.  When the board said they wouldn’t take it, he asked for that in writing.
Though we can't know for sure, Maryland Juice decided that the two tips above must be related to former CD4 Republican candidate Peter James. In a blog post last week, Mr. James pointed out that Congressman Ron Paul endorsed his campaign in 2008. He won the Republican Primary that year with 39% of the vote after only spending $2,500 on his campaign. So far the GOP Presidential Primary hasn't had much of an impact on the CD6 race, but Mr. James may try and change that.

Del. Robin Ficker's 1979 Headshot
JUICE #4: Former Delegate/U.S. Senate Candidate Robin Ficker - Robin Ficker recently contacted Maryland Juice to complain that some of the non-Montgomery newspapers in the new CD6 appear to be unaware of his history as a political activist and candidate. In a recent editorial about the race, The Frederick News-Post called Mr. Ficker "mostly unknown."

But as soon as Robin Ficker announced for the CD6 Republican Primary, Maryland Juice encouraged readers not to underestimate him. After all, CD6 now contains large chunks of Montgomery County, where Mr. Ficker has won the Republican nomination more than once. Remember, Ficker actually won election to a single term as Delegate in 1979. The headshot to the right is proof that this actually happened.  Since then, Ficker's name has appeared on the ballot for U.S. Senate, County Council, County Executive and more. He surprised politicos in Montgomery County by succeeding in passing an anti-property tax initiative in 2008.

Don't underestimate Mr. Ficker's issue-driven campaign, which is focused heavily on an anti-tax message. Ficker also appears to be proactively rejecting some of the Tea Party's emphasis on racial and ethnic conflict.

Joe Krystoforski has a few months head-start on the CD6 race.
JUICE #5: Tea Partier Joseph Krysztoforski - Back in October, The Gazette's Sarah Breitenbach wrote about the growing field in the CD6 Republican Primary. Though most coverage has been about the candidates who currently serve in elected office, the impact of the Tea Party is a big X-factor. The Gazette noted:
The Republican Party in western Maryland, an area on which Bartlett would count to bolster his poll numbers, is showing some signs of fracture as tea party members rally behind Joseph Krystoforski, a conservative Republican whose campaign is based out of Frederick County.
Months before the close of the filing deadline, the Allegheny  County Conservative caucus endorsed Mr. Krysztoforski over incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. The Frederick News-Post noted:
The Allegany County Conservative Caucus announced this week that it was endorsing challenger Joseph Krysztoforski, rather than Bartlett, in the 2012 election.

Mary Miltenberger, vice president of the caucus, said members liked Krysztoforski's business background and believed Bartlett was not responsive enough.
Maryland Juice is curious to see if the Tea Party does indeed rally around Mr. Krysztoforski's campaign. In a recent press release he announces:
“The election of 2012 is pivotal to returning control of our government to its rightful owners, the American people. 2012 is the start of the second American Revolution, a revolution we will fight not with guns but with votes at the polls, as we Take Back Our House from career politicians, opportunists and lobbyists”, said Krysztoforski. “The Take back Our House Tour will deliver my message directly to the voters by every means available.” 
Notably, the U.S. Housed is currently controlled by Republicans, so presumably Mr. Krysztoforski includes Rep. Roscoe Bartlett among the career politicians that he thinks needs to go.

Conclusion: All of these factions of the Republican Party appear to be trying to stake out turf in the 6th Congressional District Primary. This has Frederick-area politico Joe Volz pronouncing: "Republicans about to self-destruct."

6th District Democratic Primary Roundup

JUICE #6: State Senator Rob Garagiola- Even as the Maryland legislative sessions launches, State Senator Rob Garagiola's campaign appears to be kicking into high gear. Last week Mr. Garagiola announced that he had raised about $330,000 for his campaign. Then he turned around and released his past tax returns and challenged others to join him. His accompanying press release (see excerpt below) could be aimed at either Rep. Roscoe Bartlett or Democrat John Delaney:
Garagiola To Make A Decade of Tax Returns Available
Germantown, MD – Rob Garagiola announced that he will release ten years of tax returns and supporting documents, and challenged other Sixth Congressional District candidates to join him.

“The number one mission of the next Congress needs to be standing up for the forgotten middle class. Marylanders deserve to know that their Member of Congress is working for them, not voting in their own self interest,” said Rob Garagiola. “I invite every candidate for the new Sixth Congressional District to join me in making 10 years of tax returns available.”

Recent national news reports have raised questions about the entanglement of Congressional members’ personal finances and the votes they cast. Garagiola pointed out that releasing tax returns will help to address this problem....
Garagiola immediately followed on this press release with an attack on his Democratic Primary competitor John Delaney. In another press release, the Garagiola campaign called John Delaney an anti-labor businessman (see excerpts below):
GERMANTOWN, MD – As word spreads throughout Maryland’s Democratic Party and Labor Communities, there is outrage about John Delaney’s “Blueprint for Maryland” in which he bashes unions, calling them a “deterrent to business expansion.”

John Delaney, the millionaire, who Forbes Magazine called a “loan shark”[1], made his fortune by rigging the system and has openly declared war on unions and collective bargaining rights for workers.

In one section of his report, Delaney asserts that collective bargaining rights in Maryland causes companies to move elsewhere. He goes so far as to indicate that Maryland should become a “right to work” state, which would completely kill labor unions and collective bargaining rights in Maryland[2].

“John Delaney masquerades as a Democrat, but he’s dangerous to working families.  He is shockingly anti-union, and I fully expect that the national and Maryland labor communities will rally against his candidacy. Rob Garagiola has a long history of fighting for working families,” said Patricia Lippold, Vice- President, 1199 SEIU United Health Care Workers East....

[1] Vardi, Nathan. “Loan Shark”. Forbes Magazine. May 22nd 2006. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2006/0522/128.html.

[2] http://www.blueprintmaryland.com/images/uploads/policyfiledownload/vulnerabilityreport.pdf, pg. 27.
Lastly, the Garagiola campaign released an updated list of endorsers, which includes additional elected officials and labor unions:

State Senator Rob Garagiola for Congress Endorsement List 1/9/12

JUICE #7: "Progressive Businessman" John Delaney - Businessman John Delaney has been keeping himself busy in his quest for the 6th Congressional District's Democratic nomination. State Senator Rob Garagiola is moving quickly to try and cut him off from support by swiftly rounding up many of the Dems' institutional supporters. Now, he is attacking Mr. Delaney's business record, but the Delaney campaign is responding that the remarks noted in Mr. Garagiola's press release were part of a longer compilation of opinions from a range of people. They issued the following press release response (excerpt below):
Statement from John Delaney's Congressional Campaign
The Delaney campaign called the attacks from Garagiola entirely incorrect.

John started BluePrint Maryland as a not-for-profit organization whose mission was to conduct research on workforce trends in Maryland, including compiling feedback from labor unions, community groups and businesses across the state. The work of BluePrint Maryland has been widely praised as an example of John’s leadership. Garagiola’s misrepresentation of the facts around BluePrint Maryland is shocking.

As the organization’s Roundtable Report, released in the December states:

"Blueprint Maryland does not necessarily endorse all the comments and suggestions included in this report, but wanted to share all the results for further discussion" pg 2.

The report was distributed widely throughout the labor and business community and was mailed to every member of the legislature.

“As the only person in the campaign from a union family, I’m really surprised that Rob would simultaneously attack a not for profit designed to do research on job creation and somehow claim I don’t support labor unions. More than surprised. However, I feel bad for him as these inaccurate negative attacks must reflect a deep insecurity on his part that the congressional seat he worked hard to create for himself is slipping away. I remain of the view that a positive message makes us a better country and a negative one makes us worse, which is the approach I intend to bring to politics.”

“Last night, over 5,000 voters joined our Telephone Town Hall. We talked about the issues and problems facing the country. People are starved for real leadership and solutions, not political games.”

RADIO BUY: In follow-up remarks to their press release, the Delaney campaign highlighted their successful Town Hall meeting, which they say 5,000 voters participated in. They also announced that they are hitting the airwaves with radio ads starting today  tomorrow on a range of stations, including WTOP, WASH-FM, and more. The ad buy will apparently run for a couple of weeks and will feature a series of biographical segments, including an endorsement from former MoCo County Executive Doug Duncan.

Meanwhile, a Maryland Juice reader forwarded us the following literature that Delaney is handing out at events:

John Delaney Bio Palm Card - Candidate for Maryland's 6th Congressional District - 1/16/12

Stay tuned to Maryland Juice for more Election 2012 gossip!

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