Monday, April 30, 2012

GOP JuiceBlender: Roscoe Bartlett Flails, Andy Harris Inaction on Job Cuts, 2014 GOP Primary, New RNC Committee Member

UPDATE: It appears that the Tea Party now has a platform agenda to appeal to women: tax cuts for women's shoes!


Apologies for the pause from Maryland Juice over the weekend. I had to stop and #occupylife.  In any case, here's a random blend of political tidbits about Maryland Republicans from recent political news. We begin the roundup with a Baltimore Magazine profile of embattled CD6 Rep. Roscoe Bartlett:

JUICE #1: REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT ADMITS THIS IS HIS FIRST REAL CAMPAIGN - In order to gauge the chances of a particular candidate's success, many national pundits will look at past party performance, registration data, polls, fundraising, endorsements and many other factors to guide their ratings. However, Maryland Juice believes that utilizing existing campaign infrastructure can also be critical for an incumbent heading into a hotly contested head-to-head race. To be clear, I'm not talking about political infrastructure, which many incumbents do have gobs of. Political infrastructure is about knowing insiders; campaign infrastructure is about being able to interact with non-insiders. The two are not synonymous, as State Sen. Garagiola learned in his failed CD6 Democratic Primary bid earlier this month. The same fate may soon befall GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett. If you're wondering why many voters still don't know who Rep. Bartlett is, consider his recent comments in a Baltimore Magazine profile (excerpt below):

BALTIMORE MAGAZINE: In 1992, Bartlett won his seat in the solidly Republican 6th district—which then included all of Western Maryland and the rural northern parts of Carroll, Baltimore, and Harford counties—by an eight-percent margin. Bartlett went on to win each of his subsequent nine elections by at least 12 percent. The Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), which predicts the depth of a district’s party leanings, rated the 6th district “R+12” in the last election, meaning that a generic Republican presidential candidate could expect to win the district by 12 points....

Since the redistricting passed, Maryland’s 6th district has been one of the most hotly contested races in the country—Congressional Quarterly has named it one of the top-ten most competitive—and will help determine which party has control over the House of Representatives. Money has poured into the district from both national parties, and Bartlett himself has been thrust into the largely unfamiliar role of steadfast campaigner.

“This year has been drastically different than anything we’ve ever had before,” Bartlett says, slouching behind his conference room table. “I mean, we’ve never really even had a professional campaign before.”

Maryland Juice previously noted that one astute Maryland politico pointed out to me early on that Sen. Rob Garagiola had not had experience as a candidate in a competitive Democratic Primary. Likewise, Mr. Bartlett has not had a real race in years. Like State Sen. Rob Garagiola before him, I think Mr. Bartlett is about to learn the hard way that you should never let your campaign infrastructure wither. Anything can happen (and it often does). In a recent review of the CD6 race, The Washington Times recently noted that Mr. Bartlett needed to aggressively adjust to the realities of his new district:
WASHINGTON TIMES: Maryland’s 6th District has long been a friendly home field for Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, but he might have to win on the road if he wants to hold on to his seat this fall....

Mr. Bartlett, 85, cruised to victory in the April 4 GOP primary, but he struggled in Montgomery County, which is largely Democratic and has a Republican population relatively unfamiliar with the congressman....

Democrats now hold a voter registration edge in the long-conservative district. Political analysts and even Mr. Bartlett say he must make inroads in Montgomery if he expects to win one of the nation’s most anticipated House races.

“I’m told it’s going to be one of the 10 top races in the country,” Mr. Bartlett said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge of getting acquainted with the new voters in Montgomery County. We’ll be working very hard, and we’ll do everything we can....”

Mr. Bartlett will look to improve on his primary performance, when he netted just 34.5 percent of votes from Montgomery Republicans — nine points less than his smallest share elsewhere and nine points less than the 43.6 percent he earned throughout the district.

REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT UNPREPARED FOR GENERAL ELECTION: I dropped by Mr. Bartlett's website today to see what he's up to, and I saw further proof that he is unprepared for a swing-district campaign. Does this look like the website of a candidate who is prepared to vie for votes in a District that Obama carried by double-digits? Does this like the website of a candidate who is prepared to vie for votes in liberal, anti-gun, soccer-mom-voter-rich Montgomery County? Note that the two featured items on Mr. Bartlett's site (screencap below - click image to expand) are an NRA endorsement and a GOTV message for the April 3rd Republican Primary. Tsk tsk.

Roscoe, your website is still configured for a Republican Primary. That was four weeks ago!

REP. ROSCOE BARTLETT SELLING OUT ON LIBERTY ISSUES: Meanwhile, libertarian-minded voters are increasingly turned off by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett selling out on Liberty issues. These types of privacy and constitutional issues are often crossover issues between Democrats and Republicans (ie: precisely the types of issues that can aid candidates in swing districts). But Maryland Juice recently caught bitching about CD6's twenty-year GOP incumbent coming from fans of Rep. Ron Paul. They are disturbed by his votes for the NDAA & CISPA:

JUICE #2: REP. ANDY HARRIS SLAMMED FOR INACTION ON PLANNED SHORE JOB CUTS - On the other side of the state, Rep. Andy Harris (Maryland's other GOP Congressman) came under attack over the weekend for his inaction on job losses on the Eastern Shore. Specifically, Easton's Postal Service Processing Plant was recently on the chopping block, and Rep. Harris (an avid Tea Partier) had no problem watching the postal service jobs in his district evaporate. Ocean City's Dispatch recently noted:
DISPATCH: One week after battling for amendments to a proposed bill that included the closure of the U.S. Postal Service mail processing facility in Easton, which serves the entire Eastern Shore, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin this week received assurances the facility will remain open.

On Tuesday, Mikulski and Cardin announced their advocacy to protect mail delivery service standards in the U.S. Senate’s 21st Century Postal Reform Act has led to changes in the bill that will assure Maryland mail processing facilities, including the somewhat controversial facility in Easton, will not be closed as anticipated. Mikulski and Cardin on Tuesday received a letter from Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe outlining the facilities that would remain open, including the Easton facility.

Rep. Andy Harris' inaction on the possible job losses in his district prompted a Tilghman resident to write the following letter Easton's Star Democrat:
STAR DEMOCRAT: I think almost everyone in the Mid-Shore is happy that it appears the Easton Postal Processing Plant is not going to be closed. The exception to that might be Andy Harris, who refused pleas to do anything to save that plant. He's among the Republicans who want to reduce the size of the post office no matter who it hurts.

Thank goodness for Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, both of whom worked to save this plant, the jobs of the people who work there, and the quality of mail service in the 1st Congressional District. Everyone going to the polls in November should remember that Harris is not on our side. Wendy Rosen promises to be a congresswoman who will work with our senators for the benefit of the Eastern Shore.


The Delmarva Now editorial writers also jumped on top of this issue and called on politicians not to use these Shore jobs for partisan posturing (*COUGH* Andy Harris):
DELMARVA NOW: Maryland Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin have consistently advocated on behalf of the Eastern Shore's sole mail processing center, located in Easton. Those efforts have borne fruit, to the benefit of its employees, those who work for or own businesses that rely on mail services and every Shore resident who receives or sends letters or packages....

The Easton plant is the only such facility on the Delmarva Peninsula. Without it, a letter or package mailed from a Salisbury address to another Salisbury address (likewise for any other community) would travel either to Baltimore or out of state to Wilmington before reaching its destination....

The biggest culprit: Congress in 2006 set up a mandate that could, without alterations, spell the death of the USPS, by requiring it to make $5.5 billion annual payments for 10 years to fund its retired employee health benefits a whopping 75 years into the future --something no other agency or business is required to do....

Strengthening and preserving the U.S. Postal Service should be a priority for all members of Congress; using it for partisan posturing and electioneering is a disgrace.

- Last week Maryland Reporter published a round-up of likely contenders for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2014. Their analysis includes the following potential candidates:

  • David Craig, County Executive (Harford)
  • Larry Hogan, developer & former appointments secretary for Gov. Bob Ehrlich (Anne Arundel)
  • Charles Lollar, Marine Corps major & former CD5 GOP Congressional candidate (Charles)
  • Marty Madden,insurance agent & former State Senate minority leader (Howard)
  • Blaine Young, County Board of Commissioners President (Frederick)

JUICE #4: MARYLAND GOP FACTIONS DUEL OVER RNC POSITION - Over the last few weeks, the GOP blogosphere has erupted with back-and-forth attacks between rival factions of the Maryland Republican Party. Maryland Juice has been loosely keeping tabs on the shenanigans, but The Baltimore Sun had a summary of the story (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: A conservative activist running an insurgent candidacy against the Maryland Republican establishment seized the post of national committeewoman at the state GOP convention Saturday, beating longtime party stalwart Audrey E. Scott.

The victory by Nicolee Ambrose of Baltimore represents a generational changing of the guard for Maryland Republicans. Her win came after a bitterly fought internal struggle that played out in blogs and on Facebook.

The race pitted Scott, a 76-year-old pillar of Maryland Republican politics for decades, against a 37-year-old activist with experience in national presidential campaigns. Ambrose defeated Scott by a vote of 286-247....

The two fought for a position that has been held for the last decade by the retiring Joyce Lyons-Terhes, who like Scott had previously served as state party chair. The national committeewoman represents Maryland on the Republican National Committee. The post has traditionally been seen as a reward for long service rather than a prize to be fought over....

Donald Murphy, a former Republican state delegate who said the Solomons gathering was his 20th state GOP convention, said he had never before seen such a bitterly contested battle for a national committee position. He said that in some cases, Republicans were lining up behind Ambrose as "payback" for actions Scott took as party chair, including her decision to openly favor Ehrlich in 2010 before the Republican primary....

Murphy, who said he was neutral in the race, said Ambrose's election represents a change in the party. "People do want to move on. They want to get past Ehrlich and go to the next chapter," he said.

Here is a quick round-up of some interesting posts about the GOP Committee race from Republican bloggers:

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