Wednesday, November 14, 2012

JuiceBlender: Candidates Line Up for MoCo Exec, Pelosi Stays, GOP Debates Fate of Mooney, GOP Libertarians Seek Influence

Below Maryland Juice provides a quick follow-up to several recent stories we've been following:

JUICE #1: NANCY PELOSI NOT LEAVING LEADERSHIP SPOT // NO SOUP FOR HOYER - Maryland Juice has been following the possibility of a leadership change for the U.S. House Democratic caucus. Congressmen Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen had both been named as possible successors, but today Pelosi put a halt to the speculation and announced she was staying on. See an excerpt from The Washington Post report below:
WASHINGTON POST: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) announcement Wednesday that she will stay in her job means two Maryland Democrats — Reps. Steny Hoyer and Chris Van Hollen — will be stuck in place for at least two more years.... Now Hoyer will stay on as whip.... The lack of movement means there is nowhere for Van Hollen to go.... Van Hollen is 53 while Pelosi is 72 and Hoyer is 73.
Notably, The Huffington Post reported that progressive groups were making a last-minute plea to Pelosi not to retire.

JUICE #2: CANDIDATES LINE UP FOR 2014 MOCO EXECUTIVE'S RACE - Yesterday Maryland Juice flagged an article in the Examiner discussing MoCo Councilmember George Leventhal's fundraising activities for a 2014 Executive run. We named a few other candidates who have are rumored to be weighing the County Exec race. But today, The Gazette's Kate Alexander has a worthwhile story that provides a more grounded round-up of the current candidate field. She was able to get comments on the record from several candidates, and now we can see what folks are up to. First, Councilmember Phil Andrews appears to be definitely in the race for 2014 Executive, and sources who have spoken to Andrews confirm he's in it to win it. As previously noted, Leventhal is obviously also plotting a run and fundraising. But The Gazette also has current Executive Ike Leggett on-the-record sticking to his previous declaration that he would not seek re-election. Moreover, based on the interviews, it also appears as though more Councilmembers are eyeing the race than we previously noted. Check out an excerpt from The Gazette's coverage below:
GAZETTE: Councilmen Philip M. Andrews and George L. Leventhal have confirmed they are pursuing campaigns for executive....

State Del. Benjamin Kramer (D-Dist. 19) of Derwood said he is considering a bid, but will wait to see what Leggett does. Councilman Marc B. Elrich (D-At large) of Takoma Park said he too is waiting to see what Leggett does before he decides his plan for 2014.... 
Steve Silverman ... would not say if he was or was not planning to run for the position again.... Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring said she is still exploring her options.... Nancy Floreen would also not disclose any plans, nor would former Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg. Said Floreen: “I’m running for something.” 
“All options are on the table right now,” Trachtenberg said in an email....

 We took The Gazette's comments and tried to use them to sort the candidates into categories below:
  • Planning an Executive Run: Councilmembers Phil Andrews & George Leventhal
  • Won't Say Either Way/Keeping Options Open:  Councilmembers Valerie Ervin & Nancy Floreen, former Councilmember Steve Silverman & Duchy Trachtenberg
  • Depends on Ike Leggett: Councilmember Marc Elrich, Delegate Ben Kramer
  • AWOL: former Executive Doug Duncan

Notably, The Gazette article also stated that the following candidates have stated they are simply running for re-election to the County Council:
  • Running for Re-Election to Council: Roger Berliner, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice & Hans Riemer.

JUICE #3: MARYLAND GOP IMAGINES A FUTURE WITHOUT CHAIRMAN ALEX MOONEY - Maryland Juice has been writing about recent anger toward GOP Chairman Alex Mooney. Many within the Maryland GOP want him to resign, but the whole affair is triggering a very public debate about his record. Yesterday, former Ehrlich operative Richard Cross weighed in with his own questions (excerpt below):
RICHARD CROSS (VIA CROSS PURPOSES): Now, in light of the MDGOP’s disastrous election returns, the hanging party has ridden into town in search of Mooney.... As I ponder Mooney’s fate, I find myself asking two questions. First, if the party dumps Mooney, who will the next chairman be?....

Such pondering lead me to the second question: If Mooney goes, who would actually want the job, given the recent history of infighting and rebellion and the party’s seemingly grim future prospects?....

The case against Mooney has several different elements, but it is clear that the failure of the ballot initiatives is the tipping point in terms of people demanding his ouster.

When I talked to Chairman Mooney at the party’s spring convention he said to me, “I’m not perfect, but at least I’m trying to do the right thing.” I believe that. Now, it is up to him to convince partisans that he’s the right person to lead the party out of its present moment of darkness.

JUICE #4: GOP LIBERTARIANS SEEK ROLE IN RESHAPING PARTY - Maryland Juice has noticed that libertarian-minded Republicans seem to be asserting themselves more loudly these days. They believe that after the smack-down their party faced this month, their socially-liberal views may provide the GOP an opportunity to reach the voters they have been losing lately. See two examples below, one national and one from Maryland. First, U.S. Senator Rand Paul wants to inject libertarian social issues into the forefront of the GOP. Check out the quick excerpt from the long Politico article below:
POLITICO: He’ll push to loosen marijuana penalties, legalize undocumented immigrants and pursue a less aggressive American foreign policy. Call it the Rand Paul Evolution.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection win and ahead of a possible 2016 White House bid of his own, the Kentucky Republican plans to mix his hard-line tea party conservatism with more moderate policies that could woo younger voters and minorities largely absent from the GOP coalition. It’s the latest tactic of the freshman senator to inject the Libertarian-minded views shared by his retiring father into mainstream Republican thinking as the party grapples with its future.

In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins....

MARYLAND LIBERTY CAUCUS WANTS TO ROCK MD GOP AT THEIR CONVENTION: Meanwhile, back in Maryland a group called the "Maryland Liberty Caucus" wants to "defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, and free markets, by means of political activity." Led by Aberdeen Republican Patrick McGrady, they are joining with other groups on a project to rock "the MDGOP Back to Its Roots." Their announcement for the project has some criticisms about the way the Maryland GOP has been run. They plan on airing their complaints at the state party's convention at the end of the month (excerpt below):
MARYLAND LIBERTY CAUCUS: We have an exciting new project to tell you about– and we need your help.  It’s time to re-make the Maryland Republican Party from the grassroots up!

Our Liberty-minded elected officials, Party leaders, and Central Committee members are joining forces to launch the Maryland Liberty Caucus!

We all watched as the election results came in last Tuesday. We weren’t surprised.

You and I both know that the Maryland Republican Party is run from the top-down. The Republican Establishment doesn’t stand for conservative principles. They don’t appreciate the diverse, energetic, and conservative arm of the Party....

Here in Maryland, the Maryland Liberty Movement will re-brand the Republican Party from the bottom up. We are going to go full-tilt into the Maryland Republican Party Convention on November 30-December 1, 2012 in Howard County....

More on the re-building of the Maryland GOP soon!

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