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Republicans in Maryland are partying today like it’s 2002, after businessman Larry Hogan beat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown by a 51.5% to 46.8% margin and in the process becoming the first Republican to hold that office since Bob Ehrlich won a dozen years ago.

Hogan ran a smart campaign by focusing on jobs, taxes and the state of the Maryland economy, reminding voters that the O’Malley-Brown administration was responsible for over 40 tax increases during the last eight years and that i was time for a change which fit perfectly with his Change Maryland group which he started several years ago and served as the base for his campaign launch.

This election was much like 2002 when Ehrlich, ran against Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend- who added her maiden name in an effort to try and woo voters who liked the Kennedy clan, but who was a very weak candidate much like Anthony Brown was this year.

Brown was handicapped by the tax and spend record of the Democrats and failed miserably in trying to spark any enthusiasm from the Democratic base.

Even so, the race was Browns to lose with a 2-1 registration advantage that should have all but guaranteed him a victory.

Instead he stumbled much like Townsend did by losing counties that O’Malley had either won or was competitive in his two victories.

Here were the keys to Hogan’s victory;

Baltimore County – won by 52,000 votes which is comparable to Ehrlich’s 64,000 vote margin in 2002.  In 2006 the margin was just 8,000 votes and in 2010 he lost by 1,000 votes.

Howard County- won by 5,000 votes.  Ehrlich’s margin of victory  in 2002 was 10,000, but lost Howard by less than 700 votes in 2006 and 10,000 in 2010.

Montgomery County- lost by 61,000 votes. Ehrlich lost by 67,000 in 2002, but that grew to 78,000 in 2006 and 109,000 in 2010.

By winning Baltimore and Howard and reducing the deficit in Montgomery, Hogan robbed Brown of the votes he needed to offset the traditional Republican strongholds on the Eastern shore and Western Maryland and cleared a path to victory.

Hogan was criticized by some Republicans for spending so much time and money in Montgomery County, where it’s virtually impossible for a Republican to win, but the goal wasn’t to win as much as it was to get 40% of the vote.  Hogan fell short of that with almost 37%, but that was far better than Ehrlich’s 30.5% in 2010 comparable to Ehrlich’s 38% from his winning campaign in 2002.

The Brown campaign may go down as the worst Democratic gubernatorial effort in Maryland history, as he garnered 43,00 fewer votes than Townsend- who was the standard bearer of bad campaigns until yesterday and was a whopping 275,000 votes less than O’Malley received in 2010.  All this while Hogan increased the Republican vote totals by 70,000 and was more than Ehrlich had managed to get in the last two elections.

While winning the governor’s race is a big deal in deep blue Maryland, the reality is that Hogan will be severely limited in what he can accomplish over the next four years as he still faces an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature, but any progress he makes by blocking and  slowing down ruinous Democratic policies will be a victory for all Marylanders.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)  and her fellow Democrats have quietly dropped the word “stimulus” from their vocabulary.

Pelosi apparently feels the word has gone from being an asset to the party to nothing less than toxic as evidence has mounted that talking about the stimulus only raises voters ire and hurts the party.

Even though the Democrats haven’t stopped working on an economic stimulus agenda, they have changed the terminology to use the words “job creation” rather than stimulus in an effort to distance themselves from the negative connotation the word has engendered in the last couple of years.

According to The Hill Pelosi’s office issued more than 80 “fact sheets” highlighting media reports about local projects the stimulus law was supporting.

In December one month after the Democrats were swept out of power in the House the stimulus releases stopped.

The Democrats confidence in the nearly $800 billion stimulus package was high indeed, but as evidence surfaced of just how much taxpayers were paying to create new jobs and the limited boost the package gave to the economy touting  it became an albatross around their necks.

It doesn’t really matter what the Democrats want to call their economic stimulus package.  It’s still the same plan just worded differently. Call it a brand makeover.  Same stuff, new packaging.

But the voters should be able to see right through this Democratic ploy which is comparable to putting perfume on a pig.

 

Democratic strategist James Carville questioned why the party exists in light of Senate Democrats inability to pass what Eliot Spitzer says the public wants.

Carville also gave an extremely glum assessment of long term unemployment predicting people will go hungry and commit suicide adding that “if you’re 55 and you live in Ohio and you don’t have a job now you are out of luck.”

That is not the message Obama and the Democrats want to hear with two years left before the 2012 elections.

In an interview on WNYC  in May 2009  James Carville aka the Ragin’ Cajun predicted that the Democrats would rule and reign for a long time to come.

I admit that sfter the 2008 elections things looked pretty bleak for the GOP but by the time Carville gave this interview CNBC’s Rick Santelli had called for a tea party and several events had already taken place showing public unrest with the proposed Obama agenda.

Carville obviously didn’t take the Tea Party very seriously as he spoke about how difficult it would be for the GOP to find new people to run.  Well maybe the Republicans didn’t enthusiastically recruit members of the Tea Party to run for office but run they did and infused the party with the enthusiasm it has been lacking since the days of Ronald Reagan.

The mainstream media is still in love with Carville whose main claim to fame is his role as the campaign manager for Bill Clinton in 1992.  But since that time the few domestic campaigns he has advised on like John Kerry in 2004 and Hillary Clinton in 2008 have not been successful but yet he is still in demand for his political expertise.

Maybe one of the problems the Democrats had this year is that they listened too much to people like Carville who believed that voters would not abandon the party just four years after handing the control of Congress and two years after giving them the White House.

But the voters did leave the Democrats in the dust and Carville will be wise to wait awhile before he makes any more 40 year Democratic dominance predictions.

Three months ago Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) in an interview with The Hill that the November elections would likely weed out the some of the “most difficult Democrats” that the leadership has had to contend with this Congress.

Waxman the soon to be former chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee was also optimistic that the Democrats would retain control of Congress proving that either his crystal ball was a little cloudy or that he was in denial about the impending doom his party faced.

Well at least he got it half right.

In the interview Waxman also hinted that he won’t miss his soon to be departed colleagues  when he told The Hill that he thought  that he thought that a lot of the House seats that the Democrats were going to lose were those “who have been the toughest for the Democrats to pull into line — the Democrats that have been the most difficult.”

The “diificult Democrats” Waxman was referring to have often been referred to as “Blue Dogs” for bening far more conservative than the majority of the House Democrats and for their tendency to side with the GOP on many issues.  It was their support that made it difficult for the Pelosi led Congress to ram through the Obama agenda and expend a great deal of politcal capital to get the health care bill passed after numerous attempts.

On Tuesday the voters made Waxman’s wish come true by voting out a large number of “Blue Dog” Democrats along with other more liberal members and in doing so reduced him to minority status.
Maybe next time Waxman will be a little more careful in what he wishes for.

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I did a quick tour today of some of the precincts in my district in Maryland today and much to my dismay I found that the early voting only reinforced the stanglehold Democrats have over state politics.

Voter registration in Maryland runs approximately 2 to 1 in favor of the Democrats and in Montgomery County that advantage is slightly larger in most of the districts.  The result is that Republican candidates such as myself for state office face an almost impossibly high hurdle in an effort to win.

For example in my race for State Senate I calculated that would need the votes of 90% of the registered Republicans and Independents to even come reasonably close to winning.  I didn’t factor in receiving any crossover votes from Democrats as Montgomery County is so liberal that I figured this was not even remotely possible. The Democratic primary was very bitter but rather than vote for a Republican I was told from supporters of the losing candidate that they would most likely not vote in this particular race.

Now back to what I found today in visiting about 40% of the precincts in my district. 

In my old precinct 208 Democrats and 37 Republicans had voted by 10 a.m.  At another precinct Democrats had cast 176 votes to 76 for the GOP by mid-day.  The last precinct I visited showed 370 Democrats and 146 Republicans cast ballots by 3 p.m. 

All of these numbers are above the 2 to 1 ratio and in the case of my old precinct greater than 5 to 1 which doesn’t bode well for any Republican candidate today in the state but is extremely bad news for the former governor Bob Ehrlich who is seeking to recapture the job he lost four years ago.

What makes this even worse for Ehrlich is that he set up a headquarters in Montgomery County with the express purpose of improving his vote totals from four years ago which he considered vital for a victory this year.

Instead based on the early returns he may wind up doing far worse as his campaign has failed to gain much traction in the county and as he has spent less and less time campaigning here election day drew closer which isn’t exactly a sign that he is expecting to win.

With the Republicans expected to regain control of the House of Representatives tonight the Democratic victories will be one of the few bright spots for the party tonight and only reinforce how out of step the state is with the rest of the country.

The state is the epitome of one-party rule and after tonight the Democrats will only strengthen their grip on elected offices as they will be in charge of redistricting and will inevitably divide Republican voters up into even smaller chunks than currently exist ensuring that one-party rule will continue for at least another decade.

Yet even with this stanglehold on the electorate by the Democrats there were a couple of bright spots today in my travels.  One was that for the first time in some 42 years of observing precinct activity was the very noticable lack of effort by the teachers union in the county.  If nothing else  one could always count on a show of force by the teachers to push their liberal union backed candidates for the school board. On the surface it may be a non-partisan race but in reality the board is very political.  Yet in visits at a dozen precincts there was only one that had an active educator handing out literature. 

The other somewhat hopeful sign was that not all the precincts had manned Democrat party tables.  For a county with a very active Democrat base this was shocking to see.  In fact at one precinct their was only a box of sample ballots in a box on the ground and no person in sight to hand them out.

Maybe just maybe the enthusiasm gap that the media has spoken about has reached all the way down to the state political level which could prove to be problematic for the Democrats at some time in the future if it accelerates unexpectedly giving the Republicans a chance to snag a few seats down the line.

This could be one of those historic nights nationwide so be prepared for a long night.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi faced off on Saturday against entrenched Republicans and reluctant blue dog Democrats and managed to pull together just enough votes to pass the president’s health care reform bill.

Pelosi couldn’t resist gloating about the victory by claiming that it was a bipartisan effort thanks to the lone GOP vote from Louisiana Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao who joined the Democrats once it became clear the bill would pass with or without his vote.

At first blush this claim looks pretty ludicrous.  After all how can anyone in their right mind say that one vote out of 220 represents a true bipartisan effort?  But Pelosi was right she was just focusing on the wrong set of votes.  Thirty nine Democrats stood up to Pelosi and voted against the bill which represents a far greater percentage of the overall vote than the one Republican on the other side.

President Obama promised to reach across the aisle and end the bickering that had become the the norm in Washington.  Instead his actions have only widened the divide as evidenced by Saturday’s vote in the House and it will probably be an even tougher fight in the Senate.

Now that the House has put the health care vote behind them many of the Democrats who voted in favor of the bill will now be forced to defend their votes to angry constituents when they face re-election next year.

If the momentum built up from the tea parties continues into next year’s election November 2010 could be Obama’s Waterloo.