The April 26 primary ballot in Maryland will show Mark McNicholas as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, but his political beliefs don’t always align with the traditional views of the party.
He’s personally opposed to abortion, but doesn’t want the government to get involved in the issue.
“I don’t believe we should legislate Christianity,” he said.
He also wants President Barack Obama to nominate a replacement for the U.S. Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, as outlined in the Constitution, instead of waiting for a new, possibly conservative president to take office.
A Baltimore city native, McNicholas said he has “nothing but respect” for Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the incumbent, who is not seeking re-election. In fact, he originally registered to vote with the Democratic Party.
The 40-year-old resident of Kingsville in Baltimore County has since switched party affiliations, but his core beliefs in cooperation and bipartisanship haven’t changed.
His frustration with current politicians — who he described as extreme and partisan — inspired him to make his first bid for elected office.
He described his platform as one of returning to the basics of government — the “ABCs” of accountability, best practices and cooperation. He explained this to mean that if elected, he would support best policies regardless of which political party they come from.
Those policies, McNicholas said, should include limiting government regulation.
He pointed to the mortgage industry, where he has worked as a loan officer for the last 14 years, as one area hurt by overbearing, excessive government control.
McNicholas said eight federal agencies regulate mortgages. He proposed consolidating the functions of these agencies to eliminate confusion and added expenses while still ensuring protection for consumers.
McNicholas pointed to federal and state economic sanctions as another aspect of government that needs to be cut. Decreased regulations and a more business-friendly environment can create more jobs, he said — part of the reason he switched political affiliations.
He did not specify any regulations that could be reduced or eliminated to benefit the economy or name other ways to limit government.
“I’m here to learn as much as I am to share my views,” McNicholas said.
He cited his ability to listen and keep an open mind as two additional strengths for his candidacy. Much of his work as a mortgage loan officer has involved listening to and gathering information on the intimate details of individuals’ financial situations and life circumstances.
“You speak with people from all walks of life, from all over the state, in all different situations,” he said.
McNicholas will compete in the GOP primary against Chris Chaffee, Sean Connor, Richard Douglas, John Graziani, Greg Holmes, Joseph Hooe, Chrys Kefalas, Lynn Richardson, Anthony Seda, Richard Shawver, Kathy Szeliga, Dave Wallace and Gary Thomas Yarrington. The general election is Nov. 8. U.S. senators serve a six-year term, at an annual salary of $174,000.