In honor of my favorite TV show, here are my suggestions as to “The Walking Dead” of Maryland politics.
These politicos cling to the spotlight even though their relevance has left them or is rapidly fading.
Matt “Mudcat” Arnold: Doug Gansler’s campaign manager arguably has the toughest job in Maryland politics. His boss is facing allegations involving state troopers, unpaid speeding tickets and a seaside drunken teen twerkfest. And, in pure quicksand fashion, the attorney general makes them worse every time he tries to engage the media.
The iron rule of politics is, never let the other side define your candidate. During Arnold’s watch, he has given Marylanders reason to regard Gansler as simply another arrogant pol who believes different rules apply to him. Will Gansler send Mudcat back to Mudville?
The “Flip Flop” Boys: Delegates Sam Arora (D) and Wade Kach (R) both took positions on marriage equality, and then voted the opposite way.
Arora leaves the Legislature after just one term because of the backlash. A veteran of Hillary Clinton’s senatorial staff and the Democratic National Committee, he clearly harbored broader ambitions. Instead, he will spend his final year in the State House as a shuffling example of what happens when politicians break their promises.
I grew up in Kach’s home legislative district, to which he was first elected in 1974. Never a dynamic presence in the Legislature, he is now running for a Baltimore County Council seat. True, his opponent, incumbent Councilman Todd Huff, has had his own challenges. But he has demonstrated fundraising prowess and the strong support of the county’s political establishment.
Kach’s abrupt change in position — exacerbated by the perception by some of his conservative constituents that it came amid promises by the Democratic establishment in Annapolis — is a disqualifying liability.
Charles Lollar: From launching a dysfunctional website, to personnel problems, to blowing off the MDGOP convention in Annapolis, this smooth-talking gubernatorial wannabe does not seem ready for prime time. As GOP blogger Jeff Quinton said, “You can’t spell Lollar without LOL.”
The Western Maryland secession movement: I share the frustration felt by Marylanders who feel their views are not represented by a tax-and-spend Annapolis regime. Still, secession is a crackpot idea. The Civil War settled that issue. And even if it hadn’t, spinning Western Maryland off into a new state would have to be approved by both the Maryland General Assembly and the U.S. Congress — both impossibilities.
Bob Ehrlich, author: In his new book, the former governor warns against an Obama administration whose dangers and deficiencies are already self-evident, and whose recent headlines have only reinforced that impression to his intended audience. It currently ranks at number 207,193 among best-sellers on Amazon.com. His first book, 2011’s “Turn This Car Around,” clocks in at number 595,316. The rationale behind his 2010 comeback bid is suddenly much easier to understand.
Don Dwyer: Dwyer’s drunken misadventures have made him a laughingstock in political circles, but he seems to be running for his delegate seat again anyway. It’s hard to imagine voters will take him seriously, either. In the meantime, let’s hope he doesn’t get a pilot’s license.
Audrey Scott: The 78-year-old Scott, a former state Cabinet secretary, mayor and MDGOP chairman, is constantly looking for something to do on the political landscape.
In the past two years she unsuccessfully campaigned to become Maryland’s Republican National Committeewoman and an appointed state senator. But controversies resulting from Scott’s MDGOP chairmanship and support of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s gambling expansion referendum in 2012 may have limited her future career options.
Julius Henson: One of the architects of the Ehrlich robocall scandal, this controversial political consultant served jail time. Yet he has gotten off the political autopsy table and is now apparently challenging Baltimore state
Sen. Nathaniel McFadden. Let me see, campaigning to win the votes of the same Baltimore residents you originally tried to trick into not voting at all. You’ve got to admire the hubris, I guess.
And speaking of robocalls, Alderman-elect Phil Dacey:
He will soon take office as a Frederick alderman amid questions as to his own involvement in a robocall scandal. Lots of Frederick Republicans are really mad at him — not the best way to launch your public service career.
On the TV show, “The Walking Dead” refers both to the human survivors and the zombies. Time will tell in which category Dacey falls.
Richard J. Cross III is a former Capitol Hill and Annapolis press secretary and speechwriter. He resides in Baltimore and blogs at http://rjc-crosspurposes.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.