Battleground Baltimore County? Just because Republican former Gov. Robert Ehrlich lost doesn't mean that all that talk about Baltimore County being the battleground county was a lot of hooey.
So says Don Norris, professor and chairman of the Department of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley won a plurality of votes in last week's election but did not cross the 50 percent mark in Baltimore County. So far, he's bested Ehrlich in his home county by nearly 1,300 votes according to the latest vote totals available Friday morning.
Baltimore County was key to Ehrlich's 2002 victory as he won the county by about 64,000 votes and the state by about 66,000 votes.
In 2006, Ehrlich won the county by just 8,400 votes even though voter turnout increased only marginally. The loss of those 54,000 votes to O'Malley was a big part of the Democratic governor's margin of victory statewide.
But this year was different and Ehrlich lost the state by nearly 258,000 votes. So does Baltimore County matter?
"Baltimore County is and will continue for some time to be a significant county statewide because it is purple and because nearly all of the other counties and the city are "givens" to one side or the other — Democrats or Republicans," Norris said. "This is where any statewide election will be won or lost. Think governor's races 2002 vs. 2006 and 2010. I don't see this changing. If a GOP candidate has a hope of winning, he or she has to carry Baltimore County and carry it sizeably."
Cavey says 'complain less:' Former county Republican Central Committee Chairman Chris Cavey has resumed writing his column for the online news and commentary site The Tentacle and he has some advice for critics inside his own party who have thoughts about why Ehrlich lost last week.
"Complain less, Get involved," writes Cavey, who was the field director for the "Ehrlich again in 2010" campaign.
In an interview, Cavey told me that the column is meant to address the cumulative complaints and "pearls of wisdom" offered up by Republican party members, activists and the blogosphere.
He declined to name names but said it was absolutely not directed at former Ehrlich-world membersRichard Cross or Joseph Steffen, the self-proclaimed political 'Prince of Darkness." Both, especially Cross, have had their own opinions about what happened in rematch loss between Ehrlich and O'Malley.
"Nah those guys are my friends," Cavey said. "It's directed at a lot of other guys with less balls than The P.O.D. and Richard Cross."
In the column, Cavey theorizes that the election came down to "math and blind partisan politics."
"No one is to blame, nothing went wrong within the campaign – it was a team who cared about Maryland and was dedicated to Bob Ehrlich winning," Cavey writes. "The campaign was lost to pure partisan politics.
"It is easy for the Monday morning quarterbacks to proffer criticism now that the election is final," he concludes, adding that those unnamed persons "need to complain less and get into the real game."
Rankin and Bass go political? We all remember the Rankin and Bass holiday classics such as Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer with Burl Ives, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town narrated by Fred Astaire, and Frosty the Snowman with Jimmy Durante. But local political blogger Richard Cross offers up one they didn't make (but maybe should).
Rankin and Bass, in conjunction with the Cross Purposes blog brings you the satirical send-up ofJulius Henson's recent election scandal: Rudolph's Robocall Christmas.
Cross offers this plot summary: Newly-minted lawyer Rudolf must save Christmas by protecting the elves from Orange Julius, a villain who wants to trick them into thinking all the work has been done for Christmas by using robocalls telling them not to show up at Santa's Toyshop.
In Cross' version, Ives is replaced by Joe Steffen and features Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller as Heat Miser (before Miller gave up the red locks) and Henson as "Orange Julius."
In case you missed it: A proposed change to a recently passed county ethics law sponsored by Councilman Ken Oliver was the subject of conversation with Bill Vanko during my weekly appearance on the Maryland Morning News program on WBAL 1090 AM. You can hear that conversation here. I discuss county politics each week on the station and WBAL.com on Thursdays in the 7 a.m. hour.
Brochin's half-full glass: Our friend Alan Brody over at The Gazette of Politics and Businesstakes note (fifth item) of Sen. Jim Brochin's appearance on last Saturday's C4 show on WBAL 1090 AM.
Brochin, who enjoys a love-hate relationship with Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, is apparently hopeful that the influx of new senate members will move him out of the back of the chamber.
The Democratic senator from Towson was recently elected to his third term and has been relegated to the back of the chamber where members are typically seated in order of seniority.
Weekend birthday shout-outs: Some birthdays of note this weekend. On Saturday: Natalie Davis, former reporter for WCBM and contributing writer to The City Paper and now the program and music director at Grateful Dread Public Radio in Summit, N.J.; Lauren King, former Carroll County State House reporter, who is now at The Virginian-Pilot.
On Sunday: Mark Miller, 52, the programing and news director at WBAL 1090 AM.
On the air: Brian Bailey, the former Democratic 1st District Council candidate and immediate past chairman of the county Democratic Central Committee, and Republican Central Committee ChairmanTony Campbell will talk about the election and the next four years for their respective parties onJay Liner's "All Politics is Local Show." As always, Al Forman of Investigativevoice.com and I will co-host with Liner. The live call in show airs Sunday night from 7-8 p.m. on WCBM 680 AM andWCBM.com.