The GOP’s Peroutka Headache

Anne Arundel County Council Candidate Michael Peroutka was until recently the rare political bird who refused to talk to the media. When he finally did agree to talk to reporters, one cannot help but think that the original refusal was the better bet.

Peroutka has been active in the John Birch Society but it is his current board membership on the League of the South that has attracted scrutiny. Labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the League advocates secession from the U.S. Indeed, the video above shows Peroutka asking people to “stand for the national anthem” of Dixie–not the Star-Spangled Banner.

The Baltimore Sun, which  has done a fine job of covering Peroutka’s checkered past and current unacceptable views and thus been one of the many criticized by Peroutka, reports that he doesn’t think that was a mistake and refuses to leave the League.

As a result, Republicans have started running for the hills. Gubernatorial Candidate Larry Hogan wisely didn’t wait to disassociate himself from Peroutka and his campaign says that Hogan “absolutely disavows” him. Peroutka now whines that Hogan didn’t “dialogue” with him.

Yes, Peroutka and the League are just all about dialogue. I wonder how much dialogue Peroutka had with LGBT leaders before he said that the “gay rights movement will lead to ‘forced homosexuality.'” Or the League had immigrant advocacy groups before attacking “the flood tide of massive Third World immigration and leftist attempts to destroy [the South’s] very cultural and political foundations.”

Closer to home, Anne Arundel Republican County Executive Candidate Steve Schuh said he would not run with Peroutka after he refused to resign from the League: “I simply cannot support someone who is a member of an organization that appears to be racist or that advocates for the dismemberment of the United States.”

Unfortunately the State Republican Party has yet to back up their leading candidates and has made “no decision” on whether to back Peroutka. At this point, the GOP is late and needs to join Hogan and Schuh in this no-brainer decision if it doesn’t want to persuade more Marylanders that they are way out of the mainstream.

The Capital has reported the Peroutka now claims that he is anti-secession even as he won’t give up his seat on the League board:

He said people moving out of Anne Arundel County and the state of Maryland because of high taxes represent individual secession.

Peroutka said his campaign was “anti-secession” because he was “asking people to place trust in me so that I can work within that government to prevent the individual secession that’s occurring now.”

“Whether that individual secession will form into a political movement — I’m not a part of that,” Peroutka said. “I’m actually going in the other direction.”

Peroutka can continue to piss all over America to his heart’s content and his party’s heartburn but he could at least do us the courtesy of not calling it rain to borrow a phrase.

Jon Cardin’s Long Goodbye

Del. Jon Cardin posted a letter to his constituents to Facebook that attacks the “negative smear campaign” regarding his attendance in the General Assembly. I guess Jon Cardin and Brian Frosh will not be having lunch together anytime soon.

The ball started rolling on this question when Baltimore Sun Reporter Luke Broadwater did a story entitled “Jon Cardin missed nearly 75% of votes in Annapolis.” (Note: I am quoted in the article suggesting that this might not be good for his campaign.)

Luke Broadwater investigated the committee votes of all three candidates for attorney general and found that:

General Assembly records reviewed by The Baltimore Sun show that during the 90-day legislative session, Cardin missed about 120 out of 164 committee votes — nearly 75 percent. The other two legislators running for attorney general missed few or no committee votes.

In his letter to constituents (posted in full below), Del. Cardin states:

Rather than focus on issues or qualifications, several personal attacks were made on me. By far, the most captivating negative attack was that I was a slacker, that I had missed “75% of the votes” in the General Assembly. . . . Over my 12 years in Annapolis, no one worked harder or tried to use his powers of persuasion to get legislative leaders to see alternative perspectives more than I. I was present for both Committee and House floor votes well-over 90% of the time, the 2014 session excepted.

This year, while I missed nearly no floor votes, no hearings, debates or amendments, I did miss nine committee voting sessions totaling 119 votes – all combined, less than 2 ½ hours of time.

He further repeats the reply that appeared in the Baltimore Sun article that he was present for over “90 percent” of floor and committee votes in past years:

I was present for both Committee and House floor votes well-over 90% of the time, the 2014 session excepted.

This year, while I missed nearly no floor votes, no hearings, debates or amendments, I did miss nine committee voting sessions totaling 119 votes – all combined, less than 2 ½ hours of time. The majority of these voting sessions occurred after 5:00pm with an unprecedented three voting sessions late on Friday afternoons when I head home to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Each evening except one I was with my wife, dealing with serious pregnancy health matters and/or my two year old daughter while my wife went to the doctor alone.

Del. Cardin said further that he had never explained all of this previously but should have done so in retrospect. Indeed, serious familial responsibilities would have been a potentially  effective political response to the several articles–not to mention Washington Post and Baltimore Sun editorials–highlighting his absenteeism.

As a result, I am left a bit puzzled. While I can understand the desire to keep the personal private, questions raised by reporters or other candidates about your record in previous office are within the bounds of fair play in anyone’s book. The Cardin campaign never stated that Broadwater’s article was inaccurate.

Del. Cardin undermines his case when he minimizes his level of absenteeism by trying unconvincingly to convert his 2014 absence from nearly 75% of committee votes to only “2 1/2 hours of time.” Committees are key decision makers in the General Assembly and votes there can be critical.

On the other hand, many will sympathize with both the toughness of campaigns (though the Cardin camp could play tough too) and the difficulties in balancing work and family responsibilities. Read the whole letter below and decide for yourself. I know that news articles (and definitely blog posts) don’t always have the whole picture.

Friends and Constituents of the 11th Legislative District:

For twelve years, I have had the honor of representing you in the House of Delegates. Thank you for putting your trust in me by electing me three times. This year, I ran for Attorney General and lost. For four weeks, I endured the most negative smear campaign seen in a Democratic Party primary in Maryland’s modern history, including accusations that I neglected my duties in the House of Delegates. Given the election results, it is clear that many believed the accusations. I made a mistake by not responding directly to the allegations when they were made. Now, I would like to set the record straight.

Rather than focus on issues or qualifications, several personal attacks were made on me. By far, the most captivating negative attack was that I was a slacker, that I had missed “75% of the votes” in the General Assembly. This is politics; I should have expected the other side to create a disparaging and disingenuous narrative to stick against me. Even so, I put my work ethic up against anyone’s in Annapolis. Over my 12 years in Annapolis, no one worked harder or tried to use his powers of persuasion to get legislative leaders to see alternative perspectives more than I. I was present for both Committee and House floor votes well-over 90% of the time, the 2014 session excepted.

This year, while I missed nearly no floor votes, no hearings, debates or amendments, I did miss nine committee voting sessions totaling 119 votes – all combined, less than 2 ½ hours of time. The majority of these voting sessions occurred after 5:00pm with an unprecedented three voting sessions late on Friday afternoons when I head home to observe the Jewish Sabbath. Each evening except one I was with my wife, dealing with serious pregnancy health matters and/or my two year old daughter while my wife went to the doctor alone. Needless to say, this was a difficult time for me and my family. The one voting session I missed, while not with family, I was in the community presenting legislative citations at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center and Maryland Israel Development Corporation.

As democrats, we have not only taken policy positions on more inclusion of men into nurturing responsibilities, but we actively champion legislation that requires male involvement in family matters. Ironically, when it came to demonstrating belief through modeling behavior, my party backers used it as a weapon to destroy me. As a working parent in a part-time citizen legislature, I balanced my family responsibilities with 119 non-controversial votes.

At the beginning of the legislative session, I informed my Chairwoman that I had made a commitment to spend as much time assisting my wife as possible while making sure my work as a legislator did not suffer. For this reason, my chair knew of my wife’s pregnancy and medical issues long before even my parents or in-laws. I told her if she needed me for a close vote, I would be there. I kept that promise to both my family and my constituents. I cast over 2700 votes in the 2014 session, attended every hearing and 100% of my subcommittee meetings where we marked up the bills and voted on ALL amendments. Paradoxically, a campaign strategy that focused on sullying the Cardin name and work ethic was necessary because focusing on democratic issues and values, like expanding sick leave to attend to relatives, likely would have bolstered my actions.

With 2014 being the most successful session of my career, defining me as absent from work 75% of the time was a lie that effectively changed the narrative. In fact, my colleagues saw me in Annapolis every day, all day. I arrived daily at 6:30am and left at between 5 and 6pm. What I did not do is frequent the nightly dinners and corporate receptions that many of my colleagues enjoyed. To the contrary, on the nine nights our votes were stalled, I lingered as long as I could, quickly grabbed a kosher sandwich and soda that my per diem permitted and then rushed out. Nevertheless, I was further attacked for [allegedly unethical] management of my budget.

Meanwhile, my bills to go after cyber sexual harassment, protect citizens from election fraud, protect children from domestic violence and make teenagers true lifesavers with Breanna’s Law are just a few of the issues that are making Maryland a better place for everyone. Again, it seems that few wanted to discuss these issues important in protecting Maryland’s families, but rather they wanted to falsely define me as an absentee legislator. And it’s disheartening this irony was not reported in the press.

I had hoped to bring my commitment to the protection of consumers, children and the environment to the Attorney General’s Office. Instead, I will be returning to private life at the end of the year. I made a conscious decision to run a 100% positive campaign for Attorney General, trying to move Maryland forward and not towards the DC culture of gridlock, smear and negativism. I may have lost the election because of the way I tried to balance my work in the Annapolis, my commitment to my family, and my ethical campaign. But, I do not regret the decisions I made. As I look to the future, I hope to continue to advocate for the issues that were the hallmarks of my twelve years in the House of Delegates while fulfilling my roles as a husband and father.

Here’s the bottom line: Even missing one vote is missing too many votes. I tried hard to balance my family responsibilities with my public responsibilities and remain quite proud of the work I did on behalf of my constituents. I am a positive person driven to fight against control-driven bullies who lack the confidence to permit the voiceless to be heard. It was an honor to serve on behalf of the citizens of Maryland, and it was a responsibility that I did not take lightly. Maryland needs ethical, independent thinkers to bring democracy, balance, fairness, dignity and respect to public service. If nothing else, I hope my loss illuminates on transcending a system where control and bullies trump transparency and principle.

I am committed to the the principles of the Democratic party and hope that Brian Frosh, a good democrat, prevails so that our vision for a better Maryland is realized

Sincerely,

Jon S. Cardin

MD-08 Tea Leaves

Chris Van Hollen probably ain’t going nowhere. He has a lot to lose and very little to gain by running for US Senate. In the House, he’s got a solid shot at the Speakership (if Team Blue ever regains control of the chamber). Even if he falls short, he’ll likely advance into some lower tier of leadership–and being Majority Leader or Caucus Chairman ain’t bad. Perhaps he ends up in some lofty post in a theoretically Biden Administration (the Vice President is very close to CVH). But hey, many a down county pol dreams of the day this seat will open up . . . so let’s speculate.

Here are some politicians, who without having asked them, I’d wager would seriously consider it:

State Senator Jamie Raskin (D-20): Jamie represents about 20% of MD-08 and would carry with him a rabid base of progressive activists. I believe he would be able to tap into a substantial network of national “net roots” small donors as MD-04 Congresswoman Donna Edwards was able to in 2006 and 2008. He’d also be able to raise money from national progressive donors. I think he could raise betwixt $1,000,000 and $1,600,000 for this bid.

State Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18): Rich would likely attract substantial backing from a large community of national LGBT donors. He also represents 1/5th of MD-08 currently and presents a more practical blend of progressivism than Senator Raskin. I believe he could raise between $700,000 and and a million dollars.

Delegate Bill Frick (D-16): I discussed Delegate Frick’s congressional fortunes in my post on MD-06. He represents a much larger portion of MD-08 than MD-06 so he might have a stronger showing here.

County Council Member At Large Hans Riemer: Hans has the distinct advantage that he represents the vast majority of Democratic Primary voters in this district. He’d also be a nice Obama spin off Congressional Candidate. Perhaps by the time MD-08 is open the President will be ready to stump for the alumni of his historic campaigns. I think Hans could put together $500,000-$650,000. He also has the opportunity to a great deal of constituency building due to his county wide position.

District 5 County Council Member Tom Hucker: It is my opinion that Tom Hucker espouses a slightly different brand of progressive rhetoric than Jamie Raskin. Jamie is the liberal law professor while Hucker is a fiery labor organizer. I believe Hucker would be labor’s choice and could come up with between $350,000 and $600,000.

Former Delegate Heather Mizeur (District 20): This is the seat Heather was born to run for. Unfortunately, I think Raskin would cut her electoral base out from under her. This is very different than her donor base and I believe she could rake in between two and three million dollars for her bid. Weirdly, I hear her mentioned more frequently for MD-01 (where she owns a vacation home, in Kent County).

My Analysis
In a field likely to be chock full of dynamic progressive elected officials (think Raskin, Hucker and Mizeur) vying to be the farthest of the far left a slightly more pragmatic liberal (think Madaleno, Frick or Riemer) could break through. It even opens the door for a real moderate (!) self funding businessman to flood the race with money and cruise to victory.

Outlook: Toss Up

Did I miss someone? Am I off base? Shoot me an email at johnga.ems@gmail.com.

 

If Donna Edwards Moves Up or On. . .

No one is saying Donna Edwards is going anywhere after working hard to get a firm hold on the Fourth Congressional District but I thought it would be fun to speculate if she left her seat open, say, during a bid for higher office. We’d have an incredibly interesting Democratic Primary on our hands. I believe that the following would likely be tempted to  run:

  • The Hon. Rev. Bishop Senator C. Anthony Muse (District 26).
  • Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III.
  • Either former Delegate and Lt. Gov. Candidate Jolene Ivey (District 47) or Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey. Since they’re married, they’d have to flip a coin.
  • Anne Arundel County Councilman Jamie Benoit.
  • State Senator Victor Ramirez (District 47).

Each of these candidates bring there own strengths, bases and weaknesses to the race.

Senator Muse has a rock solid base in southern Prince George’s County and would be an incredibly dynamic candidate with an inspiring story of homeless to state house. I think he could raise over $300,000 but I’m not sure how much more. However, that doesn’t go far on a congressional race in the DC media market. And his quixotic challenge to Sen. Ben Cardin went nowhere.

County Executive Baker is very popular in Prince George’s County, which makes up two-thirds of MD-04. He would start out the heavy favorite. It would be interesting to see how he departs from his usual donor base of developers who care much less about the next freshman member of Congress than County Executive. However, I think he could raise if not $2 million dollars, close to it.

Jolene Ivey was an incredibly dynamic and impressive running mate for Doug Gansler. She would be an immensely strong candidate and could raise around $1 million. She has a solid base in the 47th Legislative District, which would be completely fractured if both she and the Senator from that district, Victor Ramirez, ran.

Glenn Ivey was a popular prosecutor and an immense political talent. He also has a thick political rolodex stretching from Capitol Hill to Prince George’s to Annapolis and Baltimore. I think he could raise an even million. His short-lived congressional bid in 2012 may hurt him and his wife’s profile is much higher. Likely neither will have Anthony Brown’s support.

Jamie Benoit is a popular County Councilman, a veteran and the Chief Executive of a rapidly growing business. He was heavily recruited by state Democrats to run for Anne Arundel County Executive but bowed out (and retired from the Council) to focus on his business. He also toyed with the idea of running for Congress in MD-04 in 2012. If he could galvanize his base in Anne Arundel County and appeal to white voters in Northern Prince George’s, he might have an outside  shot. But without self funding he wouldn’t have the resources to get his message out–perhaps a quarter million dollars. If he self funded, he could perhaps get that number up to 500k-750k.

Victor Ramirez is a popular and charismatic State Legislator. He is also the undisputed voice of Prince George’s County’s (and perhaps Maryland’s) rapidly exploding Latino population. If he could mobilize that constituency, he’d have an outside shot at winning a plurality victory in this crowded primary.

Rating: Lean Baker

And who knows who else might run? Maybe an Al Wynn comeback bid? Did I miss anyone? Did I miss you? Email johnga.ems@Gmail.com with tips.

 

MD-06 Tea Leaves

If John Delaney left office for unforeseen reasons, it would kick off something Maryland hasn’t seen since 2006: a Democratic primary for an open seat in the US House. In 2012, the battle for the Democratic nomination was a clear fight between State Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola and multimillionaire banker John Delaney. The nuances of the next race are likely to be more subtle. In my estimation, there are three people I am sure would run:

  • State House Majority Leader Kumar Barve (District 17)
  • State Senator Roger Manno (District 19)
  • State Delegate Bill Frick (District 16)

Del. Barve would start out as the clear favorite and would be able to tap into significant sources of funding that might not be available to other candidates: Annapolis economic donors, K Street Economic donors and National Indian American donors. He also represents a larger portion of the District than Sen. Manno or Del. Frick. I believe Del. Barve could raise upwards of $1,500,000-$2,500,000 for this campaign.

Sen. Manno might be able to consolidate the progressive community in general and the labor movement specifically around his candidacy. He has the potential  to raise $400,000-$800,000 for this campaign.

Del. Frick is a highly talented politician and would make a dynamic, attractive (in both senses) congressional candidate. His challenge in his aborted AG Campaign was fundraising. The word on the streets of Annapolis and DC has always been that he lacks the intestinal fortitude for call time.

However, Del. Frick also has an amazing network spanning from B-CC High School to Northwestern University to Harvard Law to a decade at Akin Gump. He could raise substantial sums by tapping into hat network and carve out a constituency by going on Broadcast TV. Del. Frick could raise up to $1,500,000–if he puts in the work.

I’ve also heard rumors that current District 39 Del. Kirill Reznik and former (2006-2010) District 39 Del. Saqib Ali might be interest in throwing their hats in the ring. I think Mr. Ali (who has raised up to a quarter million dollars for his bids for state and local office) would be capable of raising money nationally from the Muslim community. Mr Reznik has an appealing immigrant story that could play well in a Democratic Primary.

I also have heard rumors that Attorney General Doug Gansler could view this as a comeback bid. Doug raised over $6 million dollars in his gubernatorial bid (almost entirely from his personal rolodex). I believe he would be enormously formidable in a congressional bid. Outlook with Gansler in the Race: Lean Gansler. Outlook without Gansler in the race: Lean Barve

Shurberg Represents Niemann

Former District 20 Delegate Candidate Jonathan Shurberg has moved on quickly and is already back in the news. He is representing Del. Doyle Niemann, who was defeated by Deni Taveras by six votes for the Prince George’s District 2 Council seat.

Jonathan’s choice to represent Niemann is interesting in light of  criticism of Niemann’s lack of support for progressive positions on affordable housing in the General Assembly and alliance with anti-LGBT pastors in this hotly contested primary (“Progressive Democrats Turned Bad“).

During his campaign, Jonathan promised to be a leader in the fight for LGBT equality on his walk lit. He also promised to be an advocate for tenants’ rights:

Although renters make up almost half of our community — live here, shop here, and send their children to school here – their needs and interests are not adequately represented. Renters are not currently protected by fair legislation that would stabilize rent increases, protect against unjust evictions and other unfair business practices by landlords, and ensure other rights and resources to make a level playing field in their dealings with landlords and well-financed industry organizations.

I imagine that lawyers, like everyone, need to earn a living and can’t always be picky about their clients. Jonathan just spent at least $240,000 on his delegate campaign.

For more on the District 2 recount and Jonathan’s comments on behalf of his client on the case, read the excellent coverage in the Life and Times of Hyattsville.

Latest on MCDCC Race

This morning’s post mentioned that MCDCC Chair Candidate Kevin Walling is part of a slate with:

Arthur Edmunds, Vice Chair
Wendy Cohen, Secretary
Johntel Greene, Assistant Secretary
Tim Whitehouse, Treasurer
Erin Yeagley, Assistant Treasurer

However, I received an interesting call from one of these people who explained that several of these people are supporting Alan Banov or remaining neutral in advance of tonight’s expected contest for the top spot. While Kevin is asking people to vote for these candidates as well as himself, they did not know about it in advance or necessarily agree to back him.

MCDCC Chair Election Face-Off Tonight

Tonight, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will elect a new chair. Incumbent Chair Gabe Albornoz did not run for reelection, so the office is vacant. One very promising candidate, Almina Khorikawala, narrowly lost reelection, so the contest is shaping up a bit differently than expected.

Two candidates are currently actively seeking to become chair. Kevin Walling was planning to run for the top spot even before Almina did not win reelection (or he had won election to MCDCC). Originally, Kevin launched a campaign for delegate in District 16 but switched to the central committee race. The organizers of the Unity slate dumped another candidate for one of the at-large seats to make room for him.

Kevin will be serving his first term on the MCDCC. In the primary, he came in seventh with 28,695 votes compared to 42,619 for leader Marjorie Goldman and 25,585 for Dave Kunes who came in ninth and missed the last seat.

Kevin is positioned as the candidate of the younger and newer members who were added to the Unity slate after MCGEO and Montgomery County Young Democrats threatened to run and to finance a challenging slate. MCGEO had little success in the election but the restructured MCDCC remains a bright spot.

Kevin is a candidate on an organized slate which also consists of:

Arthur Edmunds, Vice Chair
Wendy Cohen, Secretary
Johntel Greene, Assistant Secretary
Tim Whitehouse, Treasurer
Erin Yeagley, Assistant Treasurer

New members have expressed interest in taking more positions on policy issues, as well as re-energizing the party more generally. However, it was MCDCC’s stand on ballot issues that caused labor unhappiness, so it will be interesting to see how that works out and elected officials feel about it.

Alan Banov, an incumbent fourth-term MCDCC member from District 18, also plans to seek election as Chair. Alan currently serves as chair of MCDCC’s Issues Committee. Alan will inevitably be cast as the voice of experience who knows more about the operations of MCDCC.

Alan first ran for election to MCDCC in 2002 and won one of the at-large seats. He won reelection in 2006 and 2010. In 2014, the organizers of the Unity slate slotted him for one of District 18’s two seats and he won without opposition.

Other candidates could well emerge in this election that resembles the process for filling vacancies in the General Assembly, though it is unclear to me whether candidates need a plurality or a majority to win election. Vacancies require a majority with the bottom candidate eliminated until someone receives a majority.

If only a plurality is required, Banov or Walling could win with a plurality if other candidates emerge or some members abstain from the vote. Members will also need to act strategically if more than two candidates emerge–as could well happen in this very much behind-the-scenes contest.

Progressive Democrats Turned Bad

casa logo
The following is a guest post by Kim Propeack, Director, CASA in Action:

In preparing these thoughts, I think it is important to set out from the top that the 47th District in Prince George’s County has always been politically contentious and I have been a big supporter of the emerging Latino talent in that area. That being said, for a long time I was also a Doyle Niemann supporter. I supported him even though he was first elected on a slate that he put together that placed a notorious anti-immigrant in the House of Delegates for one term. I thought he was, as he proclaimed, a progressive.

Across his twelve years in the House of Delegates, my perception changed. As we worked to expand the paltry protections for tenants (Maryland being famous for having the code most favorable to landlords in the entire country), advocates were always negotiating against a stacked deck with Doyle. In recent years, as chairman of the House Housing and Real Property subcommittee, he negotiated reforms down to such a bare minimum that on many occasions we simply took a pass – what was acceptable to Doyle was simply not worth fighting for in our estimation. And the inside perspective in Annapolis was clear. Apartment owner lobbyists were explicit about the amendment deals they had worked out with him and his campaign finance records reveal a mutually supportive relationship.

When Doyle announced plans to run for County Council, I was very concerned that he may represent an area where affordable housing is perhaps the most critical crisis facing the community. After years of lobbying him, I knew he was not the person I trusted to protect low income residents. But Doyle’s campaign was beyond appalling.

In 2012, CASA de Maryland ran an extensive campaign to educate Latino voters to support marriage equality, including close monitoring of organizing efforts to anti-marriage votes in the community. Generally speaking, anti efforts were quiet. But in our area, one church put out anti-marriage posters in Spanish. That church was Tabernaculo de la Fe on Metzerott Road. When Doyle decided to recruit a Latina to run against Will Campos in the hopes that Will would be distracted from supporting Deni Taveras’ campaign, he recruited Natalie Cabrera. Cabrera works at Tabernaculo de la Fe; her father is the pastor. Purportedly she lived in the church. The day after she filed to run, Doyle late-filed a bond bill to provide funding for Tabernaculo de la Fe. Ultimately Cabrera was thrown off the ballot because she was actually a registered Republican. I remember the beautiful email Doyle sent out when marriage equality was approved so I hoped that his choice was no more sinister than simply not knowing anything about the Latino community in the district he had represented for years.

Amateur Film of Telemundo Commercial Against Deni Taveras
and Dels. Gutiérrez and Peña-Melnyk

But the campaign was not over. In the Post coverage of the election, Doyle acknowledges that his Latino outreach was largely conducted through faith leaders. He is referring to several Latino pastors, including the Pastor of Tabernaculo de la Fe, that have formed a small coalition. I believe it is that group that placed 30 second commercials, sans authority line, on Telemundo. The commercial, aired of course in Spanish, showed photos of Delegates Ana Sol Gutiérrez and Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Senator Victor Ramirez, and Candidate Deni Taveras with a huge cross-out across their pictures because of their support of SB212. The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, as most know, established anti-discrimination protections for the transgender community. The commercial went on to show adult men walking into a bathroom amid screaming semi-nude women. It said, Protect Your Family. And oppose these people who put your family in danger.

On Election Day itself, volunteers from the same group were at the polls in Doyle Niemann tees handing out Doyle Niemann literature. There have been complaints that some of those volunteers brought mini-IPads to show Latino voters copies of the video. Although I have not been able to confirm that myself, I know that Doyle’s morning volunteer at Langley-McCormick Elementary argued with the CASA in Action staffer working that poll that he was there because he has a small child and Deni supported pedophiles going into bathrooms.

Personally, I don’t think Doyle ever had an expectation that he would pick up those voters. I think the goal of these tactics was some misguided sense that Latino votes that would otherwise go to Deni would be suppressed; a big presumption on his part about the nature of the Latino electorate. Doyle, of course, voted for both marriage equality and the Fairness for All Marylanders Act. But that didn’t matter at election time. I was not born yesterday; campaigns get nasty and almost every candidate probably has a moment of shame. But there is a limit to what is acceptable. Destructive tactics during campaigns have long-term consequences for communities. When Tom Perriello voted for the ACA, he said that should he end up a one-term congressman, it was a worthy price to pay for reforming the US healthcare system – an unusually moral stand for a legislator. No one should run unless they are willing to behave with similar dignity.