It’s widely recognized that the last few weeks of an election bring out the true colors of those involved – the good, the bad, the questionable – and Harford County’s 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election has been no exception.
In the last two weeks, we’ve seen candidates call for police back-up during heated political meetings, heard back and forth cries over allegedly phony endorsements, and witnessed more vandalism and improper placement of signs than is possible to track.
Election Day – Tuesday, September 14 – is now just hours away and the political shenanigans are flying fast and furious. If we’ve learned anything from past experiences, hold onto your hat and be prepared for a few more twists and turns, because this ride isn’t over yet.
Ladies and gentlemen of Harford County, we proudly present your would-be representatives:
Route 40 GOP Meltdown
Just when you think the Route 40 Republican Club implosion has reached its nadir, the group reliably comes back by setting a new low.
The latest incident occurred Thursday night during a meeting of the Club’s membership.
Once again, Del. Rick Impallaria was at the center of things, starting the meeting on his own before being called out by another member of the Club. The discussion turned to debate, became a heated argument, led to some implied threats, and prompted Impallaria to allegedly calling 911 for assistance.
Impallaria has not responded to requests for his recollection of the events of Thursday night.
Here is Route 40 Republican Club member Fred Mullis’ side of the story:
2010-09-10 @ 1905 Hours; the Route 40 Republican Club was called to order. The Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance was said. Once this was done I asked Rick Impallaria to address the point of order he had quashed at the last meeting. He said he was not going to allow me to bring the subject up. I told him that according to the by-laws that Roberts Rules of Order were to be used in running the meeting and he could not continue until the subject was resolved. He said he was not going to allow this to happen. I asked him to allow the President of the club, Carol MacCubbin to control the meeting. I said he was not an elected officer and could not take over the club. He then said if I did not stop talking he would remove me from the meeting. I asked if he were personally going to do that and he said no. I said I did not think so. Then he said he would have someone else to remove me. (I thought that our elected officials took and oath to uphold the “Constitution” of which Freedom of speech and assembly was part of the document.)
Out of respect for the speaker I did not press the issue and the program continued. Another member of the club asked Rick when would be a good time to discuss the by-laws and resolve the issues on the table. Rick said he was not going to allow the issues to be discussed until after the elections. Again I asked for point of order. At this time Rick Impallaria called the MD State Police to come and remove me from the meeting.
All the scheduled speakers were allowed to finish their presentations and the regular meeting was resumed. One of the members asked about the endorsements and how this was done in violation of the by-laws of the club. Rick said that this to was not open for discussion. He also said if the member did not like what was done that person did not have to remain a member of the club and maybe there should be another club started.
I then asked for an accounting of the clubs treasury and was given a dollar figure balance of the checkbook. When I asked for a breakdown of how the clubs finances were put together I was told it was being addressed but at this time no one knew how the report was made up. I asked for a paid membership list; I was advised it was in flux. It too was being worked on at the time. They do not have that information available.
The meeting was not going to Rick’s liking so he adjourned without a motion to adjournment.
During the meeting the MD State Police did arrive at the location but was told by someone in the lobby there was not a problem and they left.
The Route 40 Republican Club, Inc. is very important to the Republican Party of Harford County; we the members just need to get it back to the core Republican values. I believe we can grow the club and it will thrive. There are conservatives who need to be able to express themselves and enjoy the fellowship of like minded people. We just need to take back that which has been high jacked.
God Bless Our Troops and First Responders on this day of remembrance of 9-11.
God Bless America.
Fred A. Mullis
Dion and the Democrats
The following letter was sent to Councilman Dion Guthrie (Democrat/District A) by Wendy Sawyer, chair of the Democratic Central Committee. A copy was provided to The Dagger:
I was extremely disappointed in your unprofessional behavior toward me at the Edgewood Community Council meeting last night. I came to the meeting because I am a 35-year resident of Edgewood and have the same concerns you and others do. I have known you for many years and have spoken with you many times about Edgewood issues. For many reasons which I will not list in this letter, I chose to support John Henkel for District A in this election. That is my right as a citizen and I expected to be treated with respect by you as my current Councilman any event. I overestimated you.
When I got to the meeting I said hello and tried to ask you a question. After getting 3 words out of my mouth you turned and said “I only speak to my supporters”. I have supported you in the past and I even opened my home to you for a fundraiser during the last election. I believe I deserved the courtesy to finish my question. After the meeting I approached you again and reminded you that you are still my councilman as of this minute and that you have a responsibility to talk to constituents when approached. At that point you became quite abusive toward me, yelling (a little too close to my face for comfort) “What do you want?” You screamed it at least 3 or 4 times, each time more hateful and out of control. I question whether you would have done that to a man. You were abusive and completely out of line. Several people came up to me after the meeting – they were shocked at your unprofessional behavior.
I believe I am due an apology from you – your constituents deserve your respect. My right to vote my conscience is not something that should be threatened by you or anyone else. We have a lot of people fighting real wars for my right to do just that. Please respect their efforts as well and stop acting like the Council seat for District A is your entitlement. You have to earn it like everyone else, and this time around your behavior has indicated to me that you have forgotten that.
Ehrlich/Woods Endorsement Flap
Did former governor Bob Ehrlich endorse County Councilman Joe Woods (Republican/District B)?
It seems like a pretty straight-forward question, but looks can be deceiving.
I was alerted to this situation two weeks ago with a phone call from someone who claimed Woods was using the Ehrlich endorsement on his website, signs, and campaign literature when, in fact, Ehrlich had never endorsed him.
Woods says he has the endorsement, pointing to photos of Ehrlich wearing a Woods button and indicating he and Councilman Jim McMahan were the only incumbents on the council to receive Ehrlich’s endorsement. Woods sent out a flyer this week flaunting the endorsement.
Republican challenger Derek Howell’s team says no such endorsement was made and they have conversations with Ehrlich staffers to back it up.
Deeply embedded insiders (yes, they exist and I’ve spoken with them) seem to split the difference. One says he was there when Ehrlich made the endorsement and asserts the confusion stemmed from the mixed up date associated with the Ehrlich photo on Woods’ website (listing the September 1 date of the appearance as 1-9-10 rather than 9-1-10). Another says Woods may have garnered Ehrlich’s SUPPORT, but may not have received an official ENDORSEMENT (as the former governor would have more to lose than gain by making an endorsement during a Republican Primary Election).
Perhaps wisely, no one from the Ehrlich team has responded to inquiries or stepped forward to clear up this issue.
And when those who claimed they have spoken with the Ehrlich camp directly on the issue and got a definitive answer were contacted and pressed for details, I got threatened with legal action. Go figure.
Sign Language: Guthrie vs Henkel
The following email exchange took place this week between councilman Dion Guthrie and his Democratic Primary Election challenger John Henkel. It’s fairly self-explanatory. A copy was provided to The Dagger:
Dion – this will now be the second notice that, once again, you or your ‘committee of 40 people’ have placed your campaign signs on my personal private property without permission. Forgetting the fact that we’re opponents, this practice of placing signs without homeowner permission is particularly troubling. While I would certainly hope that you did not have a hand in this decision, I’m starting to second guess.
As your constituent, I would appreciate your prompt attention in dealing with this matter.
Harford County Council – District A
Serving Joppa, Joppatowne and Edgewood
Do not know who is doing that, I guess it is somebody to get to both of us. Beleave me, it is the very last place I want a sign.
I’m not sure I follow your ‘someone trying to get to both of us’ theory. I mean, no one has placed my campaign signs in your front yard, have they? Regardless, I hope we don’t have to have this conversation again.
Harford County Council – District A
Serving Joppa, Joppatowne and Edgewood
It Was in The Dagger, So It Must Be True
District 34 Democratic senate candidate Art Helton released a new campaign mailer last week. On one side, incumbent Republican District 34 Sen. Nancy Jacobs is bashed via a fake newspaper Letters to the Editor section. On the reverse side, Helton takes on his Primary Election opponent Rovall Washington by printing a series of “truths” about his Edgewood challenger.
Truth Three is of particular interest to us, as it’s comment posted on The Dagger by Tina Wells, CEO Buzz Marketing Group, on June 15.
Politicians Against Bullying
The following email about District 34 Democratic senate candidate Rovall Washington was provided to The Dagger by Jansen Robinson, a candidate in the District A Board of Education race:
While campaigning in Edgewood today, we spoke with a parent of a Havre de Grace Middle School School who told us that even though school has just started, her daughter has been the victim of bullying by students at the school. The parent asked what could she do because her daughter did not want to go to school. Rovall, who will be campaigning in Havre de Grace on tomorrow offered to walk her daughter to class on tomorrow and the parent gladly accepted. So tomorrow morning at 8:00 Am Rovall Washington (who just happens to be a State Senate candidate) will be escorting this Middle School Student to class.
When the parent informed her daughter, she was absolutely delighted. This is just one of many concerns that we have heard while campaigning. It appears that the public is looking for more from their elected officials than what they have been receiving.
Time’s Running Out
Have any late political shenanigans to report?
Do so here and let Harford County voters know before they head to the polls.