Harford County Executive David Craig fits a specific niche in the 2014 Republican Primary for Governor. He has been billed as “the adult in the room,” trying to show successful governance of a medium sized county while utilizing common sense solutions that don’t stray too much to the right to be considered a “wing nut” but not a tax and spend liberal by any stretch of the imagination (and those that imagine it haven’t spent enough time in Annapolis or a Democratically controlled County to appreciate it).
Prostitute-hiring Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young is going after the hard right, although describing himself as a “good ol’ boy”, he might have some difficulty getting the more libertarian minded Republicans’ votes. Larry Hogan, a former Ehrlich Administration would be the most likely face of establishment Republicans, while also cementing his status as the anti-O’Malley (even though O’Malley will not be on the ballot in 2014). And that leaves David Craig with a little bit of room to capitalize on.
But the maturity angle, and being the adult, didn’t seem to be on display when he was interviewed by the Daily Record a few weeks ago about his plans for running for Governor. Instead he decided to lash out at his Republican delegation to Annapolis saying “I probably will not send any state legislation over [this session]. My state delegation is totally inept. They are totally fearful of doing things… As soon as one member of my House of Delegates takes a stand on something, the other says, ‘Well I’m not going to do it, because he’s opposed to it, or he’s in favor of it,’ or whatever.”
Lashing out at the delegation doesn’t quite seem like the adult in the room anymore to me. And it shows he’s not able to do the heavy lifting required to do legislating in Annapolis as Governor where the personalities are much bigger than Rick Impallaria and Pat McDonough (ok, they’re probably the same size ego but the Democrats down there actually have power). The Ehrlich years should have taught everybody that the challenge in Annapolis is dealing with the legislature, and voters were extremely turned off by the constant fighting and bickering between the two parties (sound like any other races?).
Under normal situations, you would expect the County Executive to have the backing of his local Republican elected officials when he makes the leap forward to try to be Governor, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. I guess one of them must have stood up behind Larry Hogan and now the others are too fearful to do anything else. Hogan was popular in Annapolis to the Republicans, it was his job to give jobs to politically connected people, as outlined by the legislative hearings that the Democrats called him in front of.
I know it must be really depressing to be a Republican looking at the General Election races in Maryland and seeing the sweeping victories for the Democrats. That’s why the idea of having a General Election nominee where the race will center on a candidate that admittedly hired prostitutes or a candidate that was at the center of a $100,000 settlement for wrongful termination would leave many in the Republican Party longing for an “adult in the room”.
But I guess we will still be longing while Craig goes on another junket to Las Vegas.