From Christopher Boardman:
After I filed as a candidate for the Harford County president, someone remarked that I would run for any position and for any party because the only thing I was interested in was getting elected to something. As a lifelong Democrat, I did indeed accept the Harford County Republicans’ invitation to run as their District A candidate in 1986. I have worked in many campaigns and organizations in other states inn previous years and frankly after I moved to Harford County in the 1970s, I was disappointed in the Democratic Party in Harford County and with some of the aspects of the party in the state. Republicans such as Barry Glassman complain that they are shut out of most processes in Annapolis, which is true. Overall the Democratic Party is a benign oligarchy that continues to reward the same people over and over again. Just look at the congressional districts in this state and you will see classic examples of gerrymandering. Just in the last election Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett was gerrymandered out of a seat he held for 20 years in western Maryland. Maybe it was time for him to retire anyway, but as a congressional candidate myself I could see have crazily arranged the districts are.
The Harford County Republicans knew I was more liberal than most of them, but when they recruited me they were trying to remake the county and were looking for new candidates. At the time Helen Bentley was aggressively campaigning and shaking up the establishment. While there were some things I could never agree with her about, I did admire her efforts to re-do local politics. As a Republican candidate I saw the Republicans actively supported one another, canvassed neighborhoods and worked hard together. They steadily increased voter registrations and eventually signed up more Republican voters than Democrats. For years the Democrats held big registration edges over the Republicans and before the Republican surge there were Democrats elected to legislative offices in the northern part of the county, what is District 35.
Democrats never took the hints and reformed their procedures. Little to nothing has changed about the Democratic Party in Harford County during the last 30 to 40 years, even though they have lost their majorities and many if not most of the elections. No Democrat except Sheriff Jesse Bane has been elected countywide for years, since Eileen Rehrmann was county executive. Yet Sheriff Bane is testimony that a Democrat can still be elected in Harford County, if the candidate does the right things. There is only a registration difference of a few thousand voters between Republicans and Democrats., and a good campaign by a Democratic candidate can attract enough votes to win.
I have worked in a lot of political campaigns, when I grew up in Wisconsin and also lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia I worked on a number of campaigns in ward organizations. There I learned a lot about effective politics.
The main difference between Philadelphia and Maryland Democrats is that Maryland Democrats don’t have effective ward organizations. In Harford County the power of the Democrats derives from the fact that their strength came from their connections to Annapolis. While I give credit to perennial candidates such as Art Helton for organizing door-to-door canvasses on behalf of himself or someone he is supporting, he and others in the old guard of the party have been resistant to suggestions that they model county and statewide politics more closely to what they do in Philadelphia and other parts of Pennsylvania. They should be doing something differently but they won’t change anything about what they are doing. Democratic politics in Harford are stale.
In Maryland there are election precincts but there are no precinct organizations. In Philadelphia there are two committee persons elected in each precinct for each political party. The committee people elected then become part of the ward organization. Each ward then elects its own leadership, and the leaders of the wards form the city committee or it could be a county committee in another part of the state. The advantages to this kind of organization are that voter registration and constituent service are taken care of by the committee persons. And on election day the committee persons work on ensuring a good turnout, by encouraging and helping voters get to the polls. In a large city such as Philadelphia with two million persons this is a good way run political affairs, and another example of an effective political machine is Chicago. In Harford County even in Districts such as 34 the turnout of Democrats is often so pathetic that Republicans do better at generating the votes than Democrats, and the Democrats lose the elections even though they hold the edge in registration.
With precinct committee elections, challengers can gain a foothold in the political system by running. This also includes registering voters in their neighborhoods and making phone calls to increase turnout. The precinct elections themselves help to get the other work in the precincts done such as registration and turnout, which benefits the party generally.
I have tried to reason with the slow learners in the party how to fix this problem, by establishing precinct organizations, but they continue to be resistant, both in the county and statewide. About two or three years ago I had a discussion with Jim Thornton, who at the time was president of the Helton-dominated New Harford Democratic Club. I told him that the club needed to work on these problems, and he asked me to prepare some materials on how to have the club pursue these goals. What eventually needs to happen is that the Maryland legislature has to pass a law authorizing precinct elections for committee persons from the political parties, but in the interim it was something the New (Old) Democratic Club could work on. Much to my disappointment, Jim received my materials but he never acknowledged receiving them and apparently on the orders of the Heltons, the idea was killed. It’s pretty much that unless the idea was theirs to begin with, they wouldn’t favor it. The old concept of “rule or ruin.”
This is an unfortunate situation because not only is Democratic turnout in elections diminished; there are a number of precincts that aren’t even getting voters registered. For a candidate such as Jim Thornton who is an African American running in the primary election as my opponent for the Democratic nomination for county council president, he would benefit greatly from increased registration and turnout in predominantly black precincts, but he is not going to get a lot of that support. He is in effect relying on the old Democratic organization which may or may not be adequate. In a close contest Democrats won’t be able to pull out the additional votes to win the race.
As a candidate myself, I hope to have some influence in getting the system changed to where it can be more effective. I am an outsider to both political parties but I have worked with citizens from both parties (and third parties) and will continue to do so.
democrats smell like poop says
Why don’t you move to PG County.
We don’t need anymore demturds in Harford County.
You already have PG, Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore City.
You can keep you toll increases, global warming, bag tax, welfare, in state tuition for illegals, nsa spying, 3.8 trillion in spending in 6 years and $4 gallon gasoline.
Haven’t you idiots done enough damage.
Mr. Orange says
Don’t forget about how it will be illegal to feed Deer – Newest idea from Montgomery county, would this mean you need a hunting license to feed deer?
Mr. Orange says
Sorry – Here’s the link; http://www.times-news.com/obituaries/x1708329283/Only-hunters-could-bait-deer
Five Iron says
I would like to know why you think this is a bad idea? Deer are overpopulated in this state, cause a great deal of damage to crops (and vehicles). I don’t need suburbanites feeding these pests and increasing their numbers while we pay taxes to have them sterilized/moved/special shoots. Let hunters do the natural act, placing corn and salt licks and taking the meat for themselves. It’s not like we are running out of deer.
Mr. Orange says
How will this be enforced in your suburban neighborhoods? If a Deer eats bird seed for the birds, is that feeding the Deer? If Deer eat a farmers crops, is that feeding the deer?
How about we look into some of the Hunting Regulations right now and see if we can “tweak” them to get the Deer population down?
louis f. haber says
YOU ARE RIGHT ABOUT” ART HELTON” HE HAS DONE MORE HARM TO THE DEMOCRATIC PART , THEN GOOD. ITS TIME FOR HIM TO REALIZE THAT HIS TIME IS GONE AND HE SHOULD MOVE ON WITH HIS” LIFE TIME OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS”, WHATEVER THAT MEANS IN THE POLITICAL WORLD. HELL , I EVEN VOTED FOR HIM WHEN HE RAN AGAINST HARKINS, HE WAS THE BETTER OF TWO” BAD CHOICES,” AND HE STILL COULD NOT ……. WIN.
George Willbury says
Democrats lose in HarCo for one reason only – the Democratic base does not vote at the same rate as does the Republican base. Democratic turnout in gubernatorial elections is often less than 60%, while Republican turnout approaches 70%. If Democrats turned out like Republicans, this county would be very different.
Mr. Boardman – comparing Harford County with Philadelphia is not practical – our county is structurally different enough from a city that such organization is not practical. That being said this level of organization can be set by the candidates; if you want precinct captains – get out there, recruit volunteers, and ask them to be organize precincts. But you will be unable to do this. Why? Because nobody in the Democratic Party has seen you in years. Did you volunteer for President Obama or Governor O’Malley? Did you use those campaigns to outreach to like-minded voters that would help you in a campaign? I doubt it. I was proud to volunteer for President Obama in 2008 and 2012; I never once saw you at a volunteer event; no door knocking, phone calling, or mailing. You are all talk Mr. Boardman, and it is sad that you have decided to challenge a strong candidate that is working hard for the people of Harford County rather than using your skills to develop the party organization you speak of…
Boot Bane says
Bane is testimony that any liberal minded fool can get elected by selling himself and the integrity of the office for votes. As sleepy union president Visnaw about the great deal he got to swing people in Bane’s direction. In case he doesn’t answer, instead of being fired, he got to keep his already cushy job and trade up for an even better job. To top that, in 2010 Bane kept a campaign contributor and thief on the payroll until after the election in order to secure a second term. People have his number now and if he is your shining example, you better sit back for a painful 2014. Might be a complete republican sweep!!!!
Christopher Boardman says
Mr. Willbury, you can attack me until the cows come home since I am not one of the Democrats whom you love. You miss the point completely. Of course candidates have their own organizations. But your own words belie yourself. When the candidate’s campaign is completed (usually with a loss), there’s nothing left because there is no permanent structure in place. You state, “comparing Harford County with Philadelphia is not practical…out county is structurally different…” blah blah blah. What is so different? The only thing that is different is that you old Democrats are set in your ways from those in Philadelphia and you won’t change anything even after you fail again, again and again. Believe it or not, Philadelphia was run by Republicans 100 years ago. Now they have a really good Democratic mayor and it’s been Democratic for a long time. I had this discussion with Jim Thornton as I already stated, and if he didn’t accept my ideas, I guess that’s okay but he didn’t do anything else either. He did nothing and he says nothing. He’s not interested in reforming anything or he would already have done something. Now it is too late for him to even help himself in this year’s election because the can keeps getting kicked down the road. You mention that you haven’t seen me volunteering recently; but some of us are sick of your and Mr. Helton’s exercises in futility every election cycle, because as you can clearly see the voter registration and turnout problems haven’t been addressed at all and probably won’t be, though I do hold out hope Russ Kovachs and others on the central committee will see the light and work for the structural changes that need to be made. But is Jim Thornton a reformer? I don’t think so. I don’t even think he thinks there’s a problem that needs to be corrected. And where has he been all of these years? Organizing disorganized precincts? Of course not. Now he’s the party’s new savior? I wish him well but I don’t think so.
Then you say it is sad I don’t use my skills to develop the party organization I speak of. That’s exactly what I have been doing, George, but Harford Democrats don’t listen and they don’t change. I cannot change the law myself. That requires people to act together. Maybe this discussion will help but I am skeptical: Show me that Democrats can think and act differently and more effectively and I might believe in you. I would love to be proven wrong but so far I haven’t been given anything to hold on to.
George Willbury says
I will tell you one thing for sure; using some of the words and tone you have displayed above in this comment when addressing a Democratic primary voter will help neither your campaign nor the party.
Mr. Blue says
Philadelphia, what a shit hole.
“another example of an effective political machine is Chicago”……..you say “effective”, I say “corrupt”.
But then again, as “proud Obama supporter” I’m sure everything looks better through rose-colored glasses.
Christopher, you seem very skilled at finger pointing and blaming the problem on everyone else. You should do well in politics.
Mr. Blue says
I heard if I like my health care plan, I could keep it.
Lifelong Harco Democrat says
Couple of points,
First, I am a lifelong Harford County resident and a registered Democrat. BUT, I have never voted for any Democrat for anything with the exception of Jesse Bane. Why am I registered Democrat? Because in the liberal Hell that is Maryland I cannot have any voice in anything statewide as a Republican! I know that I am not alone in being registered one way and voting another. The point being, that while I may be registration as a democrat I won’t be helping to advance the race to the bottom that the Democratic Party is intent on. What you are seeing as apathy on the part of Democrats in Harford County is more likely the fact that most of them are DINO’s like me. We are content to let the real Democrats flounder about wondering why they are so close to a majority yet cannot seem to gain local support for their misguided attempts to ruin the country by penalizing success and pandering to societies leeches with never ending “wealth transfer” schemes and good ideas that everyone else has to pay for.
Regarding Bane, I have and will continue to vote for him based upon the job he is doing. He seems like a decent man doing the best he can with what he’s got. None of his challengers have advanced any concrete plans to make anything better with regards to the Sheriff’s Department; all I’ve seen is immature unsubstantiated whining about how bad Bane is. The office of Sheriff seems pretty non-partisan to me and as long as Bane keeps it that way I’ll vote for him regardless of his affiliation.
Boot Bane says
Regarding Bane, the only thing non-partisan about him is that he says he is non-partisan. His actions and spineless stand on nothing all say screaming liberal, but he trusts there will be enough fools to listen to him without looking. Welcome to the club, you are properly registered.
Proud Harford Dem says
Chris Boardman, it sounds like you and the so-called Lifelong Harco Dem are like two peas in a pod, so let me enlighten you.
After you unsuccessfully tried to unseat Dutch Ruppersburger, you made several posts on this same website about how the Democrats could not get their act together after they had failed t file candidates for four county-wide offices and four of the seven council seats. This year, they seemed to have improved by fielding Democrats for just about all of those seats and avoiding a lot of unnecessary primaries.
If you really wanted to help the Democrats in Harford County, then you would run to challenge James Reilly for Clerk of the Court or Derek Hopkins for Register of Wills instead of a well-qualified candidate like Jim Thornton for Council President.
Since you are a hypocrite who won’t listen to your own words, I might suggest that the only thing you should run for is Planet Fitness.
Not A Dumb Democrat! says
Did it ever occur to you that Harford county is a little smarter than the dumb Democrats that are just waiting for another government handout from O’malley or Obama. A better approach would be to limit voters to those who paid taxes. This business of taking from those who are willing to work for a living and giving to those who get a better deal for themselves by not working is a poor incentive for making government to work as a better place to work and live. Give it a try. Maybe one day you can see the light!
Five Iron says
No, a better option would be mandatory voting requirements and a fine if you don’t. Oh and a removal of lobbyists/developers and their “gifts” to either side. Everybody pays taxes if they buy anything so are they supposed to not be part of the electoral process? Lose your job, lose your vote? No thanks.
Go back to Wisconsin
Otto Schmidlap says
Get a clue. Democrats lose practically every countywide election in Maryland save for Montgomery, PG and frequently Howard and Baltimore County. You seem to be suggesting Harford is an outlier.
Christopher Boardman says
For those of you who are good at insulting others but don’t contribute anything to the conversation, you are being ignored because your remarks are not worthy of comment.
There is a saying, Republicans win elections because they spend more money; Democrats win elections because they out-organize the Republicans. Since the Republicans in Harford County are both spending more money and out-organizing the Democrats, what do you think the result is?
Now you can run around on election day or before and canvass yourselves to death, but if you’re not organizing yourselves smartly, then you’re going to continue to lose. You can blame me all you want for running for this office and not running for another office, but at the end of the day you have to look at whether your organizing tactics are effective and are producing the desired results. How many more years of prolonged losing are you going to tolerate before you fix up your act? And by the way, whether I am from Wisconsin or whether you dislike Philadelphia or Chicago doesn’t matter either; if the precinct organization in Harford County is still lacking; Democrats will continue to lose elections.
Christopher Boardman says
Someone commented that I should be running for clerk of the court or register of wills where currently no Democratic candidates have filed . I also got a phone call from a prominent Democratic Central Committee member who suggested I should instead be running for House of Delegates District 7 because in its new configuration it has a majority of Democrats. What this person did not know is that the Democratic gerrymanderers hiding in dark offices in Annapolis had drawn the districting map down the middle of the street that I live on so that the even side was in District 7, while the odd side that I live on is in District 34. It might have been a good idea to run in District 7 because over 3,000 area residents recently signed a petition to save the Joppatowne pool, an effort I was involved in 20 years ago, and many of them would surely have voted for me were if I were in District 7. What the gerrymanderers and the cunning little political operatives associated with them did not know was that I was going to run for county council president. Surely they would have a little more trouble declaring my house outside of the county. Of course this sounds like a conspiracy theory on my part and it may be a simple coincidence that the political boundary was drawn just so that this happened accidentally, but I don’t believe it was an accident.
Now, I cannot run for three offices, council president, register of wills and clerk of the court all at the same time. The Democrats have to find some other candidates. Why aren’t they stepping forward? I think I know why. A lot of people don’t want to run for an office with a political party that is not doing a good job organizing its own base; it would be a wasted effort. So register of wills and clerk of the court may remain uncontested barring some late filing by someone. The other reason is that candidates don’t want to be associated with a party dominated by the political chicanery of Art Helton. The stories of Helton’s corruption of Democratic politics in Harford County are too numerous to recount here, but they are a reality which keeps the party from accomplishing much.
Now, let’s talk about Chicago and Philadelphia, the cities that some posting in this discussion like to sneer at. I’ll grant there are things about the cities that aren’t so great, that’s true of any large city including Baltimore. But….and this is a big but…(no pun intended), those cities produced large majorities in the last two presidential elections that enabled the Democrats to win both Pennsylvania and Illinois for Barack Obama. Without their patient, methodical precinct organizations producing the Democratic votes in those cities, the electoral votes would probably have gone to Obama’s opponents, and we would likely have either John McCain or Mitt Romney in the White House at this time. That’s something the Tea Party congressmen and women are unhappy about.
As for Maryland, thanks to the big Democratic subdivisions, Obama won easily in this state and so did O’Malley. But not much thanks is due to Harford Democrats. You can’t even elect local office-holders in areas where your registration is greater than the Republicans. That’s what I have been pointing out, not that some of you will ever get the point.
It should also interest you that I am also filing as a candidate for the Democratic Central Committee; I can do this and still run for council president. So, you can look forward to that too.
All of this excellent political advice is offered to you at no charge. Surely a political consultant would have to be paid handsomely to tell you these same truths, but I am doing it for you freely because I do care what happens to the Democratic Party in Harford County.
What kind of Precinct Organizing in Philadelphia produced voter fraud and not one single vote for Mr. Romney in the last Presidential election, several with OVER 100% voter turnout? No wonder Obama won in Pennsylvania…….now look what we are stuck with!
George Willbury says
Boardman will not win the Council President primary, there is little concern about being stuck with him…
Little Bill says
Do whatever it takes low information voters to cast their vote right?
Who fart? And the hell does it smell like chedder?
George Willbury says
Wow, excellent political advice, free of charge? Not conceited at all, are we?
Phil Dirt says
“After I filed as a candidate for the Harford County president, …”
Holy crap! The guy now wants to be the President of Harford County!
Who dat says
Cheese Meal says
Who dat, that’s the reason we still have tactical nuclear weapons. Looks like Meadowoods Edgewood USA
Sounds like their entire vocabulary consisted of 6 or 7 words…………
Bill Cosby is right!
Impressive. A candidate for a non-existent political office (Harford County president….is that like running for Junior Class President?) arguing with anonymous posters on The Dagger.
Let me fire up the microwave and get some popcorn ready.