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O'Donnell, Bongino, Fire Up Local GOP
Huntingtown, MD - 5/18/2012
By Marty Madden
The Calvert County Republicans’ 2012 Lincoln/Reagan Day Dinner Thursday, May 17 gave the local members of the Grand Old Party (GOP) a chance to celebrate their impressive resurgence over the past three decades. The event was held at the Huntingtown Volunteer Fire Department banquet hall.
In 1982, Calvert’s Republican Party was shut out in Calvert’s General Election, as Democrats won every single office up for grabs. In the 2010 election, the local GOP virtually turned the tables on their counterparts. The Calvert Democrats were only victorious in the Judge of the Orphans Court race, with two party members elected and the race for circuit court clerk, won by incumbent Democrat Kathy Smith. Register of Wills Margaret Phipps, a Democrat, was unchallenged in her bid for reelection.
After the 1982 election, Calvert’s GOP foot soldiers embarked on an intense campaign to register voters. Calvert Republican Central Committee Chairman Frank McCabe called the results of the 2010 election “real progress” but referred to the 1994 campaign as “a breakthrough year. Calvert now has more registered Republicans than ever before.”
One of the victorious 1994 candidates, Maryland House of Delegates Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell is hoping to leverage his 18 years of legislative experience to unseat Democrat Steny Hoyer in Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District race.
“We want to give Steny Hoyer a nice retirement party,” O’Donnell quipped. He told the audience the race was “very winnable.” O’Donnell said he has recently spoken to crowds in several Prince George’s County towns and has been well-received. ‘We are not going to allow Steny Hoyer to take votes for granted,” O’Donnell said.
He predicted Hoyer, the current U.S. House of Representatives minority whip, will make claims that “he saved Pax River [Patuxent Naval Air Station]. It’s not true.” O’Donnell said the Democratic leadership in Washington, DC is “spending this country into oblivion. We will not have the resources to defend America.”
The Obama Administration, said O’Donnell, is attacking freedom of religion and other rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. “If we allow our Constitution to get trampled on we’re in trouble,” he said.
Obama’s support for same sex marriage also drew O’Donnell’s criticism. “We should be strengthening the institute of marriage,” he declared.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and the General Assembly’s Democratic leadership didn’t escape O’Donnell’s criticism. “We need good government at all levels,” said O’Donnell, who warned the audience the recent tax increases at the state level are just a prelude to additional levies. “They want more and they aren’t done yet. They are going to force our county commissioners to raise taxes.”
O’Donnell left the audience with one question—“why are Democrats raising taxes” in a terrible economy? “Think about that and let’s work together.”
O’Donnell shared the spotlight with Dan Bongino, a former New York City cop and Secret Service agent who is challenging Democrat Ben Cardin in the U.S. Senate race. Bongino, who resides in Severna Park, echoed O’Donnell’s optimism about the November General Election. “Maryland is not a ‘Blue’ state,” Bongino declared. “We’ve won here before and we’ll win again because our ideas win every time.”
Bongino said Democrats have a done an effective job of selling the GOP as a mean-spirited party that promotes “unfairness. They lecture us on fairness,” he said.
In his remarks, Bongino declared his support for school choice and his opposition to O’Malley’s “windmill” energy policy.
Rich Romer, who is coordinating Bongino’s campaign in Southern Maryland, admitted “it won’t be easy” to beat Cardin. He said getting Maryland’s thousands of Independent voters to cast their ballots on Bongino would be crucial in November.
Delegate Mark Fisher, who introduced O’Donnell during the program, indicated the General Assembly’s “attack on small business,” decision to levy a higher tax on six-figure earners and a significant loss in jobs in Maryland over the past five years is reason for the Free State’s voters to back the GOP. “It’s got to stop now,” Fisher said.
The local Republicans honored Judith Randall as its Woman of the Year for 2011. Randall, who organized the Women’s Republican Club of Southern Calvert, is also the coordinator of the local party’s Relay for Life team.
The Republican Man of the Year for 2011 was Cal Steuart of Huntingtown.
“He [Steuart] opens his home to a fundraiser at the drop of a hat,” said Catherine Grasso, the Calvert Republicans’ 2010 Woman of the Year.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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