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Football and Politics are Focus of Fundraiser
Lusby, MD - 7/16/2012
By Marty Madden
Avid Washington Redskins fan Dave “Spiggy” Spigler called on a retired offensive lineman and a well-known Republican stalwart to help out his neighbor. The Saturday, July 14 backyard party at Spigler’s Lusby home was to aid the campaign to elect Anthony J. “Tony” O’Donnell to Congress.
The football player—Ron Saul—and the political figure—former GOP National Committee Chairman Michael Steele—both had essentially the same message—Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District needs new representation.
“Way too long, way too comfortable, out of touch,” said Steele of incumbent Democrat Steny Hoyer. Steele, who was the first African-American elected to statewide office in Maryland, said voters should not let Hoyer’s high standing within the House of Representatives’ Democratic leadership sway them to reelect the incumbent to another term. “This is not about seniority or any of the reasons people give you for electing incumbents,” Steele said. “It’s time for this district to have fresh leadership.”
The former lieutenant governor admitted O’Donnell was the underdog in November’s General Election. “He [O’Donnell] is climbing up a hill with a boulder on his back,” said Steele.
“We are not collectivists,” said O’Donnell, denouncing a political approach often associated with the economic theories of socialism.O’Donnell compared the national Democrats’ recent rhetoric to the anti-American and anti-capitalist comments of the Soviet Union’s leaders during the Cold War.
“This country is in trouble,” said O’Donnell, who cited crafting a national energy policy, reducing regulation, cutting spending, strengthening the military, supporting military veterans and protecting constitutional liberties.
O’Donnell, the current minority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, is considered a strong congressional candidate in Calvert, St. Mary’s and Southern Anne Arundel counties. The Democratic strongholds of Charles and Southern Prince George’s counties are likely to decide the November race.
“We are making a lot of new friends in Prince George’s County,” said O’Donnell, adding that some of his Charles County supporters recently held a fundraiser there.
Steele, who resides in Prince George’s County, said later a respectable showing in Prince George’s could still result in an O’Donnell upset.
“You don’t have to have an outright win in Prince George’s,” said Steele.
When asked if Republicans could receive support in his home county in light of the recent political corruption scandal involving former County Executive Jack B. Johnson, Steele admitted that was a possibility.
“I think the ‘old boys’ way does wear on people,” said Steele. Equally helpful could be ballot questions on congressional redistricting, marriage and the Dream Act. “These issues will resonate for Tony,” said Steele. “He’s championed things that have been beneficial to people in my county.”
Saul, who played for the Redskins during the late 1970s and early 1980s, currently resides in West Virginia. He compared Hoyer to the Mountain State’s political icon, the late Senator Robert Byrd. “He [Byrd] built ‘The Road to Nowhere,’ ” said Saul. “He was in there too long.”
Saul’s fiancé entertained the crowd with an unaccompanied version of “Crazy.” Calvert’s own Rockin’ Elvis, Jim Godbold, also performed for the attendees.
While national political pundits have predicted several hotly contested Congressional races throughout the country, the Hoyer vs. O’Donnell race is not one that is being closely watched. Candidate O’Donnell offered his perspective to the assembled supporters.
“There’s nobody in this country who can’t be beat on Election Day,” O’Donnell said. “We will make national news.”
Contact Marty Madden at email@example.com
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