Seventh State is right about Montgomery County Republicans

Seventh State blogger David Lublin published a piece yesterday eviscerating Montgomery County’s Republican Party. Lublin highlighted Donald Trump’s rampant unpopularity in our County and pointed to the local GOP’s inability to field quality candidates for County offices.

To date, zero Montgomery County Republicans have filed paperwork with the State Board of Elections to run for an at-large seat on Montgomery County’s Council. One Republican has filed to run for the vacant District 1 Council seat; two Republicans have filed to run in District 2, and Robin Ficker is, so far, the only Republican running for county executive.

Lublin correctly pointed out in his piece that “no Republican has won election to any local or state legislative office in Montgomery County since 2002.”

And for good reason.

Montgomery County’s Republican Party isn’t exactly functioning at peak efficiency. The Central Committee is rife with internal strife, fissuring into two prevailing factions: really crazy and slightly less crazy.

One faction of Montgomery County’s deflated GOP is led by the hardcore Always Trumpers – the hardcore Trump supporters – while the other faction, who may be slightly less enthused about Trump but is nonetheless supportive, would be considered the establishment Republicans – if that’s what you wish to call them at this point.

The local Republican Party in Montgomery County, to be fair, has some decent people involved who work exceedingly hard to advance policy issues for which I am passionate. But knowing the Party’s apparatus as well as I do, my honest opinion is that the reason why local Republicans fail so miserably in Montgomery County elections is that it surrounds itself with too many true weirdos.

If I sound cruel, I apologize; I am just being honest, nonetheless.

Scroll through the social media accounts of some of the MoCo Republican activists and you’ll find anti-gay screeds (marginal types who refer to LGBTQ activists as the “Gaystapo”), chemtrails conspiracy theories, borderline racist comments, anti-immigrant outbursts, outlandish attacks against Council members, and other disgusting and hateful rhetoric spewed at our elected officials.

And the disorganization…

Take last night for example. The Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on a minimum wage bill, inviting County residents to offer public testimony. County Republicans had an opportunity to stand united against a minimum wage bill and speak out in droves. Not even one member of Montgomery County’s Republican Central Committee spoke last night. Not one.

In January 2016, Montgomery County’s Republican Party hosted a CD-6 Republican candidate forum at a hotel in Gaithersburg. The MCGOP banner was hung on the wall behind the candidates with blue masking tape by the event’s chief organizer. Not to be nitpicky, but the GOP forum was hastily arranged and poorly executed.

This year, however, Montgomery County’s GOP smartened up and elected a new finance chair – former congressional candidate Amie Hoeber – who, in turn, arranged one of the most successful Lincoln-Reagan Day dinners in years. The Party actually broke even, I believe, and made some kind of profit.

Hoeber, who I know well, is a potential 2018 congressional candidate, and one of the very best candidates the Party could support.

Of the Republicans currently running at the County level, who could actually win?

Only 1, I think.

I don’t know District 1 candidate Richard Banach, but I do know Ed Amatetti exceptionally well, and he is running a winning campaign.

The other filed District 2 Republican spends most of his time haranguing Council members on Twitter and blocking dissenting opinion on his social media accounts. Not to mention, Amatetti’s only Republican opponent is openly bashing public financing, a popular reform that most Montgomery County candidates have opted to use for the first time, including Amatetti himself.

While Lublin articulated and critiqued Robin Ficker’s many peccadillos – and there are many – voters will be reminded in the upcoming election that Ficker, every ten years or so, manages to find success in his ballot initiatives. I think it’s fair to presume at this point, though, that the Democrat who emerges from the county executive primary will succeed Ike Leggett as Montgomery County’s next executive.

Political advice isn’t always my strong suit, but Montgomery County’s Republican Party should consider the following:

  • Focus most, if not all, grassroots efforts on driving Larry Hogan’s numbers above 40% in the gubernatorial election.
  • While no Montgomery County Republican will win an at-large seat this cycle, the local GOP should throw its resources into supporting Ed Amatetti in District 2. Amatetti’s Republican opponent is a non-starter and has virtually no chance to win a general election against a Democrat.
  • The more the Party shows its support for Donald Trump, the less it will be taken seriously.

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