By Ryan Miner
About sixty people and all eight Republican candidates running in Maryland’s 6th congressional district were present at Garrett College on Saturday morning, April 2, for a Republican debate hosted by the Garrett County Republican Central Committee and moderated by Ruth Umbel and Dr. Thomas Sheahen.
Of the five CD-6 Republican debates held to date, the McHenry gathering would overwhelmingly qualify as the most interesting, and it was undoubtedly the most feisty. The debate moderators questioned the Republican congressional candidates on foreign and domestic policy to include issues ranging from the Iran deal to economic policy. Candidates were also questioned about issues specific to Garrett County.
This was the debate – finally – where Robin Ficker was put in his place by the universally beloved and respected Ruth Umbel, a longtime Garrett County Republican activist and businesswoman who volunteered to co-moderate Saturday’s debatepalooza. Umbel firmly directed Ficker to remain in his seat, emphatically reiterating that the debate rules must be followed to maintain order. Ficker acquiesced to Umbel’s directive and begrudgingly agreed to obey the rules of the debate.
Saturday’s congressional debate proved most interesting in that the majority of the candidates, including Christopher Mason, Harold Painter, Terry Baker, Amie Hoeber, David Vogt and Frank Howard, came ready to combat Robin Ficker’s asinine heckles. When Ficker launched attack after attack, the other Republican candidates responded proportionally, halting Ficker from hijacking the debate, steering the proverbial ship back to substance and policy. The candidates had enough of Ficker this go-around and they did not allow him to bully his way through yet another congressional debate. Not this time, and maybe never again.
This was also the debate where Ficker’s unbridled hypocrisy was exposed: he was the only candidate to pledge NOT to support the eventual Republican victor in the 6th Congressional District; meanwhile, Ficker doubled down on his onslaught against the CD-6 candidates who commit the mortal sin of failing to mention his chosen candidate – Donald Trump. All Republican CD-6 candidates have committed to support the eventual Republican nominee – all except Robin Ficker.
The entire Garrett County debate can be seen below. The video is segmented into five parts, including opening and closing statements.
Part 1: Foreign Policy and National Security
Part 2: Domestic Policy
Part 3: Domestic Policy
Part 4: Garrett County questions
Part 5: Audience questions