Commentary on Politics
By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LEONARDTOWN, MD. — Who would have thought that it makes good sense in a GOP primary to have Good Old Boy Democrat Del. Johnny Wood make an endorsement of one of the three Republicans competing for their party’s nomination? Or that the same candidate would also trot out former Commissioner Dan Raley, also a Democrat, to endorse him, even after Raley got trounced by Treasurer Jan Norris four years earlier? Raley’s decision to attempt to uproot the popular Norris in a power grab upset women all over St. Mary’s County and Raley left town on election night with his tail between his legs.
Which Republican would have the poor judgment to assemble the stalwarts of the Democrats? Indeed, Wood was recently honored by the Democratic Party at its annual celebration, which really doesn’t have that much to be cheery about, in that the past twenty years Democrats in St. Mary’s have been in serious decline.
Who would pull such boner moves?
Why, Tommy McKay, of course, who has made a career of political missteps.
Upon taking office in 2002 after whipping incumbent Democrat Commissioner President Julie Randall, the star-struck McKay immediately began making his plans as a future Governor of Maryland, with a trip to the Maryland Senate his first stepping stone after defeating Roy Dyson in 2006.
It didn’t work out too well for McKay after ST. MARY’S TODAY newspaper revealed that McKay had fabricated his college degree instead of earning one. Along with revelations that McKay had attempted to set up a Baltimore developer with a sweetheart and secret deal to take over state forest land for a development, McKay was soundly defeated by Dyson in spite of he and his late Daddy having started their own newspaper. McKay begrudgingly blamed ST. MARY’S TODAY for his defeat, though he could have cited his own lack of honesty, his son’s conviction on counterfeiting charges; his own obstruction of justice by hiding the counterfeit money in his desk drawer in his county office; and that oh so special deal with Hackerman.
Dyson, faced with a well-financed election campaign by McKay, abandoned his long-standing refusal to accept PAC money and loaded up with cash from Senator Mike Miller’s Senatorial PAC fund and beat McKay senseless (not too hard to do) with full-color mass mailings showing McKay pushing wheelbarrows full of developer money across parks, forests and fields.
McKay countered the various potholes in his journey to political stardom and did so in his own entertaining way.
Of his son’s counterfeiting rap, which was discovered by the cops when his kid created a bunch of twenty dollar bills on McKay’s own copy machine at home in order to have spending money with local drug dealers — McKay first indignantly declared his son to be as innocent as the new-fallen snow.
That was a job.
Then McKay declared that he only had the counterfeit money in his office “to make it safe in the hands of government”…his own kid’s fake money in his hands, which he didn’t turn it into the police. Had he done so, he would have won sympathy from voters and respect for having done the right thing. Having search warrants issued against the home of the Commissioner President isn’t exactly a new thing in St. Mary’s County history, but it isn’t quite the stuff of good government either.
With the revelation of being a charlatan over his claim to having earned a degree in business administration, it was clear that McKay had simply given the voters the business. He blamed his lie about a degree on a county secretary for placing the fabrication on a county website but he never offered any explanation about how the same claim made it into his campaign material in 2002.
As for the secret deal with the Baltimore developer, well, McKay just demonstrated that arrogant and elitist government such as developer John K. Parlett once proclaimed as a reason for creating the post of county executive — with a benevolent Dictator – was what would be best for St. Mary’s County.
The public should simply trust Tommy “Hambone” McKay as he knew what was best for us.
Several years prior to the 2002 election, James Manning McKay, now deceased, had proclaimed to all who would listen, that his son Tommy had stolen two million dollars from the family and went off to Prince Georges County to open several grocery stores.
By 2002, all was forgiven, but likely not paid back, and the elder McKay was completely supportive of his son’s political campaign.
As the 1998 to 2002 reign of liberal Democrats Julie Randall, Joe Anderson, Tommy Mattingly and Dan Raley, along with Shelby Guazzo, had rankled the voters who wanted to toss them all of office, McKay with the support of ST. MARY’S TODAY, won his only electoral victory.
But it was to be his last, up until this year, should he reverse his fortunes.
In October of last year, Bryan “Puff” Barthelme, son-in-law of developer and long-time Democrat stalwart Sonny Burch, threw his hat into the ring to replace Wood.
Wood was immediately incensed over the idea that the upstart Barthelme would file to run against him but ultimately as Barthelme gained steam, the steamed Wood was running out of steam and decided to derail his plans for re-election.
Unpacking his carpetbags at a newly purchased house in Mechanicsville, Matt Morgan, who moved from Charles County to run against Wood again after a close race in 2010, was furious that Barthelme was running for “his” seat.
Then came McKay a few months ago and dusted off his old campaign signs from his losing campaigns in 2006 and 2010, slapped “Delegate” over “Commissioner President” and began to cook up a campaign, emphasizing his record from 2002 to 2006 as commissioner. McKay never talks about his debacle in 2006 and ignores his 101 Great Ideas theme of his 2010 election, a slogan that didn’t include bothering to actually get a college degree to put an end to his embarrassing lie.
Politics being what it is in St. Mary’s County is a dirty business with a tawdry backdrop, including the current States Attorney having advised and participated in the what the United States Court of Appeals described as an illegal action the night before the 1998 election in which Sheriff Richard Voorhaar and a posse of deputies cleaned out all available copies of ST. MARY’S TODAY from newsstands in order to prevent voters from reading critical articles about them (RE: U. S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit, Rossignol v Voorhaar).
To enhance the chances of either Morgan or McKay and to diminish the chances of Barthelme, a drug arrest from 1972 when he was 20 has been resurrected from the graveyard of old Enterprise newspapers has been circulated to local media outlets.
In order to keep criminal histories of candidates in perspective, it would be hard to ignore the guilty plea of Richard Fritz to having joined two other young men in having carnal knowledge of a minor child. The victim told ABC news that she was raped by Fritz and his pals, that they held her down and took turns. Fritz denied that it was rape and she consented, and the victim asserted it was a case of gang rape. But there is that tricky matter of the guilty plea by Fritz, who indicted his last election opponent.
In 2010, Democrat attorney John Mattingly filed against Fritz and his fellow Republican Sheriff Tim Cameron assigned a squad of detectives to investigate Mattingly on a series of land deals. Over 120 charges were brought against Mattingly and a jury found him not guilty of two dozen charges while a special prosecutor dropped all the rest of the charges. Sheriff Cameron did his duty to Fritz, posed for campaign photos with him, endorsed him but never explains why he has to take local drug investigations to the U. S. Attorney for prosecution.
It’s a sticky wicket in the Walled City of Leonardtown.
Therefore, in one of the few election contests this primary season in St. Mary’s County, McKay, Barthelme and Morgan are now down to the wire.
McKay is an untrustworthy serial election loser. Morgan appears to be petulant and entitled carpetbagger who’s determination to be important in Annapolis guides his future stardom.
Barthelme has a clearly defined campaign platform that he should spend more time reading and memorizing.
In recent days Morgan has taken Barthelme to task for having answered five questions in a questionnaire from the Baltimore Sun that matched some of Governor Martin O’Malley’s stances. Morgan hollered to anyone who would listen that Barthelme is really a liberal. If Barthelme actually agrees with his own platform, he clearly is not a liberal.
But Morgan makes a big deal out of having been endorsed by the Emptyprize, long known as the liberal newspaper in St. Mary’s County, making one wonder what that pack of empty-headed liberals in the Enterprise see in Morgan.
What Morgan failed to understand is that few folks ever read the Baltimore Sun, once Maryland’s dominant newspaper. Those days are gone and Sun set in Southern Maryland about seven years ago. The newspaper’s circulation area shrunk back to the immediate Baltimore metro area and is on shaky ground. Thus, if Barthelme’s answers to the Baltimore Sun questionnaire were less than helpful to his campaign, no one would ever notice.
Were Morgan not a carpetbagger who moved to St. Mary’s County only six months ago, he would know that.
McKay, of course, used his own “Hambone Gazette”, the County Times, to endorse himself. God only knows what the County Times staff would have done had they failed to endorse the boss. They surely would have been out of jobs and have to turn to pumping out twenty dollar bills from the copy machine.
Barthelme has been endorsed by the Baynet, which is owned by Leonardtown attorney Phil Dorsey and Sharon Bell and, in a minority position, by Barthelme. As Barthelme is a champion ad salesman for the Baynet, an endorsement from the website was good for their bottom line as he accounts for most of the revenue for the venture.
As we wind down to the last few days, there are a few silly incidents which show the three Republicans out to be a circular firing squad.
All hell broke loose when the National Rifle Association issued “grades” for the three candidates and Morgan began boasting that he got the highest grade available for a candidate. The difference between the grade given Morgan, McKay and Barthelme was so slight that one has to wonder why any of them would have bothered to mention it.
But a war of words broke out on the Facebook pages of Morgan and Barthelme that made them both look, well, silly.
Their supporters began to weigh in with apologies demanded and counter-charges lobbed back and forth.
Matt Morgan has a track record of supporting ballot initiatives targeting allowing the voters to take on some of the far-left looney legislation passed in Annapolis.
Once such bill to allow perverts to enter women’s restrooms in Montgomery County, a local law affecting only that enclave of political insanity, passed the General Assembly this past session.
Morgan pitched in to help raise the required number of signatures to force the state to let the voters to be able to decide the issue and in doing so went to the Charlotte Hall Public Library to solicit signatures on the petition.
On a busy Saturday morning, Morgan parked his campaign truck in a space at the library. The parking lot serves both the patrons of the library and the crowds that patronize the Farmer’s Market located at the library.
After the staff related to Morgan that his campaign truck was taking up valuable space, instead of relocating his truck to a nearby location, Morgan asserted his right to be parked in the lot.
The uproar also spilled to Morgan’s Facebook page with the library director being forced to keep the peace and noting that later in the day when she was called to the battle front, Morgan’s truck didn’t then appear to be a problem. She didn’t note that the traffic in the Farmers Market and the library had diminished by the time she came on the scene to quell the fight.
The Battle of Charlotte Hall Library was over and Morgan declared himself the victor.
Why he decided to go to war against the Amish farmers and the staff of the library two weeks before the election once again shows a rudimentary lack of understanding the local political dynamics, about what one would expect from a carpetbagger from the North.
The real issue in the north end of St. Mary’s County is that of out-of-control development, infestation of non-native species of garden apartments and bringing Waldorf to Mechanicsville.
A new political action committee funded by various developers is geared towards supporting McKay while Morgan has a legion of Charles County builders who would love to see sewer open up the north end of St. Mary’s County for them to create sprawl and congestion.
To that end, the Blue Crab Conservatives seek to con the voters by pumping money into the election campaigns of Senatorial hopeful Cindy Jones and House of Delegates Candidate Tommy McKay. The Blue Crab Cons have picked up about $18,000 in PAC donations, mostly from Parlett.
Jones suddenly switched her vote two weeks ago and voted with Democrat Jack Russell and liberal Republican Todd Morgan to approve public sewer for Charlotte Hall.
In spite of a well-documented suicide attempt in her first year in office, Cindy Jones may not actually be crazy. The final campaign finance reports will tell the story of why she switched her vote. The money to pay for a mass mailing of an oversize glossy campaign mailer had to come from somewhere.
In any event, Jones will either beat Larry Jarboe for the GOP nomination for State Senate or she will lose. But after December, she won’t have the St. Mary’s County government staff to provide her with free child care for her autistic child who she brings to commissioner meetings with her each week. While she is voting to open up sewer in the north end of the county, she leaves her child by himself in her office with the secretaries tasked to attend to him.
Should Jones be victorious in the primary and go on to beat Roy Dyson in November, she will be able to take her child to work with her in Annapolis. If not, she and her husband will have to figure out some other type of child care service.
WHO WILL MAKE THE BEST CHOICE FOR DELEGATE IN DISTRICT 29A?
When faced with anything remotely standing in his way of electoral success, Morgan appears to “snap”. This is not the attribute the voters should see as being helpful in a candidate for the legislature.
In addition, Morgan really doesn’t know the people or the area which he has adopted. It is often said he is “good with the issues in Annapolis”. If that is so, perhaps he should register as a lobbyist and rent an office in the capital when the General Assembly convenes. Perhaps he would be a successful lobbyist.
As for McKay, after closing three grocery stores in the past few years, there is less need for a high-powered and high-paid grocery store executive and this may be the main motivation for him seeking a job in government. He needs a job and he is willing to take a post where he can act important and no degree is required.
That leaves Barthelme. The wrong Barthelme. The best candidate is Bryan Michael Barthelme Jr., who is running for Republican Central Committee. He is bright, has a degree and has never been arrested or become a counterfeiter. In addition, he has lived in St. Mary’s County all his life. But his father is the one on the ballot for the House of Delegates.
As St. Mary’s County has plenty of great folks who are transplants, most of them tend to live here for a while prior to running for public office.
County Commissioners Frances Eagan, John Lancaster, Julie Randall, Shelby Guazzo, Joe Anderson, Joe O’Dell and Buddy Loffler are among those born elsewhere prior to running for election. But none of them moved here for the sole purpose to run for office. Morgan moved to St. Mary’s County solely to run for office.
“Puff” Barthelme has a solid track record of participation in the community, served stints on various county commissions, is married to a teacher who has worked in the county for 26 years and while the son-in-law of a developer, has views that make it doubtful that his father-in-law will vote for him.
For the GOP primary, for all the reasons cited above, it’s a sure bet that Barthelme won’t be a great public speaker but he will be better than his opponents in the GOP race at representing the best interests of the people instead of serving as the stooge of the developers as either McKay or Morgan will do.
A vote for Bryan “Puff” Barthelme is encouraged in the GOP primary for District 29A in St. Mary’s County, Maryland.
Let Puff do it.
District 29 GOP Senate Primary
The opportunity to retain St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Jarboe in public service is outstanding. Jarboe has truly always picked the public interest over any private interests and has a 16-year track record of supporting education and being fiscally conservative. Being a fiscal conservative is not a tawdry slogan as Cindy Jones has demonstrated. The residents of the northern end of St. Mary’s County ought to be angry and disappointed in Jones voting to open up the north end for development by approving public sewer.
THE CHESAPEAKE has had a long and close political association with Jarboe and he presently serves the publication only as a fishing editor. But as a candidate for State Senator, Jarboe is a keeper the voters should not release from service.