The Fruits of Victory
By Matthew Foldi
It’s no secret that success begets success. For the first time in far too long, people are paying attention to Maryland Republicans. And especially for us in Montgomery County, it’s great to see the phenomenal crop of candidates we already have in the biggest swing district in Maryland.
As most of us know, Dan Bongino came tantalizingly close to beating first term incumbent John Delaney a couple of months ago, even though it was a district that almost all observers considered impossible for a Republican to win.
We also sent shockwaves throughout the country by scoring the biggest electoral upset in electing Governor Larry Hogan. However, looking closer to home, we also made substantial inroads in Montgomery County.
Although we are still where we were in terms of having no elected Republicans in Montgomery County, many of our stupendous candidates have already gone on to great things. Jim Shalleck is going to be running the County Board of Elections, and Frank Howard, who got the highest percentage of votes out of any Republican running in the county (and an endorsement from The Washington Post) is now almost certainly running for Congress against Delaney this time around (as Ryan Miner first reported).
Howard starts off with the potential to access the countless grassroots supporters that animated Bongino’s two campaigns here, given that he served as Bongino’s campaign manager before leaving to run for State Senate.
Although it would be foolish of us to assume that The Washington Post will endorse whoever ultimately wins the primary to challenge Delaney, the fact th
at Howard won their endorsement should mean that it will be much harder to ignore him in the months to come.
Howard isn’t alone on the GOP side, with Delegate David Vogt of Frederick County having already tossed his hat in the ring. In order to win the district in 2016, we’re going to need a candidate who understands the needs of the large swaths of land that make up the district, running from Western Maryland down to parts of Montgomery County (which actually has three members of Congress representing parts of it due to horrible gerrymandering).
Fortunately for us, the success we had on the state level as well as on the district level should make it easier to attract national attention for this campaign, since it will be impossible for anyone to claim that it’s a “Safe Democratic” district after our performance during the last cycle.
Regarding the other districts that criss-cross Montgomery County, in District 3, Mark Plaster is already running a solid campaign and District 8 is now open for the first time in over a decade, with Chris Van Hollen vacating it to run for U.S. Senate. This is a great opportunity to make inroads in a district before an incumbent becomes entrenched for years to come.
As it is plain to see, the high caliber of candidates who are already getting ready to run (or have already made their intentions official) show us the importance of staying competitive even in races where we aren’t given a chance to win. Keep in mind, Nate Silver only gave Larry Hogan a 6% chance of winning our governor’s election…on Election Day!
Winning is great, and now we have to make sure we keep making progress to end one-party rule in Montgomery County.