In the summer of 2013, former Bush Administration official Chuck Floyd launched Conservative Victory PAC with a strictly defined goal of increasing Republican numbers in the Maryland General Assembly. With 7 more Senators and a few more Delegates, the Maryland GOP could exert quite a bit of influence despite still being in the minority. A flashy video and a campaign plan set the stage at the PAC’s launch party in Potomac, MD.
Conservative Victory PAC will work to increase Republican numbers in the Maryland General Assembly by first…going to Virginia to help elect Ken Cuccinelli as Governor???
Of course, questions to Floyd were asked immediately. “Why are we financing Virginia’s elections? They can take care of themselves. We need to keep Maryland donor money in Maryland!” (I agree.)
Conservative Victory PAC’s line of reasoning was that they wanted to do two things in Virginia to supposedly benefit Maryland. First, they wanted to hold fundraisers in Virginia in 2013 to build a donor list that they could use to help finance Maryland races in 2014. Second, they hoped that a show of commitment from Maryland donors and activists for Virginia Republicans would necessitate Virginia Republicans repaying the favor by sending donations and activists to Maryland in 2014.
Both points are interrelated so I will address them as one. These ideas are utterly laughable.
I have worked in Virginia politics. There is a waterfall of utter disdain and contempt from Virginia Republicans toward the great State of Maryland. The constant barrage of negativity from Virginia Republicans against Maryland makes a proud Marylander with tons of Maryland friends and fun times in the state want to cut his wrists.
I have had countless conversations with Virginia activists over the years and have heard more stump speeches from Virginia politicians mentioning Maryland than I care to recount. What do Virginia Republicans truly wish for Maryland? Virginia Republicans want Maryland to die so that they can siphon away all of Maryland’s Republican voters to shore up their own at-risk Congressional seat in the 10th District, to quixotically have a shot at defeating Gerry Connolly in the 11th District, and to try to retake the statewide offices. That is what Virginia Republicans truly want to happen to Maryland.
Even if Conservative Victory PAC provided the needed resources that were a determining factor to put Ken Cuccinelli over the top in 2013, Virginia Republicans were never going to repay the favor. They have their own Congressional races and U.S. Senate race to consume their time in 2014.
Was there a hidden motivation for Conservative Victory PAC’s foray into Virginia in 2013? Could the fact that two of its board members – Lynne Blankenship and Chris Melling – live and work in Virginia have anything to do with this misguided foray into Virginia by a supposedly Maryland-focused PAC? (Trojan Horse alert!)
Also, Conservative Victory PAC has been noticeably absent from the Maryland General Assembly races in 2014, contrary to their stated commitment to such races exclusively back in 2013.
With no outside help and no reinforcements from the RNC, the Maryland GOP has continued to make strides in the right direction in recent years at the local level where it counts the most. There is a healthy and growing farm team of Republicans in Maryland and Maryland did not need Virginia’s help to make that happen.
Give credit to the Democratic Party. The Democrats truly care about all 50 states and will stand their ground to fight for their values in every state, even against insurmountable odds. “Moving” is not in the Democratic vocabulary. I know. I spent a large chunk of my political life working with Texas Democrats.
Republicans, curiously despite being advocates of “stand your ground laws”, have a penchant to flee their home states at the first implementation of liberal government policies. That is not a recipe for long term party growth. Republicans will never see national electoral success on the level with Democrats in the modern era if they continually write off California, New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, DC, and Maryland as “lost causes”. Democrats are fighting tirelessly in Texas as Republicans retreat from Democratic states. It is game over for the Republicans if Democrats succeed in flipping Texas in the next ten years.
This is why it is important for Republicans in Democratic states to recruit, equip, and elevate homegrown talent. People who have a longstanding, emotional connection to their home state (and folks like me who will relocate to Maryland in due time!) will be most fit to serve in a disadvantageous political climate. One of the best decisions the Maryland GOP has made in recent years was to start hiring in-state. In-state talent inside the Maryland GOP headquarters has proven to be more loyal, effective, and passionate than the out-of-state hired guns of the past who viewed Maryland as a stepping stone at best for their political careers. Maryland is a neglected and ignored neighbor in the RNC’s own backyard. This actually provides us with the prime opportunity to set an example on how to build a state party free from the RNC’s interference and cronyism.
I believe that each state’s politics generally exist as an independent unit largely unaffected by the political winds of neighboring states. All politics are local after all. It is true that Virginia is less liberal than Maryland. However, that does not mean that should the Republican Party in Virginia establish total dominance in the Commonwealth, that it would create a “rising tide that lifts all boats”.
In the alternative, if state politics are interrelated in some form or fashion, the following would be true. A Democratic Virginia would help build a more Republican Maryland. It would actually be in the best interests of Maryland Republicans to NOT help Virginia and let Virginia succumb to Democratic dominance. With no strong Republican neighbors, the RNC would have no choice but to be fair to all neighboring states with its time and money earmarked for local support. If Virginia was a solidly Democratic state, Republicans relocating to Washington for work would find Maryland more attractive and settle there. Some would plant roots and even register to vote as Republicans in Maryland. A Democratic Virginia will help build a Republican Maryland.
In the interim, let Virginia be the Washington GOP Establishment’s damsel in distress. As we speak, RNC and RPV efforts to hold Republican seats have become much tougher as known Republicans have moved out of Virginia since Terry McAuliffe’s election and as reports indicate that most new residents in Virginia in recent years are Democratic.
Maryland Republicans should be fully committed and invested in their home state. Focus on Maryland and Maryland alone. There is progress being made and if done properly, Maryland could be a true two-party state in ten years while Virginia becomes a solidly Democratic state.
Virginia – sell high. Maryland – buy low.