Just a couple of weeks ago Maryland’s Governor, Martin O’Malley, stamped his signature on the new congressional district map. A map, that as people often state, looks as if a 2-year-old took a crayon and drew on a piece of paper. The maps, once again, are not boxed in as they should be, but stretch over a few county lines. To be fair to the Democrats who put this map together, this is done all over the country favoring the party in charge of its own state.
Several so-called experts state the GOP will pick up as many as 40 seats in the House of Delegates in 2012 as a result of the new maps. I do not have a crystal ball nor will I predict so far in advance. In the political world things change and who really knows what will happen in the next 12 months?
The Maryland Republican Party naturally is disturbed as Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s district was chopped up on purpose and it appears to favor the Democrat party. Now Congressman Bartlett could pull an upset having name recognition and some money to hold his seat for one or two terms, but many believe a democrat will now win this seat in 2012.
Likely there will be a court battle over the new district maps. However, my words to the Republican Party, while that may or may not work, are that it’s time to get to work.
When Bartlett was first elected, his current district map was not as friendly as it is today. Bartlett worked the district very well and used the map to his favor by being clean and friendly to the people. While I am President of a GOP club in Anne Arundel County, I am nowhere near in charge of the state party. I would stress to the local clubs in the state as well as all the central committees, to get to work.
Go door knocking, seek out Election Day precinct captains for all of your local precincts, hold local district voter awareness meetings, take surveys of what the people want and meet with all of your district leaders as well as candidates to share with them what the voters’ concerns are.
We as Republicans can scream all day long about the Democrats but this will not accomplish anything. I live in Anne Arundel County so I am going to use a local Maryland Legislative District to show as an example of what I mean by get to work:
District 31 is the district that today votes about as red as red can get, however, in the early 1980’s going back for many years, it was blue as could be. Local GOP political enthusiasts and local Republican candidates got busy going to homes, attending local community functions and so on. In the early to mid-1980’s John Leopold was elected to the House of Delegates.
Leopold and others worked as a team in a Fill the Boat Campaign to get a Republican elected in District 31. The plan worked. The party enthusiasts who worked many volunteer hours saw their district change and while some of those enthusiasts passed on, others have stepped in. District 31 in 2010 was won by a large margin on Election Day by Republicans: 3 Delegate seats, 1 State Senate Seat as well as both of the local county council seats that touch Maryland Legislative District 31.
Now the political environment has changed but plans similar to what took place in District 31 should be implemented all over Maryland.
Republican leaders and activists can very well make the difference by doing so. Finding those Republican enthusiast volunteers and putting them on the ground at the right time is key and may very well generate a movement to turn this state’s color from blue to purple and eventually red, even if it will take many years. If no plan is put into place and people are left screaming about the Democrats and crying foul then we will have no one to blame but ourselves.