Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rushern Baker on the Spot, Part Two

Meet Eric S. Wargotz. He is a doctor from Queenstown, a passionate conservative and an elected Republican office holder in Queen Anne’s County. And if a group called “Republicans for Rushern” was ever established, Wargotz would likely be its President.

In the final days of his 2002 primary race for Prince George’s County Executive, then-Delegate Rushern Baker began tapping supporters for loans. Two loans came in from “E.S. Wargotz P.A.” of Queenstown, MD: one for $10,000 on 8/2/02, and another for $10,000 on 8/9/02. These were not the only funds connected to “Wargotz” of Queenstown collected by Baker. The Wargotz Group Inc. donated $1,000 to Baker on 7/30/01. E.S. Wargotz donated $1,000 to Baker on 4/16/02. And Cheryl-Ann M.L. Wargotz gave $200 to Baker on 9/16/05. The latter three contributors were all based at the same residential address in Queenstown. All are connected to Eric Wargotz.

Wargotz was elected as a County Commissioner in Queen Anne’s County in 2006. His biography describes him as, “a physician-businessman managing several medical businesses. He served as a Laboratory Medical Director for 17 years responsible for administering and managing a busy hospital department including operating and capital budgets, management team and employees totaling over 100 at times, and scrutinizing department and hospital activities to ensure proper utilization of resources. He currently serves as an independent consultant and contractor in that field.”

Wargotz’s contribution record suggests that he may have been politically moderate in 2002, the year in which most of his donations to Baker were made. In addition to Baker, Wargotz contributed $300 to the Queen Anne’s County Democratic Central Committee and $1,000 to Democratic governor candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, both in 2002, and gave $200 to Steny Hoyer in 1997. But Wargotz later took a turn to the right. Most of his recent contributions have gone to Republicans, including $1,000 to Senator Andy Harris (R-7) in 2004 and $6,655 to the Republican State Central Committee of Maryland between 2004 and 2009. However, Wargotz did not forget Rushern Baker as his wife, Cheryl-Ann, contributed $200 to Baker in 2005, a year in which Baker was gearing up for his second County Executive race.

These days, Wargotz is best known as a GOP challenger to U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. His issue statement begins with this:

What is Conservatism to me? What kind of Conservative am I?

I am an ardent Fiscal Conservative. I stand for Low Taxes; Adherence to the Constitution; Less Government; Law & Order; Government Transparency & Accountability; Second Amendment rights; Cultural Diversity with No Bias (so-called "colorblindness); Strong Military & Protect our National Security: we must not appease terrorists. Traditional American Values - including Personal Responsibility, Love of Our Country. Energy independence is paramount as the lack of it is a threat to our National Secuirity, our way of life, our peace and prosperity. As Social Conservatives, we must respect God and preserve Life. I am a physician by profession and always will be; being conservative is how I live my life and represent the principles I promote; I am an independent-minded Republican.

I admire President Ronald Reagan for many things but particularly, his principled conservatism. We need that today. Yes, I am a Patriot.
Additionally, Wargotz knocked doors in Massachusetts for GOP upset Senate winner Scott Brown, telling Red Maryland, “The Brown race is a game breaker; it changes races such as Wargotz vs. Mikulski in Maryland.” Wargotz has a lot in common with Senator Andy Harris (R-7), another conservative doctor/politician with a lot of desire to move up. One difference is that Harris has not made a habit of contributing tens of thousands of dollars to Prince George’s County Democrats.

Of course, all of this leads to an obvious question: why has an Eastern Shore Republican activist, county elected official and U.S. Senate candidate given $22,200 to Rushern Baker?

As curious as the Baker-Wargotz relationship may be, it is not the most interesting revelation from Baker’s campaign finance records. We’ll have more in Part Three.