Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Big Daddy’s New Slate

Senate President Mike “Big Daddy” Miller has long used slates to spread money around the Free State. His objectives are to protect vulnerable Democratic incumbents, knock out weak Republicans and compete for open seats. Normally, candidate account transfers to other accounts cannot exceed a maximum of $6,000, but candidates participating in slate accounts can transfer and receive unlimited sums. Big Daddy’s newest slate reveals – if only in partial terms – who is paying and who is to be protected.

The Maryland Democratic Senatorial Committee Slate was established on 1/13/10, the cutoff for the January reporting period. That date is not coincidental as the slate did not have to report its receipts or expenditures until today (August 17). Here is its membership.

Ed Kasemeyer is the Senate Majority Leader. Brian Frosh, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee, and Rob Garagiola, Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, are MoCo’s two biggest Senate fundraisers. Garagiola’s job as caucus chair is to help Miller preserve and increase the Democrats’ majority. Mac Middleton is the Senate Finance Committee Chair. Frosh, Garagiola and Middleton are all rumored to be potential successors to Miller. Kathy Klausmeier is a Baltimore County Senator who could have been expected to draw a credible Republican challenger back in January. (We do not think that district will pan out for the GOP.) And Nancy King is being challenged by Saqib Ali, Big Daddy’s least favorite Delegate.

Conspicuously absent from the slate are Budget and Taxation Chair Ulysses Currie, whose still-unresolved ethical scandal taints his money, and the other three MoCo Senators who are challenged by sitting Delegates: Jennie Forehand, Mike Lenett and Rona Kramer. We believe that Miller sees Lenett and Kramer as being able to take care of themselves, while Forehand will receive significant help only if she runs a vigorous campaign. (It may be a little late for that.)

With Klausmeier out of danger, the only remaining purpose of this slate – assuming it does not change its membership – is to protect Nancy King. The combined resources of Miller, Kasemeyer, Frosh, Garagiola and Middleton will easily exceed any money Ali can raise. Big Daddy would much rather use his war chest to thwart Republicans. As a matter of fact, the GOP should rejoice at every dollar this slate account expends on Democratic primaries. But regardless of that fact, the timing and membership of the slate says one thing loud and clear.

Mike Miller will do whatever must be done to keep Saqib Ali out of his chamber.