Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Skeleton Comes out of the Closet, Raises Money for Lierman

Congressman Chris Van Hollen is unquestionably the most popular politician in Montgomery County. Long-time political observers know it did not necessarily have to turn out that way, as the Republican Congresswoman Van Hollen defeated – Connie Morella – was almost taken out two years before Van Hollen’s victory by lobbyist Terry Lierman. But Lierman was crippled by a scandal that is, incredibly, being resurrected today. And the person responsible for reviving it is none other than his son, District 16 Delegate candidate Kyle Lierman.

Connie Morella was once the best of MoCo Republicans – liberal on social issues, moderate on fiscal issues, and unfailingly charming and gracious. She served two terms as a District 16 Delegate before narrowly defeating Stewart Bainum Jr. for Congress in 1986. In the next six elections, she received 60% or more of the vote despite her overwhelmingly Democratic district. But by 2000, the right-ward drift of the GOP leadership was causing Morella problems back home. How could nice Connie be voting for such awful people as Dick Armey and Tom “The Hammer” DeLay?

So Terry Lierman, a lobbyist, businessman and former Congressional staffer, pounced. He reported $400,000 early, ran on bread-and-butter Democratic issues like prescription drug benefits for seniors and gun control and wound up out-spending the incumbent. He even contributed $1.5 million of his own money to his campaign – two-thirds of his total proceeds. But Lierman was undone by revelations in the Washington Post of a $25,000 personal loan he made to Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, who was working on legislation that was favorable to one of Lierman’s clients. Morella defeated Lierman by six points, with many observers remarking on the impact of the scandal on the race.

So what is Jim Moran doing now? He is raising money for Terry Lierman’s son, Kyle, who is running for a District 16 Delegate seat. Check out the solicitation below.

Now let’s be clear: Kyle Lierman was thirteen years old when his father ran against Morella, so he had nothing to do with the Moran incident. But why his campaign would want to invoke any memory of one of the biggest political scandals in MoCo history is baffling. The younger Lierman, who is just twenty-three, is already struggling against the perception that he is a family-created candidate. That is exacerbated by the fact that he lives with his mother, who also happens to be his campaign Treasurer.

So why bring back Moran?