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As Long as We Remember...

July 13, 2012

GOP Front-Runner

Roy Meachum

The odds-on favorite to grab the Maryland 2014 Republican gubernatorial spot has strong ties to Frederick County; his father lives here. I don’t mean State Sen. Ron Young, but former Prince George’s County Executive and Congressman Larry Hogan.


His eldest son and namesake staked out the turf early. The younger Larry Hogan started his campaign for governor in September three years ago. His ChangeMaryland lists on Facebook his many interviews, appearances and varied activities. He was working hard on the state scene before Blaine Young formed an exploratory committee this spring, assessing the county commissioner/Yellow Cab owner/radio talk host’s chances of moving into State House.


In two columns, I discouraged the young man that I’ve known since he was a child: “No, Blaine, No” (March 20, 2012) and “Blaine Said ‘Yes Indeed’” (May 29, 2012). These current thoughts were triggered by a major Frederick News-Post story this week about ChangeMaryland that praises Mr. Hogan, for pointing out the major taxpayers that have exited the state. In addition, there are signs and indications that Mr. Young’s local constituency fled to ex-Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s onetime appointments secretary.


The thought occurs while writing that maybe Frederick’s wondrous golden-boy may be aiming for the second spot on the 2014 ticket. His father, as mayor, tried very hard to persuade William Donald Schaefer to put him on as lieutenant governor. Cast out of City Hall by voters for Paul Gordon, in 1989, Ron Young settled down as state senator only two years ago.


Maybe that example explains why Blaine Young declared he’ll never run for re-election. He declined to seek a second term as city alderman, and switched to the GOP, leaving behind his dad’s party. Unchanged Ron Young plows along as a liberal Democrat, as far as social issues are concerned. Like his Western Maryland constituency, he’s reluctant to spend money.


In any event, the younger Young has the well-paid profession to fall back on. As radio talk show host, he can well be said to capture the community’s extremist mood; he helped to form the local Tea Party, getting way ahead of the political fashion. What he hasn’t done is attract the attention of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, a necessity for running on a Maryland Republican slate.


Larry Hogan struck first. The same ChangeMaryland report that provided the basis for the News-Post’s article sparked reaction from Annapolis and the governor. Certainly the exit of heavy taxpayers means much to the state’s precarious economic position; all over the country public revenues are falling short. This week three new California cities have declared bankruptcy. Well outside of parties’ GOP and Democratic partisan in-fighting, the world – together with this nation – must deal with crisis and crises.


In this financial atmosphere, Frederick County can surely understand the dilemma: between Winchester Hall, Yellow Cab and his WFMD radio show, Blaine Young is fighting to find time. Meanwhile his rival for the GOP gubernatorial nomination tends to a very successful Annapolis real-estate company with lots of help, including his family’s. Furthermore, Larry Hogan inherits a political structure from his erstwhile boss, Robert Ehrlich.


Beyond the county’s border it has never appeared easy for the local favorite son, which is essentially why I write this third column.



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