Thursday, May 26, 2011

Confessions of an Active Eastern Panhandle Republican

Bill Maloney is our party's nominee for governor. After his nomination, I put up some information about him and tried to say some favorable things about his campaign.

I have a few problems though.

As an active Republican, I know Betty Ireland and Clark Barnes. I know Ireland and Barnes to be good and ethical people. They have spoken at our dinners, socialized with us, shared their vision of what this state ought to be waaayyy before they ran for governor. We have been much obliged to these folks over the years for being there for the Republican Party almost any time we asked.

We don't know Bill Maloney. At least not over here.

We did not see much of him here. All I have heard about are the negative ads and backbiting with the Ireland and Barnes campaigns. Fair or unfair, insiders are not happy. Insiders don't decide primary elections, but they do help an awful lot in the general elections. Most of us could not take sides during the primary and actively help our man or woman of choice. But now the question is, can Maloney win the hearts and minds of the party insiders, the ones who do the walking, the talking, the phone calls, and everything else?

Party "insiders" always have a bad name. Images of insiders make you think of smoke filled rooms and machinations to try and get around the honest voters. This isn't the case. "Insiders" are simply folks who devote a lot more time to organizing, fundraising, and other aspects of party and campaign needs. They are usually the same small businessmen, professionals, students, and others that you see every day. And very few of them smoke. They have experience and commitment. These are the people that help make campaigns work. And for Maloney to have a victorious campaign, he must work hard to get as many of them enthusiastically in his corner as possible after a contentious primary. David McKinley had to do the same thing, and he healed wounds very well. Maloney needs to do the same

I want to see a Republican in the governor's mansion. An October victory could start a momentum swing that could help Republicans equal in 2012 their gains in 2010. But I really want to know more about Bill Maloney. The Potomac Highlands has areas which could serve as a strong Republican base. He needs to come here and talk to our active Republicans and tell us his plans, both for the campaign and for his tenure as governor. He needs to smooth over relations with his competitors for the nomination, also. Barnes and Ireland particularly have strong following among the active committee member Republicans whose help will be very important between now and October.

In other words, he has a huge job to do. But we need to see him in person.

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