About a quarter of the way into my favorite piece of weekly journalism, Larry Carson's Political Notebook, I see this quote from Larry's go-to-political consultant Donald F. Norris in regard to Trent Kittleman's fund-raising numbers:
In addition, the lack of big contributors from Howard's wealthy Republicans might be a telling measure of Ulman's popularity. "You would think as wealthy as Howard County is and as rich as Republicans in the western county are, they would fall all over her with money."
I've noted previously that we don't receive much polling attention in this state. When we do have a poll, it is normally of about five Howard Countians with brown shoes that have thought about the election in the past eleven hours. That said, I believe the "rich Western HoCo Republican$" are becoming an urban myth of sorts for our County. There has developed an almost "if you build it, they will come" mindset that I don't think has a fully sound factual basis.
There are rich folks in Western Howard County. You can tell that by the big houses, nice cars, and other indications of luxurious living. Dr. Norris's quote requires three follow up assumptions:
1) These are available fundraising dollars for a County Executive Candidate (i.e., Richie Rich gives a flying hoot as to who gets the nicest office in the new County Building)
2) These are Republican dollars.
3) The failure to recover these mythical Republican dollars indicates a failure of the candidacy.
As for the first, I really don't think these people care about much more in local government than where little Archibald will be going to school. I won't do a full run down, but if you look at Ken's max out donors ($4,000), you will see that at least half of those donors (if not more) are from outside of the County, and even outside the state. They certainly aren't all from "Western Howard County." (I'm not going to do a full digest of Executive Ulman's numbers for fear that it would be similar to diving into Uncle Scrooge's Swimming Pool. Maybe an idea for one of Dr. Norris's students?)
Second, what numbers suggest that these are available Republican dollars? Sure, Western Maryland votes Republican, but as someone who grew up out there, I think you need to check your gauges on the wealth situation, Dr. Norris. We have a lot of mighty proud salt-of-the-earth people (that uppity city slickers may call "Red Necks") out in Western Howard that work hard, pay their bills, take care of their family, play fair, and expect everyone else to do the same. They also may sub-out van seats for patio furniture and spend their weekends hunting for jerky substances, but that makes them all the more fun. I love these folks and consider many to be my friends, but I wouldn't consider them "Rich Western Howard County Republican$." They know who their council person is, and follow the news on property taxes, which is the most significant rising cost in their budget. THOSE are your Western Howard County Republicans.
The Western Howard County Wealth? Now that is a different story. I have a hard time concluding that because there are wealthy families in Western Howard, they vote Republican. The whole idea of Wealth = Republican has been debunked about eight times over, which is why I am so taken aback by an authority such as Dr. Norris dropping that quote without any support. Bottom line: "Western Howard County votes Republican. Western Howard County is rich. Western Howard County consists of Rich Republicans" does not hold water in my book.
Finally, as noted above, we can't prove that these "Wealthy Republicans" even exist YET we can conclude that Trent's failure to collect that money means a failure as a candidate? Surely, candidates must raise money. The failure to raise money is a troubling sign. BUT the failure to raise mythical money? I don't think that is fair.