Charles Lollar invited bloggers in for pizza to tell them why he wasn’t actually running for governor, but very well might be in a month. The reason: the Pentagon made him do it.
Meeting at state Republican headquarters, Lollar was attempting to explain why there was still a Draft Charles Lollar for Governor campaign committee, chaired by Karen Winterling of Howard County, raising money and arranging for speaking engagements.
Lollar, 42, had run for Congress against House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer in 2010, and contemplated a race for governor four years ago when he found out he hadn’t been a registered voter in Maryland long enough.
For the past two and half years, Lollar has been a full-time active duty intelligence officer as a Marine Corps major working at the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon. “I cannot campaign,” Lollar said, forbidden by Defense Department rules from being a partisan candidate.
When his tour is up in about a month, the restrictions will be lifted.
Everything but a candidate
Lollar has been everything but a candidate, heading a political action committee called New Day Maryland, speaking at Second Amendment and anti-tax rallies, and generally advocating lower taxes and smaller government.
“You can’t solve our educational issues with more and more dollars,” Lollar said, dismissing the notion that Maryland schools are #1. He favors lower state spending, but said he can’t say specifically what he would cut. He favors a taxpayer bill of rights. “I don’t want to just balance the budget,” Lollar said. “I want to send refund checks.”
He opposes the “rain tax” –stormwater fees — imposed because of a federal mandate to clean up the bay, and he wants to see lower energy costs.
Lollar has been an executive of the Cintas uniform company as well a member of the Marine reserves, but he’s never held public office, unlike other Republicans running for governor. “It puts me at an advantage over David Craig,” the Harford County executive who’s been a senator, delegate and small town mayor, he said.
“We currently have breed of full-time politicians,” said Lollar. “I’m very proud of my lack of political experience.” But he said he has the leadership skills to do the job.
Announcement in a month
Lollar expects his active duty tour to be over in about a month, at which time he’ll make an announcement about his plans.
Why not just wait till then to talk about a race he can’t yet mount? “I don’t want to wait till the last minute,” Lollar said, especially with other candidates actively campaigning.
Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, now an MSNBC commentator, is exploring a run for governor. Is there room for two black Republican conservatives?
“That would be absolutely fabulous,” he said. “Many in the African American community are very frustrated” with the current direction of Democratic policies.