It was the coolest Tawes Crab feast in memory. The political-social event of the summer in Crisfield on the Lower Eastern Shore is usually a scorcher in the 90s, but Wednesday was in the low 80s with cool breezes off the bay and low humidity at least at the outset.
There was a peculiar lack of candidates this year. One legal beagle who oft attended suggested it was due to the June 24 primary, which decimated the field and kept the defeated candidates mostly away, though there a few did show up.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, was originally due to attend after a morning unity breakfast in Greenbelt, but a funeral kept him away. That left Republican nominee Larry Hogan and running mate Boyd Rutherford with their entourage to roam freely, but they had none of the marauding intensity of the Brown-Ulman brigade.
Reporters who cover the event spread over acres of tarmac often gather a basket of quotes and string them together in a coherent story line that masks the incoherence of the eating and socializing facilitated by steamed crabs, fried clams, boiled corn and a pint of warming beer — or diet Coke.
So rather than invent a plot for a large party made up of some people who know each other and lots who don’t, Here is a photo gallery from the event, with most people identified and others you may recognize in the background.
New this year was a high flying flag and the Star-Spangled Banner , celebrating its 200th birthday in September, played on a trumpet by a man on the distant platform..
Discussing their impending retirement from public office, Harford County Executive David Craig, left, who just lost the Republican race for governor, with Del. Johnny Wood, D-St. Mary’s, leaving under his own steam after 28 years in the House.
Bipartisan: Sen. Barry Glassman, R, running for Harford County executive, greets Sen. Joan Carter-Conway, chair of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.
Republican nominee for governor Larry Hogan talks politics with Melinda Roeder of WBFF Fox 45. The guy in the blue T-shirt with the minicam is Jeff Moring, the tracker from the Brown-Ulman campaign, who tries to record Hogan’s every public utterance, as he did with Attorney General Doug Gansler during the Democratic primary race.
From left: Consultant Bob McKinney, former Senate Finance Chair Tommy Bromwell and Bob Infussi of Campaign On. Bromwell returned last year from a six-year involuntary commitment to a federal long-term stay facility, but jokingly tells people he was undercover fighting the Taliban in Pakistan.
Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair Brian Frosh, left, who recently won the Democratic nomination for attorney general, talks with retiring Del. Rudy Cane of the mid-Shore,right, and Ray Suarez, a Crisfield native who has long worked for the Teachers Association of Baltimore County.
Same old equation: Big Crowd + Women’s Bathroom = Long Line
Start them young, says Republican delegate candidate Mary Beth Carozza, in light blue, from District 38C on the Eastern Shore with her crew of volunteers.
Del. Jeannie Haddaway, left, who recently lost a bid for lieutenant governor with David Craig (photo above), talks to Scott Hancock, executive director of the Maryland Municipal League, as former Del. Jim Ports hugs Del. Addie Eckardt, who won a Republican primary race against Sen. Rich Colburn.
Lobbyist Bruce Bereano shares a laugh with Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who faces no opponent in the fall. Bereano’s tent was bigger than ever at the Tawes event, with tables reserved for dozens of legislators and room for 500+ overall. A busload of purple=shirted Conway volunteers occupied at least four tables.
House Ways & Means Chair Sheila Hixson, left, talks to Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eschbach with an aide.
These signs at the back of the Democratic Party tent next to the dock of the Summers Cove Marina were all that many people saw of some of these candidates.
GOP chairs, past and present: Diana Waterman, current chair of the Maryland Republican Party, left, with Audrey Scott, former chair, former planning secretary and last Republican ever to serve on the Prince George’s County Council, 1994-2002.
Comptroller Peter Franchot, left, talks with Del. Johnny Olszewski Jr., running for Senate in District 6, the Dundalk-Essex area, and former Del. Cheryl Kagan, running for Senate in Montgomery County District 17, the Gaithersburg-Rockville area.
Michael Sanderson, left, executive director of the Maryland Association of Counties, talks to Del. Steve Arentz, a former Queen Anne’s County commissioner.
No Anthony Brown or Ken Ulman, but there were workers and surrogates, including Del. Guy Guzzone, second from left, and Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt, far right.
The end: Maryland’s official dessert, the multi-layered Smith Island cake.
Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of MarylandReporter.com and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board
He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009.
He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.