Rascovar: Why Brown could lose race for Maryland governor

Rascovar: Why Brown could lose race for Maryland governor

By Barry Rascovar

For MarylandReporter.com

Is Democratic gubernatorial nominee Anthony Brown about to blow a “sure thing” in Maryland?

On the eve of the first governor’s debate, is the lieutenant governor “pulling a Townsend” similar to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s implosion in the 2002 governor’s race that gift-wrapped the election for Republican underdog Bob Ehrlich?

To date, the answer is “yes.”

The Brown campaign is badly off-track.

In a cocoon

Its professional staff has hermetically sealed their candidate in a tight cocoon, isolating him from the media and all voters except the most loyal Democratic groups.

They’ve picked the wrong issues to run on. Abortion rights and gun control laws are settled matters in Maryland. Even Republican gubernatorial nominee Larry Hogan Jr. agrees on that.

The pocketbook issues will decide this election — or as advisers to Bill Clinton put it in the 1990s, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Big mistake

According to Patrick Gonzales’ latest poll, the most pressing matters for voters — by far — are the economy and taxes. These are precisely the themes heavily promoted by Hogan and ignored by Brown.

That’s a huge mistake, a giant failure to understand what’s troubling Marylanders.

Brown hired national campaign specialists when he should have turned to local pros. While abortion and gun control still might be dominant issues in Kansas or Georgia, they aren’t in Maryland. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

Meanwhile, Brown’s handlers have isolated him from the public at large.

Hiding Brown

While Hogan is happy to talk with reporters, Brown runs from them. He’s shielded from the media by his aides.

His handlers even hide Brown from the public in the campaign’s media messages.

And, oh, those dreadful commercials. Harsh. Negative. Hostile. Incendiary. The sky is falling if you vote for Hogan!

It’s a gigantic turn-off for Maryland voters. This is an intelligent electorate. These folks aren’t fooled by misguided campaign propaganda.

Hogan’s message

Larry Hogan isn’t “dangerous” and he isn’t “radical.” He comes across as a likeable, engaging and gregarious fellow with a simple message — let’s get a handle on excessive government spending and then let’s see if we can lower taxes.

Compare that with the Brown campaign’s near-hysterical messages on abortion and gun laws.

During the 2002 campaign, then Lt. Gov. Townsend seemed to get into trouble every time she opened her mouth. Apparently, Brown’s handlers are worried he’d do the same thing if given a chance.

So they’ve sealed him off from the outside world — except for appearances before adoring Democratic crowds where he delivers a stock speech or reads from a prepared text.

With Brown, there’s no sense of humanity, no sense he’s a flesh-and-blood candidate with emotions and feelings. He comes across as stiff, robotic, programmed and unable to think on his feet or engage voters in ad-lib conversations.

Mystery man

With Brown, there’s no innate connection with voters, particularly in the all-important Baltimore region.

Despite serving eight years as lieutenant governor, Brown remains a mystery man to Metro Baltimore residents. He’s the invisible candidate — never seen, never heard from and never known.

Combine that with his lack of a specific program voters can grasp for fixing the state’s economy and averting future tax increases and you can see why Hogan is running close to Brown in the Gonzales poll. (Brown’s government efficiency proposal announced Sunday contains more empty promises: pie-in-the-sky projected savings, sweeping assumptions and few realistic numbers.)

If Brown is going to re-gain the initiative, he needs to do more than take wild, roundhouse swings at Hogan that aren’t coming close to hitting their target.

Brown needs to deliver positive reasons why he’s the best candidate for governor. So far, he’s been a silent campaigner in TV ads, letting others do the talking for him.

That’s not good enough this year.

Deeply Democratic

By all measures, Brown ought to win easily in November. Maryland is a deeply Democratic state.

But if he continues to come across as arrogant, aloof and unwilling to speak directly to ordinary voters and to the media, Anthony Brown could, indeed, “pull a Townsend.”

He might end up handing the governor’s mansion to Hogan.

Barry Rascovar’s blog is www.politicalmaryland.com. He can be reached at brascovar@hotmail.com.



  1. flogbog

    The taxes in Maryland are brutal. They even tax the water that falls from the sky. Let’s get someone in here who can fix things.

  2. Danielle

    Where is the article? I just see the picture and the comments.

  3. Charlie

    I voted with my feet last year. Sold my house in Baltimore County and mover to PA! If Brown gets elected (Sure he will) Maryland is gone!

    • Charlie


      • RickinBmore

        You do realize that we liberals are EAGER to see FEWER Tea Party whack jobs in Maryland, right? By saying that you will leave if we continue to press our progressive agenda is not going to stop us. It only makes us more committed to the cause! Saying you would actually STAY would be what we DON’T want to hear!

  4. Juan Motime

    Oh man, you poor folks. I voted with my feet several years ago and left MD in the dust behind me. I live in a nice conservative state now with low taxes and common sense gun laws. Good luck everyone. You are going to need it. Maryland seems to get worse by the day.

    • RickinBmore

      Doin’ fine since you left, Rosco. Low taxes and lotsa guns must be fun when your IQ is down around 42. Yee-haw!

    • RJ

      You didn’t vote with your feet. You just left. Too many good people leaving and making my vote count less and less!

      • RickinBmore

        Absolutely! That’s what I love! More whack-a-doodles leave for those cultural paradises of York County, PA and Charleston, West Virginia, and it just dilutes the power of the few wingnuts who remain. So, please Red Staters, LEAVE MD! You will be happier where the taxes are low and the guns are plentiful.

  5. Muzzi

    The only one qualified to be Governor is Ken Ullman. Is he going to give Anthony
    on the job training?? Anthony thinks he is “entitled” to this job, just like Kathleen.
    Anthony cannot even speak like a professional executive. He was a soldier, but, he is not Dwight D. Eisenhower.
    Larry Hogan was the Appointments Secretary for Bob Ehrlich. He is the one that fired government workers from their jobs because of their political parties. Isn’t that
    an invasion of privacy?
    He fired an Engineer from an Engineering job because he was a Democrat. He
    hired his replacement, (a man who wasn’t an Engineer) for the Engineering job
    because he was a Republican! What does that tell you about Larry Hogan?

    • RickinBmore

      Well, I’ll say BOTH Ken and Anthony are qualified to be Governor. But your point about Hogan’s abysmal turn as Appointments Secretary is well founded. He was Ehrlich’s hit man, ferreting out Democrats and cutting them loose in an orgy of politically motivated cronyism. No worries, though. Loser Larry can get back to selling real estate once the election is over………

    • Moderateman

      I think I might need 3 valid sources for that one.

  6. RickinBmore

    Just priceless. Hogan will lose and lose big. Strange how conservatives like Rascovar and gadflies like Dan Rodericks knock Brown while the Democratic machine in this state just keeps chugging along. There will be no repeat of 2002. Unlike KKT, Brown obliterated two very well-funded Dems in his primary election (KKT almost lost to an unknown) and has picked a very popular young progressive as his running mate (anyone remember KKT’s old, white, conservative running mate?) Core Dems are eager to elect Maryland’s first African-American Governor. Is Brown perfect? Of course not. But compared to a second-tier Ehrlich flunky (The lowly Appointments Secretary, for Chrissakes!) who has never been elected to anything in his life, Brown will do nicely. My guess? Brown – 57%; Hogan – 43%.

    • David Brian Sheets

      Rick your another out of touch democratic idiot why don’t u go away and collect your free. Check from the State as I’m sure u don’t work for a living

      • RickinBmore

        “Collect my free”? You are another right-wing, tea party moron with a poor command of English. By the way, I make 6 figures a year. What’s in your wallet, genius?

        • Craig

          Well, I’m not another right-wing, tea party moron with a poor command of English. And I think you’re dead wrong, coming from a fellow Democrat with two Ivy degrees who earns a whole lot more than you do. If ever there was an election for Democrats to jump ship, this is the one. The hubris of putting up this candidate blows my mind. I think they actually believe they deserve to win with Brown. I thought Massachusetts was idiotic with Coakley, but Brown takes the cake.

    • mikemarkham

      Same type of idiocy as our neighbor “state” of DC. Continue to vote Marion Barry.

    • camoss

      I thought Brown’s mother is Swiss and his father Jamaican. That hardly qualifies him as African-American.

    • Craig

      “Hogan will lose and lose big.”
      “My guess? Brown – 57%; Hogan – 43%”
      HA! Would you like some wine to wash down the taste of your foot, Mr Guevara? Brown lost by 6 points, dude. SIX POINTS!!!
      I’ll just drink the wine to celebrate. 🙂

  7. Adorable Deplorables

    Marylanders have a right to know if Brown’s mismanagement of the Obamacare website (and waste of $90M) was the result of incompetence or cronyism.

  8. Kdiity

    And if Hogan wins, he’ll get about as far as Erlich did when he was Governor …….. nowhere !!!

    • Jlloyd

      Also if hogan wins the democrats will demand a recount and they’ll count up all names of deceased voters until brown wins.

    • RickinBmore

      No worries. Hogan will lose. And lose BIG. But your point is well taken. Thank God for Mike Busch and Mike Miller in Annapolis. They would gut any right-wing idiocy that would come from a Hogan administration. So, either way, Democrats have little to fear.

      • Kdiity

        I wouldn’t be a democrat if my life depended on it. You’re all pathetic POS losers. But we have a snowballs chance in hell of winning any statewide race in the socialist people’s republic of MD.

  9. Kdiity

    If brown does lose, wait for the liberal racist to be coming out of the woodwork. I so hope it happens, it will be pathetic entertainment to say the least !!

  10. MD observer

    Brown’s choice of Ken Ulman indicates he (Brown) recognizes
    his hapless performance on health exchange IT implementation. That hot potato would fall into Ulman’s lap on day 1.

    I’ve not heard anybody mention one big flaw with Hogan’s (and Brown’s) purported budget cuts. They fail to account for significant adverse effects of the O’Malley budgeting legerdemain which would materially offset resources available for the state’s needs in the new governor’s term.

  11. Michael B

    Mr. Brown may be a great military leader, but he is in no way, shape, or form a great politician or political mind. He’s taken lessons from the absolute worst we’ve had in Martin O’Malley. It’s actually a great thing that he’s remaining silent on nearly every issue. The benefit is going right to Mr. Hogan who is the only one who appears to have a clue in this race. Larry Hogan is purely the only real candidate running in this race and the only real hope we have to keep from becoming taxed out of our houses.

    • David Brian Sheets

      Great military leader ??? Where did u read that lie

  12. Ready To Go

    Maryland is one disappointment after another. I have already decided to leave when I retire. Enough is enough.

    • RickinBmore

      Another Right Wing loon leaving Md? You made this Liberal’s day, “Ready To Go.” Thank you!!!!

      • Craig

        Now the politically moderate need to figure out how to get overly principled liberals like yourself to self-exile from MD. Perhaps a Hogan win? That’s a start, at the very least.

  13. DCRussell

    Candidate Brown is an empty suit. The real Anthony Brown may be intelligent, but the Anthony Brown running for governor is nothing more than a marionette responding to the strings pulled by his puppeteers.

  14. NLIM

    Take a serious look at how his running mate did in Howard County.

  15. wrightsgate

    There are many issues the Marylanders are focused on. How many businesses have moved? How many have closed their doors? How many taxes have been added to Maryland’s already over taxed residents? I don’t even want to mention SB281! It was a knee jerk reaction that did nothing to prevent crime and did everything to limits its residents. What about good and substantial reason when applying for a concealed permit. Look at the evening news! That’s all the good and substantial reasoning I need but the state of Maryland doesn’t agree. What part of “Shall not infringe” is confusing.
    I’ve never been into politics but these last 8 years have opened my eyes. If we continue down this path the greatest country will fade and become a history lesson of what not to do.

  16. Jamie

    The gun issue is not a dead issue by the way. People are not so stupid. People like myself have been reaching out to democrats to tell them of the lies that is SB281. Ever hear of an HBAR? Look it up Mr. reporter and do yourself a favor. Democrats know that we still have so called assault rifles and so called high capacity magazines. They also know that most gun owners are Fathers, Mothers, Dr.’s, Lawyers and all walks of life!

    • JN

      Jamie, I think you’re missing the point, and I don’t necessarily disagree with you. However the law was already passed, and not worth debating as an election platform. Could you imagine how’d that would go if the message was how Hogan is going to tackle gun control, when in fact the majority of Maryland wold probably vote for more gun control. The economy is the platform, which is what wins elections.

  17. The Judge

    Amen to that, lets get rid of the rain tax and put the gas tax back where it was for starters…I want my money back in my pocket, not on failed Democrat policies. Maryland is headed by way of Detroit and fast, if it keeps going this way I’ll be forced to move and watch it implode from afar. I believe this is Maryland’s last chance to come around to reality and not fall off the cliff. Hogan has my vote for sure.

    • RickinBmore

      Jeez. The next Detroit? You do realize that Maryland is the wealthiest state in the union with the 3rd lowest poverty rate, right? You also realize that our public education system is routinely rated the best in the country. Call us up when you get out of the Fox News/WBAL Radio echo chamber. Maryland is doing better than just about any state that doesn’t have a mess of oil or natural gas underneath it. Brown has MY vote.

      • The Judge

        Rick, you really need to get a j.o.b. The handouts are really going to your head…

        • RickinBmore

          Ha! Ha! Ha! Got a job, bro. And doing pretty well. You live in a fantasy world where facts have no currency. Maryland is a diverse and wealthy state with an excellent education system. You don’t like that? Go to Mississippi. There’s plenty of low taxes and neat guns for you to play with down there.

          • Moderateman

            Our education system actually isn’t all that great. Part of the calculation for the schools is determining performance on proficiency tests, which is different for each state. Maryland just lowered the average, so naturally more people would do better with respect to the new average. When Maryland students take nationwide tests, they actually perform significantly worse than what one would expect from our own statewide tests. And then there is the AP program. This is the biggest joke of all. They base schools off of the size of their AP, or advanced placement, program. How do you increase the size of your AP program? You out more people in it, and that’s what has been done. They have put more, highly unqualified, students in these AP courses.

          • Moderateman


          • Moderateman

            And just for example, I graduated from Perry Hall High School last year. When I was in 9th grade, they had Standard World History, Honors World History, GT World History, and AP World History, this is a course you take in 10th grade. In 9th grade, I was in GT American government, so I was set to go into GT World History. However, GT World History and Standard World History were eliminated, so you could take Honors level World History or AP level World History. I wasn’t going to drop to Honors, and neither were the thousands of other Maryland students. This greatly inflated the AP program with students who should not have been in these courses to begin with. And then, come test time, the teachers were discouraging the students, who didn’t belongs in the class, from taking the test because the teacher is judged by their student’s level of success on the test.

      • mikemarkham

        Say thanks to the Feds near DC for the lowest poverty rate. If it were entirely up to Brown/O’Malley, we’d have NO businesses left in MD.

        What Brown/O’Malley have done for MD:

        1)Driven out businesses
        2)Increased gas tax
        3)Increased MD State Tuition (your promise didn’t last!)
        4)Red Light Cameras everywhere
        5)Speed Cameras everywhere
        6)Threw money down the drain for MD’s Obamacare implementation
        7)Increased Liquor tax
        8)Invented Rain Tax

        You want more of this for Maryland? Vote Brown.

        • RickinBmore

          The typical canard of the Right Winger – Maryland is well off because of the Federal Government. Well, here’s a news flash. You have higher percentages of government employees in Texas and Alaska (look it up – its a fact). And the federal government didn’t give us a public school system that is routinely considered the best in the country. That was Democratic policies started in the 1970s and continued by O’Malley. Lastly, show me where Conservative policies have worked. Kansas? Mississippi? West Virginia? If that’s the alternative, I’ll stay in Maryland.

          • mikemarkham

            …and yet you don’t dispute it.

            I can tell you one thing – government has NOT given us great schools. We created them. You can’t claim victory for every achievement as government success.

            But this is typical canard for the Libs. You want government in every aspect of our lives. Perhaps we should have an honest election cycle where Brown states:

            I will raise your taxes, err fees in new and imaginative ways.
            I will try to not raise tuition again, but you have a good deal already!
            I will try to stop businesses from moving out of state.

      • Thomas from Fred

        Maryland is doing better? You forgot to mention one thing Maryland is doing better than just about all of the states except one…that is in foreclosure rates. So we are the wealthiest state in the union, bottom 3 in poverty but 2nd in foreclosure rate. How does that make sense??? Maryland is screwed up for the working man, taxes are out of control and spending is worse. Weathiest state doing better than most huh. The is for the lost wealthy not for the average Marylander. The dems lost my vote when Omalley screwed things up and I’m afraid Brown will just be more of the same BS.
        Maryland needs to get the spending and taxes under control and make it easier for the working class to stay in Maryland. Too many households leaving and business leaving because the taxes are rediculous.

      • Craig

        It’s the one of the wealthiest states in the country because of Columbia and the DC suburbs, not because of Baltimore. Baltimore is the crime-infested, no-hope, no-jobs, no-education love child of progressive politics and the OP is 100% correct that Baltimore is going the way of Detroit. The bleakness of Baltimore is overwhelming.
        What has Brown done to earn your vote? I’m guessing the answer to your question is that he’s simply a Democrat. If that’s your only criterion for voting, then fine, I guess, but some of us like to vote for candidates with substance. Brown is running on a campaign of universal pre-K coverage with an imaginary budget and fabricated projected revenue sources to fund it. What about jobs? What about all these taxes that keep driving more jobs out of the state? Being a successful liberal politician should require answers to tough questions, not gimmes that sound great in a campaign sound byte. And he has provided no proposed solutions to the real problems that matter, instead hammering home pre-K, abortion, and gun control. Next we’ll learn his #1 priority is the adoration of puppies. This dude is a joke.
        FWIW, I’m registered Democrat who happens to be black and I voted for Hogan yesterday. Brown needs to go away.

  18. Jumbo

    Let’s hope so.