I had the opportunity to speak with Charles Lollar, Charles County (Maryland) Republican Central Committee Chairman, in a phone interview last week. Below are some of the things that we discussed.
First off, a bit of background: Charles Lollar is a business owner and member of the Marine Corps Reserve who has been spending the last few years promoting things like the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights. Lollar credits his family upbringing to his fiscal attitudes, particularly when it comes to the importance and value of hard work. His name has been floated as a possible gubernatorial candidate for Maryland 2010 election; however, he has recently started an exploratory committee involving running as a challenger to Steny Hoyer's Congressional seat.
Charles Lollar is primarily a fiscal conservative primarily. He feels that the biggest problem facing Marylanders is that the government's fiscal irresponsibility is taxing-and-spending our way into debt; which will lead to less choices and a general lack of individual freedoms down the road. He favors limiting government growth to inflation, not to mention term limits; and considers it a priority for the Maryland Republican party to unify its message and focus on fiscal responsibility. Charles is also a supporter of school choice, and was not even remotely pleased with the way that Democrats killed the DC program earlier this year. His reaction to Card Check was strongly negative; he considers it to be a huge business issue, and that instituting it would force business to operate in an unethical way. While Lollar is not opposed to unions as unions, he does note (as many others do) that they elect their own officers via secret ballot.
Regarding Steny Hoyer's seat: when I asked him if he was running for it he started by saying that he wasn't - because it wasn't actually Hoyer's seat; it was the people's. In Lollar's opinion, Hoyer however treats the seat as if it were his (an opinion that I happen to share); and he's offended that Hoyer does that. As to whether he's running: he'll make a final determination on that by September 30th. I spoke with Charles prior to Hoyer's calling health care protesters "Un-American," but I doubt that Lollar found it any less annoying than most of the people reading this*. Charles is also distinctly not amused with Hoyer's (and other Democrats') reaction to the Tea Party movement, and was very offended at the suggestion that there is something unnatural about it, and opposition to the Democrats' policies generally. He couldn't be more pleased to see the movement grow, and thinks that it taps into a passion that the Democrats seem determined to underestimate.
My own personal opinion is that Charles Lollar is a smart guy, a committed conservative, a good speaker, and believable when it comes to talking about fiscal issues. Lollar's told me that there's been an 'overwhelming' response of his political future; judging from the positive reaction towards him at the one in-person speaking engagement I've attended of his, I find that plausible. Admittedly, taking down Steny Hoyer will be a challenge - it's a D+11 district, and the incumbent is exceptionally good at fundraising - but then, lately Hoyer seems determined to insult his constituents. The last week has done a lot to make me personally less willing to tolerate Hoyer's antics, and I cannot be the only Republican in Maryland to feel that way. If I still lived in MD-05 - and I should note that Hoyer was the last time I voted for Democrat - I'd vote for Lollar.
There's no official Lollar campaign website - yet - but I suspect that this may change soon. In the meantime, check out New Day Maryland; it should give you some more information about Charles' opinions and stances on the issues.
*As it turns out, I just was forwarded Lollar's press release on Hoyer's un-American slur. It goes in part:
"Charles has often said that the solutions to America's problems can be found in a constructive dialogue between people," Langer continued. "We must reach out, extend the hand of friendship, and find common ground. That's the sign of true leadership-the desire to reach out to others to find solutions. But labeling your opponents-especially to question their patriotism on a substantive domestic policy issue-is a slap in the face. It divides us and makes those solutions elusive. It does a disservice to those, like Charles, who are literally engaged in the process of defending the Republic."
"On behalf of Charles Lollar, we encourage everyone to continue to express their opinions on all issues confronting Congress. It is as American as apple pie," added Langer.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.