Maryland's third Congressional District appears to be a powerful seat to hold. Both of the current sitting Senators formally represented that district. What's interesting is that prior to the election of Ben Cardin in 2006, both Senate seats were still held by MD-3 alumni. The current occupier of this seat is Congressman John Sarbanes. Sarbanes' father held this same Congressional seat in the 1970s and served as US Senator until his retirement in 2006.
John Sarbanes had no political experience prior to becoming a Congressman. He was a lawyer with a famous father. In 2006, he squeaked by in the primary and won in the general election by a large margin against local businessman John White. That margin improved in 2008 against a lesser known candidate. In 2010, the Republican party will need a dynamic candidate to even make this Congressional district competitive. Enter Benjamin Lawless.
Lawless is an ex-Marine who served his country faithfully for seven years. He's a father of two, with a third on the way. He's also 25 years old, the minimum age eligible to enter Congress.
His platform is some classic Republican fare - balanced budget, no new taxes, fiscally conservative health care reform, end of pork barrel spending; but also includes some less traditional points such as support for a realistic timetable for Iraq / Afghanistan and regulations on corporate monopolies. The mix of traditional Republican ideals and populist rhetoric may be a good fit for this Congressional district and the 2010 election cycle. People are looking for candidates who are outside of the traditional establishment; Lawless fits that bill.
He's never held public office. He's young and hopeful for America's future. He's a military veteran. He's got the right platform for the district. One question remains - can he bring in the votes or money. Lawless is up against a decently funded incumbent and his ability to bring in money will matter in such an election. Sarbanes has family and personal name recognition - Lawless has neither. Lawless will need to get out there and meet the people.
Can Lawless win? After seeing a Republican become the Senator-elect from Massachusetts, I'm pretty sure anything's possible. Lawless is the right candidate on paper - let's see if he's the right candidate in practice.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant