In 2004, I formally became a Republican. I had been, effectively, a conservative Republican for about a year at that point - but election day the paperwork officially went through and I became a Republican. 2004 was also the first time I voted for a third party candidate for major office. I was living in New York and the two major party candidates for US Senate were Democratic incumbent Chuck Schumer and Republican Howard Mills. I was never going to vote for Chuck Schumer. The Republican option was Howard Mills - who barely raised any money, was pro-choice, and fiscally center-left. Later in his political career, Mills kept open his old Assembly campaign account open to raise money and buy himself gifts. I never trusted Mills and neither did the Conservative Party of New York. They endorsed Marilyn O'Grady. I knew Dr. O'Grady couldn't win - I didn't care. She stood by my values and so that's who I voted for. I always have voted based on my values.
In 2006, the Republican Party once more decided to put up a candidate for public office who I could not vote for - Jeanine Pirro. Pirro was the Westchester County District attorney and her husband is a convicted felon. He was convicted and served his time for tax fraud. He has an illegitimate child that he tried to bribe to stay quiet. Al Pirro also had purported mob ties and used his wife's position to obtain information. The last one was never 100% proven - but his criminal record and her "I knew nothing about it" when he did it attitude was unnerving to say the least. If your husband can commit tax fraud under you're nose - I don't want you being the state's primary attorney because you will miss corruption in government and in your own office. If you were involved - then you're untrustworthy. The bottom line was that I couldn't vote for her. I couldn't vote for the Democratic nominee either - Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo was a terrible Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and wanted to use the post to run for Governor in 2010 or 2014. His current bid for Governor only proves my point. What was I to do? I went for Chris Garvey, the Libertarian nominee. He had a solid platform and in the role of AG, a Libertarian wouldn't be bad.
What does this have to do with the gubernatorial election in Maryland? In the end, I'm going to vote not based on who is the "most electable." I'm not going to vote based on who the majority of party members and my own friends may support. I'm going to vote with my conscience. My conscience tells me that I should vote for Brian Murphy.
I've been fighting this one for a while. As recently as earlier this week, I wrote an article about my wariness of his campaign. My fears are barely founded. The Coale - Palin - O'Malley feels like a red herring. Just because Pelura wasn't a great chairman, doesn't mean his views are invalid. And I've voted for candidates before who I had no clue their viability. I voted based on my conscience and I can't ignore that. I needed to be reminded of that, and was by MD-02 candidate Troy Stouffer. He wrote an article on his Facebook page entitled "Principles over Politics." Stouffer wrote:
Many have said that a vote for Brian Murphy is a vote for Martin O'Malley. This is patently false since Martin O'Malley is not on the ballot for the Republican primary. The primary election is so that the party faithful can decide who will be on the ballot for the general election. The voters get to decide not the party elite. Our party leaders have decided that they know who has the best shot of winning in November and our voice does not matter. If Bob Ehrlich really does have the best chance in November, why are they so worried about Brian Murphy? They like to say that a conservative does not have any chance of winning in this "Blue" state, but yet the Republican Party is still in the minority with their practice of sending moderate candidates before the voters.I believe it is time for a new look for the Republican Party. As Republicans in Maryland, we are asking Democrats to vote their conscience and for the best candidate for the job in the general election, so why should we do any differently in our primary? As I said before, whoever wins the primary will get my support and vote for the general election, but primary elections are where the voters get to vote their core values and principles. My core values and principles are more closely aligned with Brian Murphy in the primary. Should Bob Ehrlich win the primary, my core values and principles are more closely aligned with Bob than with O'Malley.
I agree. Murphy is the pro-life choice. Murphy is far more fiscally conservative with a solid platform to cut the State budget and our taxes. How fiscally conservative is Murphy? It's to the point that the President of the Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist, came to Maryland and joined Murphy in a fundraiser. That's big.
I'm still not 100% sure that Murphy will be competitive in the fall against O'Malley - but the American people and Marylanders are hungry for change. They want something different. Murphy offers that and I think his story of a successful businessman who brought real jobs to Maryland will resonate when told. I'm ready to vote for Murphy in the primary and I hope you consider him as well.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant