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August 18, 2009

Pipkin not rushing into First District race

Republican State Sen. E. J. Pipkin, who played a pivotal role in Maryland's first congressional district last year, says he'll announce his 2010 election plans "relatively soon." But you might not want to hold your breath.

Usually, "the earlier, the better" is the rule in politics, particularly when it comes to challenging an incumbent. But the wealthy lawmaker seems to be in no hurry to announce a decision right away.

And the way things are developing, there seems to be no urgent reason for him to make a move.

Pipkin has a choice. The safe and easy path would be to try for another term in the state legislature.

The riskier path would be to take on Andy Harris, his Maryland Senate colleague, for the Republican nomination for Congress in the First District. The winner gets to face freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil, one of the most endangered Democrats in Congress.

The loser would be out of elective office. Harris and Pipkin can't run for Congress and for re-election to the legislature at the same time; so taking on Kratovil means giving up a seat in the General Assembly.

In 2008, analysts concluded, Pipkin acted as a catalyst. He helped generate upheaval in the district, which spans the Chesapeake Bay, in the Republican primary. As the third man in the race, Pipkin pulled moderate votes from incumbent Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest and helped Harris unseat the veteran congressman.

Pipkin, in an interview, said that he's continuing his "listening tour" of the district and "really" hasn't made a decision yet.

He said that he'd make up his mind "relatively soon," then made it clear that this could be a highly flexible frame of reference .

"That's the beautiful thing about 'relatively soon,'" he joked, acknowledging that "soon" might not be until some time next year.

Time, at the moment, appears to be Pipkin's friend.

He can sit back and watch the situation ripen in the Republican primary and the district in general. The filing deadline for the September primary is still more than 10 months away.

Harris, eager for a rematch of a race he nearly won against Kratovil last year, hasn't blown the doors off the bank yet. The Baltimore County lawmaker's congressional campaign account contained about $210,000 at the end of June, the latest available information at the Federal Election Commission.

Pipkin, a late entry in the 2008 Republican primary, spent $1 million of his own money on that race (and $2 million against Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski in 2004).

Posted by Paul West at 12:02 PM | | Comments (5)


Pipkin would get smoked in a Republican primary. If Pipkin had stayed out of the race in 2008, Harris would have beat Gilchrest 60% to 40%. Pipkin's pro-choice record dooms him with about 25% of Republican primary voters. Bob Ehrlich's support of Harris basically guarantees that Harris will win any primary. Also, Pipkin left a bad taste in everyone's mouth with his ultra-negative campaiging. I remember getting a mailer with pictures of Mexicans on it crossing the border and a "3 Amigos" mailer that were very harsh. So I don't anticipate Pipkin running in D-1.

Pipkin could do himself a favor and read the 'The Peter Principle" by Dr. Laurence J. Peter.

Clearly, Joe, you are experiencing "revisionist history" syndrome.
The idea that Pipkin was the negative campaigner in that race is laughable. Andy Harris is the most negative campaigner in Maryland. Shore R's like myself were disgusted by his tactics. No one liked him and so no one voted for him.
If Primary voters were split between Gilchrist and Pipken then how do you figure?

A perfect situation for a Dark Horse. Two big fish fighting over squatters rights for the hole, leadership of the guppies and the buffet of feeder fish all around them. The only problem they have, and they do have a problem, is that the guppies don't stay guppies forever. While the two large mouth bass (seems a fitting analogy) nip at each other's tails, a young, strong guppy is free to feed at the periphery, ever gaining strength, wisdom and courage. These bass do not fear the little Beta. You see, he is out of his environment. They know he has a reputation for being a fighter, as almost all Betas do, but they are still not concerned in the least bit. You see, they dwarf him with their size and in no short time they forget all about him. Every so often he will make his presence known, but then the bass just forget about him time and again. After all, he's just a Beta and they are the Alpha's of a much more dominant class. At times, when nature permits, they might laugh at him as he tries attack after attack. But then their attention is quickly regained as they strive for superiority with other. For the most part, neither Large Mouth has any worries from the Beta. But then that's his plan. Attack when attack permits, feed where foe permits, ever hassle, and always keep the attention of the Large Mouth on each other and never on him. If their not careful, they might just wake one morning to find that they are still the two biggest fish, but in a two fish pond. During their periods of distraction and warfare, that little Beta grew up to become a great leader and he led all the other fish away to a bigger, better and much more peaceable pond.

Folks, we have a Beta in the 2010 Congressional Race. His name is Jeff Ghrist. He is a Commissioner for Caroline County. He will give anyone a race on the Shore. And, while the 1st District comprises portions of the Western Shore, everyone knows that the race starts and ends with the Eastern Shore. He is a hard-working, average Joe. No silver spoon in his mouth. He is going to surprise quite a few folks within the next year. Let the party begin. Gentlemen, start your engines...........

Jeff Ghrist as a serious candidate? LMAO!


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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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