Last night, after getting off the phone with Sandra (not!), I headed out to Funkstown for the Hagerstown Tea Party candidate forum. I thought the turnout was excellent and the Tea Party did a great job setting up the event and managing the gathering. Each candidate was strictly held to a time limit and that was clearly a good strategy as some would have gone on and on had they not been flagged down with a Gadsden flag. I also smiled over the use of the iconic flag on the podium (no hiding where the group stands).
Here is some of the story from today’s Hagerstown Herald Mail:
Candidates vying for the seat held by Maryland U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin pounded the federal government Thursday night for its perceived “fiefdoms” and proclaimed the need to put someone in Congress with some “backbone.”
The comments came during a U.S. Senate candidates forum hosted by the Hagerstown Tea Party at “Next” Dimensions restaurant, bar, event center and catering on Old National Pike near Funkstown.
Any of the candidates running for Cardin’s seat were invited to participate in the forum, and nine of the 19 candidates seeking to unseat the longtime incumbent participated, said Don Hineman, president of the Hagerstown Tea Party.
Cardin, a Democrat, did not attend.
Candidates talked about how to control the size and role of the federal government after they were asked which cabinet positions they would eliminate and which federal departments they would combine.
Republican Daniel John Bongino said the problem with the federal government is there are more than 20 law-enforcement entities that investigate the same crimes.
Bongino accused the groups of setting up “fiefdoms” in government. Bongino said the groups fight to protect their territory because their funding is “not their money.”
Republican Robert “Bro” Broadus said he agreed with Bongino’s assessment, noting that waste in federal government must be reduced.
Republican Richard J. Douglas said no federal government agency should be free from scrutiny. Douglas told the estimated 90 people in attendance that voters have to send the right people to the U.S. Senate who “have a backbone.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Chris Garner took aim at the U.S. Department of Education, saying the agency has never taught a student anything. Garner also said the federal government has to be rebuilt from the bottom up.
The liveliest exchange, and perhaps even the most revealing but not reported here, occurred at the end with a question about the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke flap.
Where are they on immigration?
There were a couple of Democrat candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Senator Ben Cardin in the forum as well. And, you know one of my litmus tests for a candidate is their position on immigration. I find especially objectionable the blind assertion that “legal” immigration is good while “illegal” is bad. Unfortunately, most people who say that have no idea of how far wrong our LEGAL immigration has gone in recent years.
One group that ‘gets-it’ is NumbersUSA which rates candidates on their positions on various immigration problems and honestly the Democrat—Chris Garner—has the best rating of almost any candidate (only a handful have the “true reformer” label) in Maryland, here, and better than most other Senate candidates who have not answered well, or even bothered to answer at all. (I see there are more Maryland candidates who have now been rated by Numbers since I last visited).
Tell your Democrat friends about Garner!
Straw poll results released this morning by the Hagerstown Tea Party are, I believe, a reflection of Dan Bongino’s strong grassroots organization throughout the state. Organization and meeting voters one on one is the key to winning elections!
Next candidate forum for the Hagerstown Tea Party is March 22nd, 7 p.m., Next Dimensions, 132 Old National Pike, Hagerstown, MD. This will be for Candidates for the 6th Congressional District.