Posted on | September 27, 2010 | 75 Comments
Friday afternoon at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, I arrived for a luncheon arranged by Smitty with the helpful assistance of his friend Ron Miller. Here you see your fedora-wearing friends with the guest of honor:
That handsome guy in the middle is Charles Lollar, Republican candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 5th District, a seat currently held by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who is the second-ranking Democrat in Congress and Nancy Pelosi’s chief henchman.
You want to beat Steny, don’t you? Well, Lollar is the man for the job.
Here’s the thing: Democrats think Hoyer is bulletproof, but there are good reasons to believe that the incumbent is far more vulnerable this year than anyone suspects. As I explained before the primary, GOP candidate Collins Bailey got 80,000 votes in 2008 — a high-tide year for Democrats when Obama carried the 5th District by a 2-to-1 margin.
Democrat enthusiasm is way down this year, so their turnout is likely to be far lower. In 2006, a midterm election that was also a big year for Democrats, there were barely 200,000 votes cast in the 5th District race. So if there is a similar turnout Nov. 2, and Lollar merely matches the GOP’s 80,000 total from 2008, that puts him at 40%. Add another 15,000 votes, and he’s in shocker-upset range.
Three weeks ago, I thought Lollar had a shot, based simply on analyzing the district and reading his biography: An up-through-the-ranks Marine intelligence officer — a major in the USMC Reserve. But after having lunch Friday with Lollar, I’m telling you flat-out: This guy’s a winner, if we can just get him the money to do it.
Let’s analyze the 5th District a bit: As I said, nobody thinks Hoyer is vulnerable. Congressional Quarterly rates it a “safe Democratic” seat and Cook rates it D+11, which is why we can expect no help from the National Republican Congressional Committee. This is one of those races the geniuses at the NRCC think can’t be won so they don’t even bother trying.
However, it’s worth pointing out that two years ago, a Democrat won in Maryland’s 1st District, even though that district is rated R+13 by Cook. Obviously, the NRCC has targeted MD-1 as a “must win” seat to take back this year, while MD-5 — where Republicans have a chance to do in reverse what Democrats did in MD-1 in 2008 — is not on anybody’s radar. If Democrats can win an R+13 in their high-tide year, why can’t the GOP win a D+11 in this year of the Big Red Wave?
Make the wave happen: Give $20 to elect Charles Lollar.
MD-5 is on the western bank of Chesapeake Bay, east of D.C. and south of Annapolis. MD-5 contains all of three counties — Calvert (pop. 89,000), St. Mary’s (pop. 103,000) and Charles (142,000) — with the remaining 300,000 or so of the district’s population in parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
In 2004, George Bush got more than 75,000 votes in Calvert, St. Mary’s and Charles counties — beating John Kerry by 57%-43% — so these are the real GOP strongholds of the district. Hoyer’s support is strongest in Prince George’s County, where the population is 66% black.
Prince George’s has long been viewed as terra incognita by Maryland Republicans — even in the high-tide Bush year of 2004, the county went 82% for Kerry — but Lollar told us Friday that he’s been campaigning hard there, stressing “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
The unemployment rate in Prince George’s was nearly 8% in July, a statistic that doesn’t fully reflect to level of economic stress in the county, a Washington suburb that has been hit hard by the real-estate crash. Delinquencies and foreclosures have been near crisis levels for more than a year. Prince George’s saw 1,800 foreclosures filed in February alone, and nine of the top ten ZIP codes for most foreclosures in the D.C. area were in Prince’s George’s.
Obviously, this wasn’t the Hope and Change the voters in Prince George’s County had in mind when 89% of them voted for Obama two years ago. Lollar thinks many of those voters may be ready to look beyond their traditional Democratic loyalties.
You see that Lollar has a solid campaign strategy: He can count on strong support in the three Republican-leaning counties in the south end of MD-5 (he served as chairman of the Charles County GOP), while working to win over independents and disillusioned Democrats in Prince George’s.
Hoyer is a 71-year-old career politician who has been in Congress for 20 years. If voters are really looking for change, 39-year-old Charles Lollar is what they’re looking for. He is a dynamic speaker, very popular with Tea Party crowds, who has gotten some amazing responses. At one forum where both Hoyer and Lollar spoke, people in the audience approached Lollar afterward offering to write checks for his campaign — and adding that they were lifelong Democrats.
Now you’re asking, “OK, is he conservative?” Take my word, he’s rock solid. Or you can ask Smitty. During lunch Friday, at one point I told Smitty that Lollar makes me look like a mushy moderate, and that’s saying something. But don’t take our word for it — you can ask any of the Tea Party Patriots in Maryland who know Lollar and support him enthusiastically. He’s also been interviewed by Moe Lane of Red State and endorsed by Combat Veterans for Congress.
Please take just a few minutes to watch this video of Lollar’s speech at the Code Red Rally in March:
And if you thought that was awesome, now watch this video of Lollar’s Freedom Plaza speech during last year’s 9/12 March on Washington:
Hey, have you given $20 to help elect Charles Lollar yet?
If not, have you given $50 or $100?
Just how bad do you want this Marine to beat Steny Hoyer?
Years ago, I worked on a project collecting the oral histories of World War II veterans. In their scrapbooks and wartime diaries, several of them included variations on a poem that humorously recounted the hardships of a Marine’s grueling service in one of those god-forsaken Pacific hellholes like Guadalcanal or Okinawa. That bit of popular G.I. doggerel evidently was reworked to fit the circumstances of different units, but it always ended with this verse:
And when I get to Heaven,
Saint Peter I will tell:
“Another Marine reporting, sir —
I’ve served my time in Hell!”
Lollar is another Marine reporting, and here’s what I said yesterday about his fellow Marine, Sean Bielat, running against Barney Frank:
When you tell a Marine to “take that hill,” he’s gonna by God take that hill, or die trying. . . .
Are you gonna let a Marine die on that hill?
You can follow Charles Lollar on Twitter and also on Facebook, but there are now only 36 days until Nov. 2. If Lollar is going to beat Steny Hoyer — if he’s gonna take that hill — he needs money, and he needs it today.
UPDATE: Barbara Espinosa: “Dollars for Lollar.” I like it!