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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 09/ 3/2006

An Early Start on November

By Phyllis Jordan

Even before the Sept. 12 primary, Maryland Democrats are busy preparing for a bruising Senate race against the presumptive Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele .

Last week, party volunteers began distributing thousands of door hangers in the six jurisdictions with the largest population of Democrats: Montgomery, Prince George's, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties, and the city of Baltimore.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has reserved time for television ads in the final days before the general election in both the Washington and Baltimore media markets, according to campaign sources and records filed with television stations.

And according to tax records, Keith Griffin , a former legislative director for U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) who in 2004 served as a presidential campaign staffer for Wesley K. Clark and later for John F. Kerry , has formed a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group called "Your Voice! Your Vote!"

Filing records show the group was formed in Silver Spring "to promote the registration . . . and education of minority citizens," an effort Griffin describes in the records as nonpartisan. But given the lopsided number of minority voters in Maryland who are Democrats, it is in all likelihood intended to help increase Democratic voter turnout in the November election.

Such entities also are increasingly being used in politics as a way to pool money in independent accounts where contributions can be sought without having to reveal the identities of the donors until after the election. Attempts to reach Griffin for comment were unsuccessful.

This comes even before Democrats choose a candidate from the field of 18 running in the primary and is in part an attempt to help their eventual nominee keep pace with an opponent who has no serious primary opposition.

Steele campaign aides suspect these efforts are intended to adhere to a plan mapped out in a DSCC strategy memo months ago that described Steele as a "unique challenge" and said that "a persuasion campaign should start as soon as possible to discredit Steele as a viable candidate for the [black] community."

"It's all part of a coordinated campaign," said Doug Heye , a Steele spokesman. "It shows us exactly how scared they are."

The leaflet being distributed to the doors of Democrats by the state party appears to be aimed at countering Steele's TV commercial, which is in wide circulation and touts the lieutenant governor as someone who will come to Washington to shake things up.

The leaflet shows Steele and President Bush standing shoulder-to-shoulder behind the headline "Enough is Enough" and includes a published quote from Steele in which he describes the president as "a friend. I appreciate his support and if that is being aligned with the president, then count me guilty."

Democratic Party spokesman Arthur Harris said the door hangers have started going up because "now is a good time to clarify for the voters of Maryland that the real Steele is an enabler for George Bush's agenda."

Matthew Mosk

By Phyllis Jordan  | September 3, 2006; 10:45 AM ET
 
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Comments

It is nice to see the daily postings about Maryland politics. But what is wrong with blog.washingtonpost.com/county connections/? Here we are a week before the primary and they haven't posted about Montgomery County since August 24. Why don't they write about how Independent Robin Ficker bounced the humpty-dumpty Leggett in the mocopolitics poll of progressives 40%-36% (Silverman had 22%)? Google mocopolitics and see. I'm a paralegal in Robin's law office.

Posted by: Angelina | September 3, 2006 7:48 PM | Report abuse

When are Democrats going to reach the conclusion that simply screaming "We hate George Bush!!" at the top of their lungs is not a sufficiently compelling and comprehensive campaign platform?

Bob Novak put it well. If Democrats can't win Congress in November, and despite the prevailing punditry I still don't think they will, one is forced to question the entire premise of their party. They've been given a golden egg on a golden platter, and they're flushing it down the toilet.

Given Bush's popularity and the raw partisan breakdown of Maryland voters, Steele "shouldn't" have a chance in hell. And yet he has a quite a good chance to win.

Posted by: Brandon | September 3, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

As far as I know, there's been no landslide election in history where the winning party didn't lose at least one seat. That said, I don't think Maryland's that seat. If anything, it's Maria Cantwell in Oregon. In any other year, I think Steele would be very competetive. But this election is going to be nationalized, and in a state as blue as Maryland, I don't think Steele can win with the weight of Bush on his shoulders.

Posted by: E in MC | September 3, 2006 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happened to blog.washingtonpost.com/countyconnections/? Have they gone on vacation until after the elections?

Posted by: blog frog | September 4, 2006 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Someone should ask the Democrats why they're not running on their own records? They're attacking Steele solely on one or two photographs they have him with Bush, but what's that show us about Steele? Absolutely nothing.

The DSCC doesn't want you to sit down and talk to Steele--they'd rather you hate Bush and then equate Steele as one in the same despite him obviousl disagreeing wiht the President on the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, etc.

The Democrats thinly veiled ploy here was exposed months ago and it will pay divdends for voters to research their strategy of disenfranchising Steele by these cheap associative tacitcs rather than talking important issues voters care about.

Posted by: Bryan | September 4, 2006 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Angelina/Robin Ficker: nobody wrote about it because it isn't news. Ficker stuffed the ballot box on an internet poll. Enjoy the "victory" because it's the only one Ficker will get...and keep your day job.

Posted by: Pepe le moco | September 4, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Democrats will realize that their campaign to link Steele with George W. Bush is falling flat on its face with African Americans in PG County?

Nah, they'll just make whimpering noises about voter disenfranchisement after Steele gets elected in November.

Posted by: Rufus | September 5, 2006 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Maria Cantwell is the Senator from Washington (no, not DC).

Posted by: MDVoter | September 5, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"I wonder if the Democrats will realize that their campaign to link Steele with George W. Bush is falling flat on its face with African Americans in PG County?"

Falling flat? Where is your evidence? I have repeatedly encountered African Americans in Prince Georges County who will vote against Steele precisely because he is a ardent supporter of Bush's disasterous economic, military and social policies. They recognize that a vote for Steele is vote for the Bush agenda and a vote for the Republican agenda in Congress.

Posted by: Prince Georges Dem | September 5, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Where is MY evidence?

I live in the African American community in Prince Georges County and know that my neighbors realize they are propspering in this economy becuase of Bush's policy. They remember 9/11 and the people who died and support the idea of fighting the terrorist on their own soil. They also support Steele because he is a man of quiet yet determined faith who will not support nonsensical social experiments such as "gay marriage."

You poor saps aren't even going to see it coming until it's over.

Posted by: Rufus | September 5, 2006 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"I live in the African American community in Prince Georges County and know that my neighbors realize they are propspering in this economy becuase of Bush's policy. They remember 9/11 and the people who died and support the idea of fighting the terrorist on their own soil. They also support Steele because he is a man of quiet yet determined faith who will not support nonsensical social experiments such as "gay marriage.""

I also live in Prince Georges county and know very few people who support Steele or George W. Bush. Bush's economic policies have been a disaster. Given that Bush's job approval number stands at 35% in Maryland, I doubt that a sizable number of African Americans in Prince Georges support Bush's economic policies. Average wages have decreased in this nation since 2001 (when adjusted for inflation). Again, I want Steele to tout Bush's economic policies when campaigning in Black communities. This will help the Democratic nominee.

As far as the War in Iraq is concerned...Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and was not an imminent threat to the US. You really are uninformed. Most Americans, particualarly African Americans, oppose the War in Iraq.

Last thing, Steele opposes a woman right to choose, even in the case of rape and incest, and federal funding for stem embryonic stem cell research. These are minority/fringe positions in Maryland. Nearly 70% of Americans support stem cell research.

Steele will lose because of his positions.

Posted by: Princes Georges Dem | September 5, 2006 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Bush came to Maryland and the Republican Governor and Lieutenant Governor couldn't be bothered to show up at what was, after all, a fairly small, low-key event. They want to be Republicans so Karl Rove will collect money for them, but they don't want to be Republicans when their president is in the state? That kind of equivocating should scare voters: Being "in the middle like most of us" doesn't mean not having a position.

Posted by: mocophd | September 5, 2006 8:49 PM | Report abuse

As an African American in PG county, I can say decisively that we will not support Steele. In the large churches and organizations it is discussed and his alliance with Bush and his policies will be one of the major reasons.

Posted by: Aj | September 6, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

All of the medical breakthroughs regarding stem cell research are from adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell research is a dead end that is promoted by abortion supporters who need to make infanticide more acceptable to our society.

Posted by: Rufus | September 6, 2006 12:36 PM | Report abuse

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