I hit the Turf Friday night, the Turf being Ellicott City’s large and somewhat confusing Turf Valley Hotel, Resort, Whatever for the MD GOP’s Fall 2012 convention. And what an interesting night it was.
To begin with, all the usual suspects were there…well all except for Change Maryland’s Larry Hogan. What with all the whisperings of his (likely, possible, who knows?) 2014 run for governor, Hogan was conspicuous by his absence. And, secondly, on this whole “Good luck, I’m Smiling Even Though I Don’t Really Like You” night of hospitality suites, the booze and yapping were both free flowing and plenty.
After running into Maryland’s 2010 US Senate candidate, the good Doctor Eric Wargotz, I scoped out where a number of the hospitality suites were. My first stop – which took all of about 3 minutes, or just long enough for me to pour myself and drink a Coke ® – was at the Maryland Liberty Caucus. Taking two rooms and, from what I could see, needing every inch of space available to them, considering the attendees had flowed well out into the hall, this place was rocking. Most impressive showing by the folks at MLC.
From there, I headed to the Blaine Young for Governor’s ambitious hospitality suite which, uh, seemed to be held in a ballroom. And THAT was packed. Having a delightful conversation with the delightful Katie Nash, Blaine Young’s Media Coordinator (of whom I approached Mr. Young and suggested to him that it was imperative he hold onto), chatting up the Baltimore Sun’s Michael Dresser, and spending some time talking with David Aughenbaugh and Tony Campbell alone made the investment of time to get up and go worthwhile. Of course, the 2 large Jack Daniels on the rocks I imbibed there didn’t hurt, either.
In between running outside to light up some smokes, and a flurry of non-political text messages I started receiving, I also hit Montgomery County’s hospitality suite (ice cream floats, and even MORE Jack Daniels), and the suite which was being hosted by one of Mr. Young’s likely 2014 competitors, current Harford County Executive David Craig (spiked snowballs).
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It was at David Craig’s suite where I ran into the 2012 MD GOP candidate for US Senate, Dan Bongino. And, let me tell you this: I’d run into Bongino, whom I like immensely, a number of times during the past year…and never once did I ever see the look in his eyes I saw last night. Dan Bongino is PISSED. And, I totally understand why. You ever heard the name of “GOP” political consultant Kevin Igoe before? Well, if not, you may be out of luck…because if Bongino has his way, Igoe is finito. Suffice it to say here (and whether Igoe’s able to do it or not) that if Igoe is still planning on continuing as a Republican political consultant…well, that idea’s about as laughable as an attempt to have a rational discussion about Bill Clinton’s fidelity. More on this “Kevin Igoe” matter in my next article…
The stop at which I spent the most amount of time was at Strategic Victory Consulting’s suite. And there were reasons for this other than Kristin Shields incredible purple drink, the SVC. Hosted by Hillary Foster Pennington, this suite also featured a live radio broadcast hosted by Pennington’s Purple Elephant Politics and the crew over at Red Maryland – the group that first demanded that MD GOP Chairman Alex Mooney resign his post as Chairman.
Well, I walked into the “radio room” at about 10:45 PM because I knew they were on the air live and because Red Maryland’s Mark Newgent had been trying for a while to get me on the air with his fellow talk show host, Greg “His Petiteness” Kline – the guy who has called me both a “dick” and on a separate broadcast snidely said if he and I were to ever get together for a beer, he would come away convinced that I was an “unmitigated a-hole.”
And, although all Hell didn’t quite break loose – I was told today on a number of occasions that my showdown with Kline stole the show.
My fellow writer, Richard Cross, called the Steffen/Kline smack-down a “spirited but civil” debate, one in which I opened up by asking Kline why he’d called me a “dick” and an “unmitigated a-hole.” He gave some lame answer to the first question (which prompted me to ask him if he even knew what a “dick” is) and never really could answer the whole “unmitigated a-hole” thing. He, in turn hit me with the fact that I’d written that what former Bobby Ehrlich’s campaign boss Paul Schurick had done as concerns the 2010 RoboCalls was worse than former Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson’s extortion and bribery. Anyway, if you care to hear the whole damned thing, I’m sure it’s online at Red Maryland or Purple Elephant Politics or somewhere else at this point. (Thanks to everyone who said that I rocked the radio appearance and thanks as well to Red Maryland and PEP for having me on.)
After THAT, I went down to Blaine Young’s suite for a third time – where I ran into National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose. A bit later, the two of us chatted for a while about the UNBELIEVABLY LONG Executive Committee meeting and a few other sundry Convention happenings…and then I headed back upstairs to the Strategic Victory Consulting to relish in the night over another 1 or 3 SVC drinks.
Finally, from today at the MDGOP Convention I did get a report on Baltimore County Central Committee Chairman John Fiastro Jr.’s non-binding resolution that Maryland’s voting members at the RNC (the aforementioned Nicolee Ambrose, National Committeeman Louis Pope and Chairman Alex Mooney) vote against another term for RNC Chair Reince Priebus. That resolution failed, but the vote was apparently closer than what was expected.
Further, I also got word of what the Hell happened regarding Alex Mooney’s stature as Chairman (He didn’t resign, nobody called for removal) and it holds. Alex Mooney remains the chairman with nary a blip of mention to get him out of there. Just like I thought he would…
And I think that may be a good thing. If it’s true that the more things change, the more they stay the same, why can’t the opposite also hold true? Who knows…but if this convention was any indication, the fun is just beginning.