Well, THAT was a packed house.
THAT being Dundalk’s Boulevard Diner, where Governor-Elect Larry Hogan just finished a leg of his “Thank You” tour. THAT, being where upwards of 200-250 people packed into one tiny room to the point you couldn’t walk through the room without feeling you may have impregnated someone.
Blue collar Dundalk, which just replaced its entire slate of Democrat officeholders (all three delegates, one state senator and a councilman) with all Republicans, was the scene for tonight’s joyous presentation – and Larry Hogan, the man of the hour, didn’t give any speeches. What he did do was shake about a bazillion hands and have his photograph taken by more cameras and cell phones than I’ve ever seen in one place. In short, just like his recently concluded, victorious, campaign – he handled this event perfectly. Pitch perfectly.
Before entering the diner, I ran into Delegate-Elect Robin Grammer – one of my two favorites of all of the incoming delegates, and one of the Republicans who helped sweep out the Democrats as I mentioned above. He is truly a great guy.
Speaking of great guys, I had a conversation with John Salling the new Senator-Elect from MD’s 6th District – and the guy who ended the political career of one of the single most doltish Democrats in the State, Johnny Olszewski, Jr., for which I thanked him.
Salling smiled before telling me that we deserve thanks – gesturing around the packed room, “I mean everybody,” he said. “We did it.”
If John Salling keeps his current attitude of praising everyone for the victories of one, that man will be around for a long, long time.
Some of the folks in attendance tonight, and I stress the word “some” – Hey, I’m only 5 feet 8 inches tall – and there were some tall men in that room blocking my view – include, but are certainly not limited to: Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, Delegates-Elect Ric Metzgar and Bob Long (in addition to Grammer), former Maryland Insurance Administration and Delegate Al Redmer, Councilman David Marks, Councilman-Elect Todd Crandell, Delegate Kathy Szeliga, Baltimore County Central Committee’s John Fiastro and Al Mendelsohn, MDGOP Executive Director Joe Cluster…and, oh yeah, some guy named Hogan.
Speaking of Larry Hogan, I did hear an interesting tidbit tonight and that is this: Larry Hogan has given his go-ahead for MDGOP Chairwoman, Diana Waterman, to run for re-election as Chair. Sounds like tacit approval to me…
“You ran the best damned campaign I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” THAT is what I told the Governor-Elect as he was shaking hands on the way out of the restaurant – right after he said, “Hi, Joe” and we shook hands.
And I meant it. I’ve been at this game for 32 years now and I’ve never seen a better run campaign. Ever.
Larry thanked me and continued on his way.
(Yeah, this is just a fraction of the crowd in the room tonight…)
As I stepped outside, I heard the female half of a couple that was leaving the diner (who’d apparently come just for dinner and had no idea Hogan was going to be there) tell the guy she was with, “That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that – a governor come to a regular place.”
The guy responded by saying, “Yeah, he’s a man of the people.”
The perception of Larry Hogan is, right now, right where he wants it to be.
Larry Hogan has a tall order to fill, that’s for damned sure. Good Lord, I hope he’s learned from the mistakes of the Ehrlich Administration. I really do.
As concerns judging Larry, well the way I see it is this: Larry Hogan ran and emerged victorious on the economy and taxes. Period. There was no mention of guns or prolife/abortion issues. Hell, there was no real mention of social issues whatsoever. Therefore, I don’t think anyone can rightfully judge the effectiveness of his Administration on social issues or gun issues at all. He must be judged on the issues upon which he ran and WON the Governorship – which is the economy and taxes.
Get ready to play some serious defense, Larry. The battle is a brewing and the Democrats already have you in their sights.