Send in the Clowns? Don’t Bother, They’re Here

Just in time for Halloween: The Republican House Caucus Committee, which was established in 2016 to raise money to protect GOP incumbents in Annapolis and target Democratic-held seats, has paid for a mailing attacking a fellow Republican — Anne Arundel County Councilman Jerry Walker.

The mailer compares Walker to a clown.

Walker, who is term-limited, has announced his intention to run for a seat in the House of Delegates in District 33, which covers Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Odenton, Millersville, Severna Park and Arnold, among other communities. That puts him on a collision course with the district’s three Republican incumbent delegates, Michael Malone, Tony McConkey and Sid Saab.

But Walker has tangled with Republicans before. He is often at odds with Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh (R) and is the Republican on the seven-member council who is most likely to strike alliances with his three Democratic colleagues.

The mailer appears to be an effort by GOP leaders to exact a measure of revenge.

The literature, which went out to Republican households throughout the district a few weeks ago, features images of Walker in a bow tie and a clown wearing a bow tie, and features the headline, “Which of these clowns blocked your property tax cut?” It goes on to accuse Walker of voting with Democrats on the County Council “68 percent of the time” and of accepting “$15,000 from liberal special interests.”

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“Walker is wrong for Anne Arundel County,” the mailer concludes.

Walker did not respond to a request for comment left at his County Council office. House Minority Leader Nic Kipke (R), who represents a different Anne Arundel County district, declined to answer questions about the mailer, but said in a statement provided to Maryland Matters: “The leadership of the House Republican Caucus Committee is proud to endorse and strongly support Delegates Saab, Malone, and McConkey. They are valuable and effective Republican legislators. Each is an important and trusted ally in our mission to advance Governor Hogan’s pro-jobs policies which are making a difference for the hard-working people of our state.”

Even with powerful forces aligned against him, Walker could be formidable in the Republican primary. As of mid-January, he had more money in his campaign account than the three House incumbents combined.

Walker reported $189,000 on hand, compared to $45,000 for Saab, $40,000 for Malone, and just $1,300 for McConkey.

The Republican House Caucus Committee reported $26,000 in its account as of mid-January.

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.

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