The competition was really fierce Wednesday night — and the questions were really, really tough — at Maryland Matters’ second annual Maryland politics and history trivia contest in Annapolis. Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.
More than 50 people attended, and we’re grateful that everyone rolled with a last-minute venue switch. Originally the contest was supposed to take place in a room at the Ram’s Head tavern — but turnout exceeded our expectations so we quickly moved to a community room at the First Presbyterian Church, to avoid a visit from the fire marshal.
It was a raucous evening nevertheless — but we’re pretty sure we didn’t desecrate the place. And we had bar food and beer and wine — so if you squinted, it felt a little like a tavern.
The hasty move also inspired one team name. Folks associated with Compass Government Relations Partners formed a team called Josh Kurtz, Take Me to Church. Oy — don’t tell Josh’s ancestors!
Seven teams wound up competing. The winner, with 53 correct answers, was the Know-Nothings — a team assembled by former Maryland Energy Administration director Fred Hoover and his wife Eileen, a longtime Anne Arundel County Democratic leader. Clearly, they knew something.
There was a tie for second place, between the Pachyderms — a team consisting of former Republican state Dels. Tony McConkey and Bill Frank — and the Annapolis Insiders, a team consisting of staffers of Comptroller Peter Franchot (D) and other luminaries. They each had 46 correct answers, and we needed to ask four additional questions to break the tie — with the Insiders prevailing.
But really, everyone was a winner.
Also competing: The Women of Ways and Means, four women from the House committee — Chair Anne Kaiser and Dels. Alice Cain, Michele Guyton and Julie Palakovich Carr (joined by Del. Jared Solomon); the Green New Deal, a group of environmental advocates and lobbyists; and March Sadness, a group assembled by the folks at the Maryland Association of Counties.
Overall, we asked 55 trivia questions, not including the four needed for the tie-breakers. Here are a few of our favorite questions:
What Maryland county has the oldest, continuously operated sheriff’s office in the U.S.? St. Mary’s County
In 2002, a political nobody named Robert Fustero took 20 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary for governor against Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. What was his occupation? Night stock clerk at a Giant in Silver Spring.
Camp David was renamed in the 1950s for President Eisenhower’s grandson. What was this presidential retreat originally called? Shangri-La.
Who was the bridge that carries U.S. 50 across Sinepuxent Bay, connecting the downtown area of Ocean City to the mainland of Worcester County named for? Former eight-term Ocean City mayor Harry W. Kelley.
What character did Maryland Matters contributor and former Baltimore Sun reporter and editor Bill Zorzi play on “The Wire”? Bill Zorzi, a fictionalized version of himself.
Kurtz, Maryland Matters‘ editor, wearing the only Maryland Matters T-shirt in human existence, served as M.C. for the evening. All we can say about that is, don’t give up the day job.
Thanks to everyone for coming and for supporting Maryland Matters. Keep studying up! We can hardly wait for next year!
Click here to see a photo gallery of the event.