Ben Carson for Maryland Governor Might Be the Prescription for Victory in 2014
By Ken Shepherd
Being a conservative Republican in Maryland is an exercise in frustration. The Old Line State is my home and I love it dearly, but its political situation drives me batty.
I’ve only seen one Republican governor in my life, while the state legislature, the General Assembly, has gotten progressively more liberal and lopsidedly Democratic. Taxes and spending are perpetually on the rise and the state’s heavy reliance on government jobs seems to shield it from the disastrous consequences that should follow the state’s economic policies.
What’s worse, the Maryland state GOP is moribund and dispirited. In the mid 1990s, we had four Republican congressmen — ranging from moderately liberal Connie Morell to staunchly conservative Roscoe Bartlett. Now we have just one Republican congressman, Rep. Andy Harris, who, while a great congressman would probably not make for a very exciting contender for governor in 2014.
Among state legislators, the best bet to run for governor may be E.J. Pipkin, who represents the Eastern Shore. Again, a good conservative legislator, but probably not anyone who’s going to excite the electorate.
What about county executives? There may be one or two who could catch on fire, but the ones from the most populous and swing-vote rich counties are all Democrats, with the exception of Anne Arundel, which has a caretaker executive following the disgraced Republican executive’s criminal convictions.
So what to do? At the risk of sounding a bit gimmicky and cynical, I say the Maryland GOP should seriously consider Dr. Ben Carson, assuming he’s game for running, of course.
Both moderates and conservatives should be comfortable with the world-famous neurosurgeon. Dr. Carson quite clearly is an economic conservative and he’s committed to market-oriented solutions to policy problems, but he’s also soft-spoken and assuring. With the proper advising and handling, his excellent bedside manner demeanor can be shaped and crafted for handing a Democratic opponent in debate in a thoughtful, firm, and compelling way. Carson may not win over the most partisan of Democrats, but I imagine he could win perhaps 15-20 percent of the black vote and command a healthy slice of suburban moderate and liberal Democrats.
Carson’s inspiring life story is bound to inspire campaign volunteers, including, I’m sure, many Democrats for Carson, a campaign arm which will be extremely vital in a deep blue state. As for money, I imagine there are quite a few well-heeled doctors, surgeons, and Baltimore-area business executives who would be willing to open their wallets to bankroll Carson’s campaign.
The good doctor is a complete outsider to politics, which means the hyperbolic talk about a presidential run in 2016 is sheer fantasy. But given the state of the GOP in Maryland, having a novice who lacks the MDGOP’s stench of defeat could be just what the doctor ordered for the party to have any chance in 2014 in taking back the 2nd floor of the State House.
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Ken Shepherd is the managing editor of NewsBusters.org and formerly a staff writer for the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. Ken graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland in 2001. He lives in New Carrollton, Md. with his wife and daughter. You can follow him at Twitter at twitter.com/kenshepherd.