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Political Notes: Pittman’s thoughts on a new friend McMillan, plus fundraisers and staff news

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Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) announces an eviction relief package for renters in 2020. File photo by Bennett Leckrone.

It would be an exaggeration to call it a bromance.

But you might want to say it’s a reminder that politics makes for weird bedfellows. Or that in politics, as in life, the enemy of my enemy is usually my friend.

That is the best way to describe the level of admiration that is now being expressed amongst the ex-del. state Herb McMillan, who lost a Republican primary for county executive to Anne Arundel earlier this year, and the man he hoped to defeat, Steuart Pittman, the Democrat. headline.

Earlier this month, McMillan wrote a commentary in The Capital/Gazette newspaper that was harshly critical of County Councilwoman Jessica Haire, who defeated McMillan in the Republican primary for county executive. McMillan and Haire clashed bitterly during the primary, with McMillan using the op-ed to criticize Haire for accepting $250,000 in campaign contributions from different entities connected to a development company and then saying he didn’t know the developer was looking to build a debris dump in Anne Arundel County. He also offered a stark assessment of Haire’s campaign tactics and tried to compare them to Pittman’s.

“Integrity matters,” McMillan wrote. “A county executive who is untrustworthy and dishonest cannot lead. This leaves many Republicans and independents with a tough choice. Alexander Hamilton faced a similar dilemma when he endorsed Jefferson over Burr in 1801. Just as Hamilton disagreed with Jefferson, I disagree with all the policies Steuart Pittman supports; but like Jefferson, Pittman has principles; and like Burr, Haire has nothing but self-interest. Republicans must choose between draining the swamp or simply feeding their party’s alligators.”

Unsurprisingly, the Pittman campaign began spreading McMillan’s kind words in campaign literature and online messaging. A text message from the campaign read: “I’m reaching out to make sure you saw Herb McMillan’s op-ed in the Capital Gazette last week. Herb is a principled Republican and represented Anne Arundel County for 3 terms in the House of Delegates. He is speaking out to protect our county from Jessica Haire.”

In an interview, Pittman said his campaign has been getting that message across to Republican voters in particular.

“I was a bit surprised when I read your column about me,” he said. “I can’t deny that it’s useful.”

OK fair enough. Two completely different types of ideologies with a common enemy, Haire, admiring each other’s principles.

Of course, this occurs when a super PAC supporting Pittman is running an ad claiming that Haire is a covert “MAGA Republican,” even though McMillan was much more associated with the MAGA movement than Haire was during the GOP primary. . Right-wing critics have sometimes called her RINO (Republican in name only).

What’s more, Pittman has privately disparaged McMillan and his supporters in the past. A text exchange from the summer between Pittman and a prominent Anne Arundel County resident, obtained by Maryland Matters, showed Pittman saying at the time, “I don’t know Herb very well, but I haven’t heard much about his character.” .

When a Haire supporter relayed to Pittman an angry incident involving apparent McMillan supporters, he wrote, “McMillan seems to get his following from the bars he hangs out at. They should sober up before they open their mouths.”

When asked about the texts, Pittman pointed to McMillan’s “reputation” of having “a very difficult personality,” often throwing the late state House Speaker Michael Busch (D) into tantrums, who shared a district with McMillan.

“I’m not in a position to talk to his character,” Pittman added. But he tried to contrast McMillan’s reputation for outspokenness with Haire’s, suggesting that his Republican challenger isn’t always outspoken with voters.

“He is a politician who drives hard and feels very strongly about what he says,” Pittman said.

Doug Mayer, senior adviser to the Haire campaign, weighed in on Pittman’s text messages.

“If Mr. Pittman spent less time trying to emulate Karl Rove and more time running the county, maybe he wouldn’t be losing out,” Mayer said. “Either way, calling tens of thousands of your own constituents ‘drunks’ is a great way to end a campaign.”

Pittman and Haire are scheduled to debate in Annapolis Tuesday night at an event sponsored by the Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce.

The Clinton–Moore ticket

We’ve already lost track of all the fundraisers Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore is having this fall, but one upcoming event stood out: He and Hillary Clinton are scheduled to take part in an online leadership conversation on March 25. october.

The fundraiser does not directly benefit Moore’s campaign, but it will raise money for the Maryland Democratic Party for its operation to turn out Democrats on all ballots. Ticket prices start at $100. A $5,000 contribution gets the donor to an online VIP reception with Clinton and Moore.

Bereavement Fundraisers in Harford County

One of the most competitive legislative races this fall is in Harford County’s 34th District, where two former delegates, Christian Miele (R) and Mary-Dulany James (D), are vying for an open state Senate seat. On Thursday night, they will be raising money at the exact same time.

Miele has an event scheduled with the man he hopes to replace, state Sen. Robert Cassilly (R), who is the heavy favorite to be elected Harford County executive next month, and former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R). Tickets for the fundraiser, to be held at Miele’s home in Bel Air, start at $100.

James, who was defeated by Cassilly in the 2018 and 2014 Senate races, is raising money with State Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) at Coakley’s Pub in Havre de Grace. Tickets for that event start at $50.

In a conservative district in an election cycle that appears to be going the way of Republicans nationally, Miele is probably the slight favorite. But he’s also relatively new to the district, having represented Baltimore County in the House of Delegates before losing a Senate race there in 2018. He’s since moved to Harford, where his wife grew up.

James served in the House from 1999 to 2015, and his father is the late President of the State Senate and State Treasurer William S. James.

staff notes

Several prominent Maryland organizations have announced key hires in recent days:

The Greater Baltimore Committee will bring in Mark Anthony Thomas as its new President and CEO. Thomas comes to Baltimore from Pittsburgh, where he currently serves as president of the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), a 10-county regional trade organization for southwestern Pennsylvania.

He has also worked for economic development organizations and public-private partnerships in New York and Los Angeles, among other places.

Thomas will serve as the GBC‘s first CEO since the organization’s merger last spring with the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore (EAGB). He replaces Don Fry, a former state legislator who led the organization for two decades.

“At the beginning of this process, we merged two organizations to deliberately work together, strengthening our communities and the region’s economy,” said Calvin Butler, senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of Exelon and GBCchairman. “Our next milestone was securing a dynamic leader to define a new vision for inclusive economic growth and development. Mark’s proven experience, leadership, and collaboration with stakeholders in business, government, nonprofits, academia, and the broader community will be critical in advancing initiatives that build the region’s assets. ”.

Meanwhile, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield, the health care company, announced it has hired Charlene MacDonald as Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs following an extensive executive search.

Most recently, MacDonald served as Senior General Manager, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences at FTI Consulting, where she led a team of professionals representing health systems, trade associations, coalitions and corporate clients. She but she has also served as a senior health policy adviser to US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

“Charlene’s time on Capitol Hill was largely focused on policy efforts to protect and expand access to care. She has an excellent reputation as a leader in health policy and has considerable depth on the issues that are important and relevant to the communities and people we serve,” said CareFirst President and CEO Brian D. Pieninck. “…This experience, coupled with her experience in the private sector and trade associations, gives her the political skills and knowledge, fairness in relationships, and company-wide vision to lead our mission-aligned role for CareFirst.”

And another local political veteran is also clinging to a regional trade association.

The Association of Office and Apartment Buildings of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) is adding Brian Anleu to its government affairs team as vice president of Maryland Government Affairs. Anleu will represent the organization and its members before the General Assembly and the Montgomery and Prince George’s County Councils.

Most recently, Anleu served as chief of staff for the Montgomery County Planning Board. He was also deputy chief of staff to Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker (D) for five years.

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