By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun
6:45 PM EDT, March 21, 2013
Del. Don Dwyer, one of the General Assembly's most conservative Republicans, said Thursday that he may change his registration to Democratic as part of a move to infiltrate that party's primaries and vote out liberal incumbents.
Dwyer, of Anne Arundel County, announced on his website that he is considering launching a movement called "Operation DINO" -- for Democrats in name only -- to encourage Republicans in heavily Democratic counties to re-register to "vote out the hard left liberals who are hell-bent on taking away our liberties."
"If the gun community alone follows me in this strategic plan, we can have a real effect on the next statewide election. What we have been doing for decades is NOT working," he said on www.DelegateDwyer.com.
It was not clear whether Dwyer was serious or getting a jump on April Fool's Day.
If Dwyer were to re-register as a Democrat, that would seem to preclude any effort to run for re-election in 2014 as a Republican. The delegate's re-election prospects have already been clouded by an August 2012 power-boating crash in which he and six others were injured. Dwyer, whose blood-alcohol level was measured at three times the legal limit, faces charges of drunken boating and negligent operation of a vessel and will face trial after the legislative session.
Dwyer's political calculus may need some checking as well. He gives some examples of Democratic co-sponsors of Gov. Martin O'Malley's gun bill who won their 2010 primaries by narrow margins. But in most of those cases, the second-place finishers were as or more liberal than the winners.
In addition to posting on his website, Dwyer spread the news of his plan in an email teasingly headlined: "Delegate Dwyer to Become a Democrat?" The email, purely political in nature, was sent using his state email account by his legislative aide -- an apparent violation of the rules set by the Joint Committee on Ethics.
"The Ethics Committee has determined that public resources such as telephones, computers, email, and fax machines should not be used in any systematic way for business, personal or political campaign purposes," the legislature's ethics guide says.
Calls to Dwyer were not answered Thursday night.
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