To my fellow Republicans I'd like to say that three years ago, Del. Steve Schuh asked me to be on his steering committee for his campaign to replace Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. I agreed to support Steve at the time, as I considered him a competent, somewhat conservative businessman who was active in the Republican Party. This week, however, I walked into an early voting center and cast my vote for Laura Neuman as county executive, and I'd like to explain why I changed my mind.
First, in light of the radically different claims by the candidates as to voting records, backgrounds, etc., I conducted more personal research on this race than any other election I've voted in. I have reviewed (boring) budgets, tax bills, health care legislation, etc., and watched the debates with particular interest. My conclusion is that Ms. Neuman has done a great job as county executive, governed as a fiscal conservative, cleaned out the Leopold barn and has become a rising star in the Republican Party.
Second, I wanted to know why the bulk of the Republican establishment was backing Mr. Schuh. The fact that a lot of prominent Republicans were refusing to back Ms. Neuman caused me concern. Did they know something that I didn't?
So I called dozens of Schuh endorsers and asked: Why are you supporting Steve over Laura? The answer I received was strikingly similar: "Steve raised a lot of money for my past campaigns, I owe him a favor." Many of these elected officials expressed regret that they had signed on years ago to the Schuh campaign, and had many kind words for Ms. Neuman. In light of the shallow and self-serving reasons these politicians cited for supporting Mr. Schuh, I respectfully rejected the marching orders of the party establishment.
Third, my major objection to Mr. Schuh's record is something that the Neuman campaign hasn't emphasized: Steve's sponsorship of the "individual mandate" bill in the General Assembly. When I heard Mr. Schuh at the Severna Park debate admit that he had sponsored a bill that would require all Marylanders to buy expensive, government-approved health insurance, I nearly fell out of my chair.
The so-called individual mandate is the heart and soul of Obamacare. In fact, the "individual mandate" was the issue in the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision upholding Obamacare. When one supports the individual mandate, one supports Obamacare. Mr. Schuh co-sponsored the bill with uber-liberal Democratic gubernatorial candidate Del. Heather Mizeur.
For all these reasons, I hope Republicans will join me in doing two things by voting for Ms. Neuman. First, let's keep an outstanding county executive who is one of the party's rising stars. And second, your vote will send a message to the Republican establishment that we vote based on the person, their accomplishments and their platform, not on who is owed the most political favors.
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