Dunkirk Man May Oppose O'Malley in 2010 Democratic Primary

2010 Race is Beginning to Heat Up

Commentary by Ron Miller

Commentary by Ron Miller(May 7, 2009) The Associated Press today reported that George Owings III of Dunkirk "says he is seriously considering challenging Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley in next year’s Democratic primary." Owens says he expects to make a final decision within 60 days of today, according to the AP report.

For readers who don't know, George Owings is a former Marine and long-time Calvert County delegate. The back story here is that he hoped to retain his position as secretary of veterans affairs after Gov. O'Malley took office and Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller lobbied for him to remain. Gov. O'Malley wanted his own people, however, and it is possible, given the enmity between Ehrlich and O'Malley, that the governor didn't want an Ehrlich appointee in his cabinet, even if he was a Democrat.

I know and like George a great deal and, at a robust and active 63, he's not ready to hang it up. If this challenge does indeed come to pass, he could be the first of potentially three Democrats to challenge a sitting Democratic governor in the primary next year. Peter Franchot, the current state comptroller, has fought O'Malley on a number of issues throughout his first term. Franchot positions himself as a fiscally responsible alternative to the kick-the-can-down-the road approach taken by O'Malley who doesn't seem capable of making a tough decision or instituting a long-term plan for the state's fiscal help. I like some of Franchot's ideas and he was a fierce opponent of the slots amendment to the Constitution which had us on the same side for a time last year. Despite his fiscal message, the former Montgomery County delegate is still from the liberal side of the fence.

The other possible challenger is Doug Duncan, the former Montgomery County executive who mounted a strong primary challenge to O'Malley in 2006 before he was forced to quit the race due to a diagnosis of clinical depression. He appears to be ready to re-enter the fray and a scathing editorial in the Washington Post laid out his criticism of the current administration's approach to governance and fiscal management.

Throw in a Republican primary with Charles Lollar, Mike Pappas and maybe even the ex-Gov Ehrlich and the 2010 race is beginning to heat up.

One last note: George is a conservative Democrat, the kind that used to dominate Maryland politics decades ago. That may put him at a disadvantage in a Democratic primary, but he's always welcome to follow his heart and join the GOP...or would that be too much after Arlen Specter's defection?

Ron Miller, of Huntingtown, is a conservative blogger and activist, former and future candidate for the Maryland Senate, and communications director for the Calvert County Republican Party. Ron is a regular contributor to RegularFolksUnited.com, RedCounty.com, and ProLifeUnity.com. You can also follow Ron on his website TeamRonMiller.com, as well as Twitter and Facebook.

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