Southern Maryland Democrats were out in full force Wednesday, Aug. 6 in Waldorf for a gathering of the faithful. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown and Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer were among the dignitaries attending the General Election Campaign Kickoff at Hilton Garden Inn.
Yvette Lewis, chair of the Maryland Democratic Central Committee, told the gathering crowded into the small room that Maryland Democrats face a tough battle in November and encouraged the party faithful to join her in the fight and warned it would not be a cakewalk. “We’re in a tough climate,” she said. “The thing that will carry the day will be your passion.”
Lewis told the gathering that Democrats must tell their story every single day and make sure they get the message out. She said that she is hopeful a larger turnout of Democrats will vote in the upcoming General Election. She said the showing in the primary turnout was disappointing. “Twenty-two percent is not working for me,” she said. “We’re better than that.”
Franics "Jack" Russell, president of the St. Mary’s County Commissioners, the lone Democrat on a board of Republicans who is also chairman of the Brown/Ulman campaign in St. Mary’s, told the group to keep fighting. “In keeping with the theme, I am one of the lonely souls out in the hinterland,” Russell said.
Senator Mac Middleton said, “This race is for the Democrats, if we lose it is because of us.” He told the party faithful to look at the list of candidates. “We’ve got the best,” he said. “We can win it, but we have to do the hard work.”
Middleton added that Charles County has been very divided and said it was time for Democrats to work together. Comparing Brown to the coxswain of a rowing team, he noted it was time to row together as a team. We want a cohesive team working together here in Charles County,” he said.
Hoyer stated that he has concern about “our county, our state, our nation.
“Our Pledge of Allegiance says, ‘One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all',’” he said. “But in Washington, people are spending all their time trying to divide us, trying to push us apart.”
HHoyer explained that Democrats have always stood for being together, cooperation, a doctrine that has helped to make the country successful. “That is what is challenging our country,” he noted. He said the divisiveness in Washington has fostered an unwillingness to work together.” He stressed that people need to listen to one another.
“In Congress, on one side you see a part of America, on the other side you see all of America,” Hoyer said. “We are confronting a very divided party on the other side of the aisle. We don’t want to be that party. We don’t want to be divided. We need to expand the middle class, not shrink the middle class.”
Brown said that the Democrats are a party of inclusion and diversity, and recognize that everyone has a responsibility to create opportunities. “This isn’t just about Brown/Ulman,” he said. “This is about party building throughout the state.”
Brown noted he had a hard primary, but said he had lunch two days ago with Doug Gansler to sit down and talk about how they were going to work together.
“This is what this is all about,” he said. “This election is about the future, where we’re going and the opportunities we are going to create for Marylanders. In this election, Marylanders are going to have a choice. Are we going to fight and protect middle class values or are we going to support the narrow corporate vision where the wealth is in the hands of a few? Are we going to follow in the footsteps of Larry Hogan and cut our way to a balanced budget? That doesn’t work. This election is not about the past,” he concluded. “That’s not what voters are listening for. We want people to do well but not at the expense of the working class. We’ve got to let voters know this is not just a campaign for Anthony Brown, but up and down the ballot.”