East County GOP Seeks To Impact Congressional Race
Republican candidates for the 2nd Congressional District primary have been invited to a debate set for March 15 at the Del Capri in Dundalk.
When state Sen. Nancy Jacobs decided to formally announce her intentions of running for Congress, the Republican didn’t choose her home base of Harford County.
Instead, the longtime state legislator announced her candidacy for Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District seat at JAD’s Caddyshack in Essex. Jacobs said eastern Baltimore County would play a vital role in deciding the nominee and also the winner of the general election in November.
“I believe that Essex, Middle River and Dundalk are all communities in play during this election,” Jacobs said. “If there was ever a year a Republican could win this seat, this is the year.”
Jacobs is one of five Republican challengers trying to unseat incumbent Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger. The Baltimore County Democrat has represented the district —which includes parts of Baltimore, Harford County and Anne Arundel County—since 2003. Other challengers include Del. Rick Impallaria and former Capitol Hill staff member Larry Smith, a retired lieutenant colonel from Timonium.
Members of the East County Republican Club in Baltimore County share Jacobs’ view that a GOP candidate has a viable chance of taking the seat, despite Maryland’s Democratic voting tendencies.
The club has invited the Republican candidates to participate in a debate, set for 7 p.m. March 15 at the Del Capri in Dundalk.
Ric Metzgar, the club’s president, said his organization’s monthly meetings have seen a spike in attendance of its monthly meetings at Uncle Eddie’s in Essex over the last year. He said many local voters have grown frustrated as Maryland has addressed such hot-button issues as offering in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and same-sex marriage.
Over the last year, Metzgar said, attendance at the monthly meetings have gone from less than a dozen to more than 20 to nearly 50.
“As these issues have come up, we’ve seen interest in our organization grow,” said Metzgar, who ran for a seat in the Sixth District in the House of Delegates in 2010. “There are a lot of lifelong Democrats in eastern Baltimore County who believe the current party has gotten too liberal for them in Maryland.”
East County Republican Club Vice President George Krach said he expects Essex, Middle River and Dundalk to influence the congressional race. He added that the club will not endorse any primary candidate, but instead will support whoever wins this spring in the general election.
“We have a lot of disenchanted voters with Dutch, who still remember SB509,” said Krach, referring to Senate Bill 509. The 2000 bill proposed by Ruppersberger during his time as county executive would have expanded the local government’s eminent domain powers in the county. It was defeated soundly in a referendum with 70 percent of voters rejecting the bill.
Impallaria’s auto body shop was located in Middle River and was targeted for condemnation under eminent domain.
"I have a history with Dutch and the 509 issue," Impallaria told Patch in January.
Smith said the Essex-Middle River area is right in the center of the district and believes residents in those communities are actively seeking a candidate of change.
“Speaking to people all over the district, I see a lot of them concerned that their children have a future that is not guaranteed,” Smith said. “The biggest thing I hear is that people are no longer concerned about party. They are concerned about who has ideas and who is willing to make the tough choices to ensure our country’s future.”