In 1994, amidst a brand new Republican Congress under the direction and leadership of soon-to-be Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and the ‘Contract with America’, two Maryland legislators were also getting there feet wet in the political process. Elected to the House of Delegates from opposite sides of the tracks were of course 4th district Delegate David Brinkley from Frederick County and 34th district Delegate Nancy Jacobs from Harford County. Both elected by their respected constituencies with soon to be seen higher aspirations and goals for each on the horizon.
As they both served in leadership in the House as Deputy Minority Whips, Mrs. Jacobs moved on in four years, being elected by the people of the 34th district to serve as their Senator starting on January 13, 1999. Following not to far behind his freshman classmate of 1994, Mr. Brinkley then went on to be elected to represent the fine people of the 4th district as their Senator as well, beginning on January 8, 2003. Two different districts, multiple different counties, yet one similar path; to the Maryland State Senate for distinguished and honorable service and leadership.
Though Senator Brinkley quickly rose to be Minority Leader of the Caucus in 2006, he soon became overwhelmed and consumed by the priorities and responsibilities of his ever-important duties on the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee, leaving little room for much else. However, as Senator Jacobs slowly rose in stature, first in the Senate’s Education, Health and Enviromental Health Committee (formerly Economic and Environmental Affairs Committee), she later went on to serve on the Judicial Proceedings Committee and has served as the Caucus’ Minority Whip since 2008. Now however, being defeated by a resurging Senator Brinkley in November for the Whip position, with the vacancy at the top spot for Minority Leader, due to the recent relinguish of the post by Senator Allan Kittleman, Marylanders now get to witness a heavyweight rematch between two distinguishly defined warriors in the 47-member State Senate.
With a fairly new make-up with a few fresh faces that transfered over from the House such as Senators J.B. Jennings and Christopher Shank, the fight for the top post seems to be down to just one possible vote, i.e. one Senator can be the difference maker in tomorrow’s Senate Minority Leader election. With only twelve members in the caucus, as opposed to the fourteen the Republicans held the past four years losing two seats this past 2010 election cycle, the contest could be brief in its voting process yet long in its outcome as having an even amount of legislators it could easily turnout to have each Senator having 5-Senators for them, with their vote for themselves included making it a 6-6 tie for the position.
However the upcoming rematch in which it has been told by me from GOP insiders that “though Senator Brinkley barely defeated Nancy in the November is only because of personal issues she was dealing with it at the time and didn’t seem to have her head completely into the fight for the Whip election.” However those same folks say that “this time around it is different as things have changed for her personally and professionally, people are changing their minds from last time around and she seems to bring a sense of stability to a seemingly unbalanced Caucus leadership that just lost its most prominent leader in Senator Kittleman, unexpectedly!”
As Senator Kittleman steps away from his leadership post to further his own social agenda and causes, some think that “the leadership provided by Allan and Nancy were excellent, and since we cannot have both in there, we need at least one remaining in order to keep things consistent and in order for what is set to be a very contentious and battle-tested year of politics,” says one Senate staffer who wishes to remain anonymous. “We are taking a big risk if we first select someone for the Whip position two months ago, who then turns around and wants the leadership job less than 60-days later, and expect anything to come from his leadership but pure politics and selfish ambition!”
However others are torn between the two, as both have certain friends and allies on the Caucus, with newer members maybe still trying to feel out both of their leadership qualities and abilities. One House GOP staffer told the Examiner that “they thought it be a bad idea to reach back into the past [Brinkley’s prior Minority Leader position in 2006] and expect to move forward into the future with that same person; it just does not equate good practical, scientific or rationale thought to do such a thing?” They felt that it was “hi-tide that the Senate finally see a woman in leadership over there? In fact with the Good Ole Party having an image of a old, rich, chubby white guy, we need all the beautiful Jacobs, or Haddaway-Riccio make-overs we can get,” said this staffer who happened to be referring to the newly elected House Minority Whip, the Eastern Shore’s 37th district Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio.
Whatever the case may be, as I made the case for Kendel Ehrlich being the Republican’s nominee for Governor in 2010 and explained the reason why, one being that she was a woman which most average voters’ seem to be able to connect with; the down-to-earth, plain spoken former public defender would have made for an excellent statewide candidate for Governor? A lot better candidacy than her husband, Robert ‘Bob’ Ehrlich could have, I tell you that! Anyway, with the distinguished two years of Minority leadership service she has given this body, with over sixteen years of public service (four in the House and twelve in the Senate), along with her nurturing ways as a mother of three daughters and five grandchildren, along with being a former business owner, teacher and radio personality/political pundit, Senator Jacob’s has what it takes to get things done in this tough economical session filled with plenty of heartache and pains, especially with cuts apparently coming to schools and small business owners from this Democratic adminsitration? Would someone like Senator Brinkley, who is first said to have too close a buddy-buddy relationship with Senate President Thomas ‘Mike’ Miller, who is a member of the Budget committee who shall be knee-deep in budgetary items, issues and concerns, who will have to probably vote for a crazy looking Democratic final budget because of his B&T post, actually be a good, effective leader for the dwindling minority party? Maybe good, yet not great?! Maybe effiecient, yet not effective?! I say they [Senate GOP Minority] need a Senator Jacobs in that leadership position to save the Party, its image and their struggling need for tenured leadership!
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