If politics is a horse race, then pollster Patrick E. Gonzales risks becoming the 300-pound jockey of Anne Arundel County.
After leaving a job two years ago with Mason-Dixon Opinion Research to start his own consulting business, PEG Research, he has ridden two Democratic campaigns into the dirt.
Gonzales was first thrown from his mount last year after suiting up as the pollster for Annapolis Mayor Dennis M. Callahan's losing primary bid for re-election.
And last week, he never approached the finish line as campaign manager for County Councilman Michael F. Gilligan, who pulled up lame in the primary race for county executive.
"I made Dennis aware that the ship was sinking but he chose to ignore it," Gonzales said Thursday as he cleared out his desk in Gilligan's law office.
But he took full blame for riding Gilligan to the show position behind Callahan and winner Theodore J. Sophocleus, the two-term councilman from Linthicum.
"Mike followed what I told him," Gonzales said. "We just got lost in the Sophocleus triangle."
Sophocleus, he said, was ahead wire to wire after setting track records as a yearling in appearances at civic groups countywide.
But Gonzales isn't giving up. He said he called state Senate races in Baltimore and Prince George's counties after doing poll work for losing anti-abortion incumbents Francis X. Kelly and Frank J. Komenda.
Closer to home, Gonzales said his polls show that anti-abortion senators Michael J. Wagner, D-Fernadale, and John A. Cade, R-Severna Park, would both be vulnerable if anybody bothered to challenge them.
As for his own future, Gonzales is looking for poll work between now and the Nov. 6 general election.
But there's one race he won't go near: Democrat Patricia M. LoCascio's bid for county register of wills.
That's his mother, you see, and she trounced her nearest primary opponent by almost a 2-to-1 margin.
"She's done real good without me," Gonzales said. "I wouldn't want to jinx her."