The Banks candidacy masterminds


November 21, 2007|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Robert Banks came clean the other day about who put him up to running for Congress. He did it at a news conference teased this way: "Banks To Reveal Source of Congressional Candidacy."

"I will admit that there is some truth to the idea to run for Congress did not originate solely with me, and that there was in fact some outside influence," Banks said in the release.

So, did he confirm the claims of Republican rival Andy Harris - that Rep. Wayne Gilchrest & Co. got Banks in the race to split the anti-incumbent vote?

The Harris campaign has produced an e-mail exchange that took place between Banks and a Harris fundraiser in June, before Banks got into the race. Banks was asked if he would be supporting Harris.

"Actually no," Banks wrote. "Not that the good Senator is a bad guy, actually he is just the opposite. It has more to do with the fact that Wayne is not perfect in my political eyes, but has been a good friend and in my opinion a good leader for our state.

"It is going to be a TOUGH election cycle, as you well know. I feel that to risk bruising up one of our guys and weaken him for a General or knocking him off in a Primary and fielding a STRONGLY CONSERVATIVE Candidate, may open the doors for an unknown to pick up this seat. Once we lose it, it's gone. An `ARCH CONSERVATIVE' will not do well in Baltimore County, considering what Jim Smith was able to pull off at the expense of the Governor in the last election.

"Wayne is a standup human being, a little eccentric, but that ok in my book. Sorry to rattle on ..."

Oh, go on - and on and on and on! The Harris camp loved every word once Banks got into the race himself.

Despite the e-mail, Banks insists that "there is no fancy conspiracy." Once several candidates decided to challenge Gilchrest, Banks said he decided to jump in, too.

"We're not playing a game of Clue here," he said. "We're running for Congress."

So who were the co-conspirators Banks trotted out at his press conference? His daughters, 11-year-old Lainey and 8-year-old twins Madelyn and Lauren.

"It was completely a family decision to take this leap," Banks said. "Lauren thought that we would live in the Capitol dome. She wanted to know if there was a bedroom in the way top."

Harris was not impressed by the stunt.

"I am proud to have the endorsement of my five children," he said. "They join former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich and seven of the eight Republican senators who have endorsed my candidacy."

Holly jolly doggerel from the State House

Making the rounds in Annapolis is a little ditty that begins this way: "On the first day of extraordinary special session / my Governor gave to me / some dark Irish poetry."

Even in a holiday week, I only have so much space, so I'll cut to the last verse: "On the twelfth day of extraordinary special session / the ink-stained wretches gave to me / Twelve deadlines drumming / Eleven minutes of Pipkin preaching / Ten lobbyists leaping / Nine delegates dancing / Eight filibusters busting / Seven weeks til next session / Six votes a-swaying / Five spots for slots! / Four Green Bay Funds / Three Franchot gems / Two feuding Mikes / And some dark Irish poetry."

Said the songwriter, a self-described General Assembly geek who swore me to secrecy: "[W]hat can I say, it gets a little boring sitting in the Senate gallery waiting for your bill to get a vote."

I can tell you the writer was not William O'Malley, though The Sun's Andy Green tells me the 10-year-old was up watching all the legislative action waaay past bedtime.Connect the dots

Who was that bearer of Thanksgiving tidings going table to table at Belvedere Square on Saturday, saying, "Gobble, gobble, gobble"? Why it was Maryland's senior senator. My spy tells me Barbara Mikulski then sat down alone for a sushi lunch. ... This week's New Yorker delivers bad news to the University of Maryland mascot, assuming it wants to keep its name for itself. In an article on Iraq, writer Jon Lee Anderson notes that Iraqi interpreters are "known as Terps." ... Four-Hour Workweek guru Tim Ferriss has nothing on Bob Ehrlich. The former Gov is getting more productive all the time. He's working at a law firm, writing a book, co-hosting a Saturday radio show on WBAL and chairing Rudy Giuliani's Mid-Atlantic campaign. Somehow he has time for yet another job, just announced this week: political commentator on WMAR. Station general manager Bill Hooper said Ehrlich will discuss state and national politics. As someone mulling a rematch with Martin O'Malley and working on Giuliani's campaign, Ehrlich won't be billed as an objective observer. Said Hooper: "We'll certainly have a disclaimer."

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