Dwyer insists party switch talk is serious

March 23, 2013|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

Del. Don Dwyer said Saturday that his announcement earlier this week that he is considering changing his affiliation from Republican to Democratic is no joke and that he plans to seek re-election regardless of his party.

The Anne Arundel County lawmaker sent out a news release this week that he may launch a movement called "Operation DINO" -- for Democrats in name only -- to encourage Republicans in heavily Democratic counties to re-register to defeat "hard left liberals" in Democratic primaries.

Dwyer insisted that he could win re-election if he runs as a Democrat.

"In my district I don't get elected because I'm a Republican. I get elected  based on what I do down here," he said.

When Dwyer sent out his news release Thursday, with explicitly political content, he used his state email account in what could be seen as a violation of the General Assembly's ethics rules.

Dwyer, an outspoken conservative known for his fierce opposition to same-sex marriage, said he expects an ethics complaint to be filed but he defended his use of his state email account.

"I was communicating with members of my legislative caucus," he said.

The delegate's re-election prospects could be affected by an August 2012 power-boating crash in which he and six others were injured. As a result of the incident, Dwyer was charged  with drunken boating and negligent operation of a vessel and will face trial after the legislative session.

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