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Shoemaker and Tomlinson win slugfest campaigns by wide margins
And the vanilla campaign tactic they attribute their success to
Ascending State’s Attorney Haven Shoemaker and District 5 Delegate Chris Tomlinson emerge as big winners in the wake of Carroll County’s primary elections this week.
Both slogged through slugfest campaigns that devolved often into chippy confrontations in person and online, to realize what ended up amounting to wide margin victories.
When I asked Shoemaker about his win, he talked to me about how he grew up in a trailer park and how that humblest of beginnings allows him to connect with the often modest people of Carroll in a uniquely intimate way. He knows them because he is them.
It is indeed an origin story that stands in stark contrast to his opposition, whose grandfather was a storied lawyer nicknamed the “maestro of medical malpractice torts” who once famously represented a couple whose daughter died of a rare disease only for it to be later revealed the deceased child was actually not theirs due to a freak switched-at-birth accident.
The opposition regardless ran a hell of a campaign, emphasizing his qualifications and building a coalition of both staunch conservatives and moderates, virtually sweeping conservative club endorsements in Carroll.
Also working in his electoral favor was the ongoing controversy entangling the Sheriff’s Office and State’s Attorney’s Office for allegedly turning a blind eye to certain unsavory activity.
But nonetheless Shoemaker came out on top in a big way. In his estimation Sheriff DeWees is still the most popular politician in all of Carroll and his endorsement remains untarnished.
Couple that top down-endorsement with a few others and a name recognition that rolls over all the hills of the county and the result is success.
There is a guy up the street from me who works on small engines out of his garage. He fixes my lawnmower whenever a belt slips and other things like that. He doesn’t follow local politics hardly at all, but he knows Haven Shoemaker and he knows he likes McRibs and he cast a ballot Haven’s way for basically those reasons.
Sure that is a little quirky. But there is a skill to be admired here. A skill that sees Shoemaker balance an appealing awww shucks relatability with the aura of competence required to inspire the public’s faith that he is best fit to preside over the prosecuting of Carroll’s baddest guys in a courtroom.
Shoemaker will now have been a Mayor, a Commissioner, a Delegate and House Minority Whip, and a State’s Attorney — in what can only be considered a remarkable record of sustained success in state and local politics.
Onto Tomlinson, who half jokingly told me he would have been happy with getting one vote better than fourth place so long as it meant he’d get one of the three Delegate posts. But in the end it appears he’ll be nearer to first than fourth, finishing a semi-distant second from April Rose yet well ahead of Eric Bouchat and Sallie Taylor, who at the time of this writing are still jostling for the third spot contingent on the counting of mail in votes.
For Tomlinson’s money he was the hardest worker in his contest, estimating that he’d probably knocked on 10,000 doors since his campaign kicked off in February. Shoemaker similarly said he took to door knocking early and often.
During a time of so many likes and shares and sponsored posts and bloggers and all the virtual rest, it appears local politics is still in large part a game won in person and on the ground.
Of course also boosting Tomlinson’s candidacy were endorsements and joint commercials with incumbents Rose and Ready. In fact I think the same deep quivery voiced fella who voiced the threesome’s ads also voiced Shoemaker’s.
But regardless, Tomlinson was able to fend off progressives who fluidly identify as Republicans and capable Cox wing conservatives who came in hot on the offensive, by staying on message and stoic in the face of a little public pressure.
Whatever scrutiny there may have been over his resume or a perceived lack of life experience dissolved away at the ballot box.
Maryland Muckraker is a completely independent and fearlessly conservative blog covering local issues by me, Ethan Reese. After spending nearly a decade in corporate Baltimore in marketing technology, figured I’d have a go at writing. Since then I’ve contributed articles to FOX’s OutKick, PJ Media, and Rare Politics, as well as being named a Writing Fellow with the America’s Future Foundation.