A Republican Congressional primary and a surprise Democratic resignation upend Virginia politics. A longtime D.C. politician gets back in the game by announcing an independent mayoral campaign. And Maryland’s front-running gubernatorial candidate opens up a lead in the polls, while the state’s race for attorney general tightens up down the final stretch. Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Guests

  • Matt Bush Maryland Reporter, WAMU 88.5
  • Douglas Gansler Democratic Candidate for Governor of Maryland; Maryland Attorney General (D)
  • Tom Davis Director of federal government affairs, Deloitte LLP; Vice Chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority; President, Republican Main Street Partnership; Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Va, Dist. 11).

Gansler: Brown Using “Tricks And Dirty Politics”

Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler (D) said Lt. Gov Anthony Brown, a fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidate, had taken to “attack[ing] my family and me personally” as the two, along with Maryland Del. Heather Mizeur, vie for a nod in the June 24 primary.

When a caller on the Kojo Nnamdi Show’s Politics Hour questioned Gansler’s judgement and ability to serve the state’s top office, referencing Gansler’s choice not to intervene in a party that allegedly included underage drinking when he stopped by the gathering to speak to his son, Gansler defended his “22 years of public service.”

It wasn’t until Brown entered the race, Gansler said, that people had ever questioned his judgement or character.

He noted neither the police nor the chaperones of the party shut the gathering down when they had stopped by the Delaware beach house earlier in the evening.

“I think people can see through those kinds of tricks and dirty politics,” he said.

Watch A Featured Clip

Maryland “could not be worse in terms of transparency and open government, Attorney General Doug Gansler told Kojo Nnamdi on Friday on his weekly Politics Hour.

Watch the clip below to see Gansler discuss his plans to improve transparency across the state.

Watch Full Video

Watch the full video of our Politics Hour with Doug Gansler and WAMU reporter Matt Bush.

Transcript

  • 12:06:39

    MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington welcome to the Politics Hour. Today guest starring WAMU 88.5's Matt Bush. I'm Kojo Nnamdi. As I mentioned, Matt Bush is our guest analyst today. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. Matt joins us in studio today. If you go to our website kojoshow.org, we are live video streaming today's broadcast. Matt, on a regular basis we don't live video stream. Why do you think we're live video streaming today?

  • 12:07:22

    MR. MATT BUSHI don't know. I do know that I didn't shave this morning. I kind of thought maybe I'm now kind of regretting that I didn't.

  • 12:07:28

    NNAMDIWake up, hairdresser. Where are they? (laugh) I think we're video streaming live today because of the guest.

  • 12:07:35

    BUSHI would imagine that's what it is.

  • 12:07:36

    NNAMDIYou think so?

  • 12:07:38

    BUSHI would've guessed that.

  • 12:07:38

    NNAMDIOur guest raises our level of importance, I would like to think that we raise his level of importance. He is Doug Gansler, Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland. He's currently the state's Attorney General. The Democratic primary in Maryland is on June 24 and you should know that early voting is open. Doug Gansler, thank you for joining us.

  • 12:07:58

    MR. DOUGLAS GANSLERIt's good to be with you again.

  • 12:07:59

    NNAMDIIf you have comments or questions for Doug Gansler, call us at 800-433-8850. You can send email to kojo@wamu.org. Shoot us a tweet @kojoshow. Or you can simply go to our website kojoshow.org and join the conversation there. Let's talk about first the race to replace Doug Gansler. Involved in that race the candidate Senator Brian Frosh and delegate Jon Cardin. Jon Cardin has a narrow lead in that race but what's interesting is that during the course of the last two weeks, Brian Frosh's support has been increasing and it's roughly tripled since February.

  • 12:08:44

    NNAMDIAlso in that race of course is delegate Aisha Braveboy. She is now polling third at 13 percent. Twenty-six percent say they support Cardin but that's within the 7 percent margin of error, 20 percent for Frosh. What's going on here?

  • 12:08:59

    BUSHSenator Frosh has more of the establishment backing here. Governor O'Malley has come out for him. He's also run a television ad here in the D.C. area. And I think also what was expected when the first polls in this race came out, you know, Jon Cardin was in the lead. And that was almost exclusively -- even the pollster said -- because of name recognition. His uncle is Ben Cardin, the U.S. Senator who's very popular in Maryland. So once maybe more and more that people realize this is Jon Cardin, not Ben Cardin, things begin to change a little bit.

  • 12:09:31

    BUSHAnd also, Cardin's campaign -- for those who, you know, I think it's more the hardcore political people in Maryland who have been following this, Cardin's campaign has had a few slipups in the past few weeks. Most notably the support of a rapper Ski Money, who supported him via twitter and Cardin touted it. And then shortly after that realized that Ski Money, whose real name is Lawrence Christian, is under arrest for human trafficking. And Cardin is someone who has talked about how he has passed bills in the general assembly to combat human trafficking. So then he had to rescind the support...

  • 12:10:02

    NNAMDI...distanced himself in a hurry.

  • 12:10:04

    BUSH...distancing himself quite in a hurry. So there's been sort of slipups and there's that -- and there's also Frosh's. He's been the senator for a very long time in Maryland. And he heads the judicial proceedings committee. So he has a lot of the experience. But he also is sort of known and this is -- people who cover the general assembly and people who are around the general assembly not a lot know that he has a very deliberate approach in how he does his job out in Annapolis. So it might not be that much of a surprise. So he's doing his campaigning in a very deliberative way too.

  • 12:10:31

    NNAMDIThe incumbent has not endorsed anyone in that race, but what is your own observation about how that campaign is going?

  • 12:10:38

    GANSLERYeah, I do think it's unseemly to endorse your successor. (laugh) And so I have stayed out of it. I think they're both very good. And Aisha Braveboy, by the way, is very good though she hasn't been able to get traction in this particular race. They're both quality people. I mean, you know, to match sort of two points he raised, you know, the polls are obviously irrelevant. In this election we just saw, you know, Eric Cantor -- the Washington post had him up by 34 points ten days ahead. And the only question in the article is whether he'd win by more than 20 or not and he lost by 12. So they were 46 percent off.

  • 12:11:12

    GANSLERBecause it's very difficult to poll in this particular primary, so I'm not sure either -- the polls are actually relevant. But to echo Matt's point, I think Brian Frosh has the entire establishment support. He has all the endorsements for the newspapers. And Jon Cardin is running a campaign more focused in the Baltimore area than down here as well.

  • 12:11:32

    GANSLERAnd when you have the establishment against you, they kind of highlight things like this rapper thing, which of course if he had known that this guy was a human trafficker, he wouldn't have posed for the picture, you know. So it's just kind of silly stuff in this silly season. I think it'll be a tough race but a close race. I really don't know who will win that race. I think they're both competent, quality people and I'll welcome either one to the job.

  • 12:11:53

    NNAMDIOn to your race. From the beginning you have framed your candidacy as a challenge to the state's entrenched Democratic establishment. Early voting is open, less than two weeks to election day. Polls suggest it's still an uphill battle for you to catch up with Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. What's the argument you are making to voters that you hope will close that gap between now and June 24 if, as you pointed out, that gap is indeed a real one?

  • 12:12:17

    GANSLERWell, our polling has a very different gap. It's an extremely tight race. It could go either way according to the polling. And it depends on whether our voters come out and that our message gets across. I mean, I think that the race is pretty clear in terms of what you're asking, you know, the machine, the establishment, the status quo, the special interests against the people. And my opponent the lieutenant governor is solely and wholly funded by the same special interests that have been running Annapolis for these last eight years that have really squeezed the middle class in terms of 40 stray taxes and 30 some odd additional fees and other tools and that kind of thing.

  • 12:12:58

    GANSLERSo I think people understand there's a big difference. And it's a big difference for the state. I mean, one of the things is, you know, for our view it's a very historic election. We've never had a governor elected from Montgomery County that understands the needs of Montgomery County, and that it actually is a place that is majority minority.

  • 12:13:13

    GANSLERAnd we have minority (unintelligible) as does the rest of the state. And Jolene Ivey, my running mate will be our country's first Democratic African American lieutenant governor in the history of the country. So it's historic but we think we have the record and the vision and we're running against somebody who's not so much.

  • 12:13:28

    NNAMDIMatt Bush.

  • 12:13:29

    BUSHOne thing I think that has been sort of said during this campaign but not maybe explicitly said is that you're the attorney general. The lieutenant governor is the lieutenant governor, that you feel your position that you hold currently grooms you better for the job than the role of lieutenant governor in Maryland. Talk about that.

  • 12:13:45

    GANSLERWell, I think that's right. I mean, I think in -- particularly the two of us, I've been in public service for 22 years. I was an assistant United States attorney with Eric Holder and then was the state's attorney for eight years in Montgomery County, the sniper case and the others that many people remember. And then being your attorney general for eight years. And so during these 22 years I've been seeing things that are unfair, unjust and fighting relentlessly to get things done. So I think that's a big difference.

  • 12:14:09

    GANSLERAnd it feeds into your question, which is, the attorney general actually is, you know, the chief law enforcement officer, chief lawyer for the state, has a number of responsibilities. And the reason why attorneys general keep winning all over the country is because they're intricately involved in state government. So we represent every state agency. I've been running government agencies for 16 years.

  • 12:14:29

    GANSLERLieutenant governor's position is -- has no statutory responsibility. You don't manage anybody. You never run anything. And so we're sort of drawing that contrast between me as somebody who sees that things are unfair and gets them done and fixes things versus the one thing lieutenant governors actually managed or led on in his career certain as lieutenant governor, which was the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

  • 12:14:52

    NNAMDIAllow me to go to the telephones. Please don your headphones because Matt stole Ellen in Baltimore's question. Ellen, has your question been satisfactorily answered? Ellen, are you there? Hi, Ellen.

  • 12:15:05

    ELLENI'm here.

  • 12:15:05

    NNAMDIHas your question...

  • 12:15:06

    ELLENHi. I'm here. Can you hear me?

  • 12:15:06

    NNAMDIHas the question been answered to your satisfaction?

  • 12:15:10

    ELLENYeah, well, I actually have another one here, if that's okay.

  • 12:15:12

    NNAMDIOh, oh. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:15:14

    ELLENWell, I was curious as to why on the -- you (unintelligible) your opponent for governor don't like the idea of a middle tax -- sorry, a middle class tax cut.

  • 12:15:25

    GANSLERWell, we just came out with a middle tax -- middle class tax cut because we think the middle class has been getting squeezed over these last eight years. We've lost over 8,000 small businesses. You're calling from Baltimore, which is a city where 46 percent of the adults don't have work. We only have four Fortune 500 companies. There was just a study that came out yesterday or the day before saying that Maryland is 49th out of 50 in economic development in the country. And we're 49th in personal income growth.

  • 12:15:52

    GANSLERSo the middle class has been getting squeezed. We just called for middle class tax cut consistent with President Obama's middle class tax cut because I think, you know, we need to keep people here and we need to stimulate the economy in Maryland.

  • 12:16:04

    NNAMDIYou said 46 percent out of work in Baltimore?

  • 12:16:06

    GANSLERYeah, it's actually incredible...

  • 12:16:07

    NNAMDIWhere does that number come from?

  • 12:16:09

    GANSLERA bunch of studies. It's on -- we have it and it's unrefuted and it's really tough. I mean, Baltimore's been left behind. We're sitting here in D.C., which has really been rejuvenated in my view, as has sort of Philly up the street. And Baltimore is a city that, you know, still has almost 300 murders a year, 46 percent are out of work.

  • 12:16:28

    GANSLERThe schools -- I mean, my opponents, says we have the number one schools in the country but the schools in Baltimore are just -- you know, we have the second worst minority achievement gap in the country. And we're failing our students. And it still unfortunately matters in 2014 what you look like and what zip code you're born in as to whether or not you get access to a top quality education. So Baltimore's rough. Baltimore needs a governor.

  • 12:16:48

    BUSHAnd talking about that you said Baltimore needs a governor, this is the first campaign that I can think of where there aren't any candidates from the Baltimore area in the democratic primary, either for governor or lieutenant governor. They're all from the D.C. suburbs or the tweener suburbs...

  • 12:17:01

    GANSLERYeah, they're not happy about that, by the way.

  • 12:17:02

    BUSHI understand (laugh) . Right. But how do you -- what do you say to the people in Baltimore now that it really seems like the political power in the state is shifting south?

  • 12:17:09

    GANSLERWell, the political power has shifted south. It's sort of like my body. (laugh) It's kind of just all sinking, you know. And it's -- that is the reality and that -- this is where the votes come from. But I -- you know, what we say to people, Baltimore is -- you know, I'm in Baltimore. I live in Bethesda but I've worked in Baltimore every day of the last eight years. I've been going to Baltimore since I was a little kid. The two people I'm running against just, you know, are recent transplants to Maryland, as a matter of fact.

  • 12:17:34

    GANSLERBut my lieutenant governor Jolene Ivey went to Taos and she worked in Baltimore. Her husband Glenn Ivey who was the former state's attorney in Prince Georges worked in Baltimore. So when I announced I was running for governor, I actually went to Reservoir Hill, which is a neighborhood in Baltimore because I think that the neighborhoods is really where we need a governor.

  • 12:17:51

    GANSLERAnd, you know, I've developed an enormous amount of relationships in the Baltimore region. And, you know, we were endorsed by the biggest pastor group in Baltimore because they know what we've done. I started an inner-city lacrosse league in Baltimore six years ago because I saw a need there. We now have over 400 kids in that league. They've been getting into schools and being mentored.

  • 12:18:12

    GANSLERSo, you know, I think I've been able to really get roots in Baltimore and my opponent couldn't really find it with a map. So it's been good.

  • 12:18:20

    NNAMDIYour campaign blasted an email to supporters this week that drew inspiration from the upset that Dave Brat pulled over Eric Cantor in Virginia. Brat drew a lot of energy from the, well if you will, hard right of his party. Where are you looking to draw energy from in challenging Anthony Brown?

  • 12:18:36

    GANSLERWell, we're sort of -- it's interesting. If you try and pigeonhole things -- you mentioned far right...

  • 12:18:41

    NNAMDI...ideologically, yes.

  • 12:18:41

    GANSLERYeah, well ideologically, you know, I'm a progressive and I'm more progressive than a lieutenant governor in social policies. I mean, I led the marriage equality effort in Maryland about five years and then wrote the opinion recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriage, that kind of thing.

  • 12:18:57

    NNAMDIIf you're more progressive on social policy are you more conservative on economic policy?

  • 12:19:00

    GANSLERI am. And so we're -- I'm fiscally responsible, so we've actually put in -- I mean, they've had all these taxes. They've taken $10 billion more tax money and we've actually put up for an agenda of a billion-and-a-half dollars in savings. So it's an interesting ideology...

  • 12:19:15

    NNAMDIThink there's room to the right, if you will?

  • 12:19:17

    GANSLERWell, fiscally I think people are sick of not having -- you know, having a decreasing tax base with more taxes. And we need to bring jobs back so that we increase our tax base so we can focus on the minority achievement gap and some of the other issues that, as a Democrat, we're very concerned with.

  • 12:19:33

    NNAMDIOur guest is Doug Gansler. He's a Democratic candidate for Governor of Maryland, currently the State's Attorney General. The Democratic Primary is June 24 in Maryland and early voting is open. Matt Bush is our guest analyst. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. If you have questions or comments for Doug Gansler, call us at 800-433-8850. The lines seem to be busy, you may want to shoot us an email to kojo@wamu.org. or a Tweet @kojoshow.

  • 12:19:59

    BUSHPart of your tax policy that you've been talking about regards corporations that you want to cut the corporate tax rate, but you're saying it's being misconstrued by your opponent. Talk about that.

  • 12:20:07

    GANSLERMisconstrued? I was on a show the other day and they started by saying, do you really hate children? I mean, it's unfortunate. I talked to my mother this morning. She's like, I saw the most vicious ad last night. Why are they saying these things about you? I'm like, mom, this is politics. You just -- you know, they're just going to make stuff up. And it's -- yeah, the corporate tax thing is pretty interesting. So what I've called for is closing the -- what's called combine reporting, which is where the multinationals operate and sell products in Maryland, but don't have to pay taxes.

  • 12:20:35

    GANSLERAnd we'll be able to bring in $200 million a year by making McDonald's and companies like that actually pay their fair share. But at the same time, our corporate tax rate is 8 1/4, and Virginia's, for example, is 6, which is where we're losing most of our companies. And what we've said is, let's reduce that a quarter of a point to make ourselves competitive. As jobs continue to come in, we'll actually make hundreds of millions of dollars. My opponent has said that there is -- I mean, just made it out of whole cloth is number $1.6 billion in costs for that. So no one really believes it, but that's -- except for maybe my mother.

  • 12:21:07

    NNAMDILet's talk about one of the places where there's daylight between you and the other candidates, your education plan. It encourages teachers to gain National Board Certification as opposed to continuing their education with a Masters Degree. Board Certified Teachers are to be offered $100,000 salaries. Why do you want to use Board Certification as a way to improve teacher quality?

  • 12:21:27

    GANSLERBecause, and so, we -- yes, we do differ. I was the first one and this is sort of in that same ad that says I'm against pre-K expansion. I came out six months ahead of him saying that we have this horrible minority achievement gap that you've been sitting there for eight years watching happen. And we need to -- one of the things we need to do is expand pre-K from half day to full day. So when children in underserved areas show up at school with a 3,000-word vocabulary and they show up with 8,000 to 10,000 word vocabularies in better areas, that they'll never catch up.

  • 12:21:53

    GANSLERSo we need to expand that. And then in the classrooms, I called for having skilled teachers in every classroom in Maryland. And my opponent called me reckless and irresponsible for suggesting that we have good teachers in our classrooms. The fact of the matter is we have great teachers in our classrooms. But we also have some bad teachers. And what happens is, you get tenured at the age of 25, if you've been there for three years, under the system now. You come out of college. You're 22. You teach for a few years. Now you're tenured. And there's no accountability.

  • 12:22:20

    GANSLERSo what we want to do is put the system in that Montgomery County has worked out with its union where -- it's called peer assessment review -- where teachers actually review other teachers. They've been able to remove hundreds of the under-performing teachers and keep the good ones.

  • 12:22:36

    GANSLERAnd then what I think we ought to do is, because we value our teachers and entrust them to our children, the nationally Board-Certified teachers, they've shown that they are far more likely to teach the child how to fish instead of giving him the fish, and make them want to learn and be better students and actually achieve and excel. So we think we ought to be paying our teachers -- the good teachers more. And we're looking forward to doing that.

  • 12:22:57

    NNAMDIWell, teacher tenure was just struck down in the State of California. Is that a decision you approve of?

  • 12:23:02

    GANSLERWell I, you know, I don't know the law and the constitution there. But I don't -- I think teachers should be tenured. I just think that we should have some sort of accountability past that. You know, no other profession that I'm aware of where you're tenured at 25 and no longer really have an incentive other than the goodness of your heart to continue to grow as a professional. So I think we should have tenure. We've called for it to be five years, a little bit longer. And but, yes, I think it got tossed out in California. And that might be a movement around the country.

  • 12:23:30

    NNAMDIMatt?

  • 12:23:30

    BUSHBut governing on that -- teachers unions obviously are quite powerful in Maryland. We've some of the things that have been passed in those, particularly eight years ago, that showed their power. So if you're going to sort of take them on on this...

  • 12:23:41

    NNAMDIThey don't approve of people who are critical of teacher tenure.

  • 12:23:44

    GANSLERYeah. Not at all. Well, they've put off...

  • 12:23:47

    BUSHMy parents were teachers. I grew up in a teachers union, yeah, so I understand, but...

  • 12:23:49

    GANSLERWell, my mother's a teacher. And Jolene Ivey's father was, you know, Buffalo Soldier, was a teacher at High Point High School. We love teachers. The fact of the matter is that teacher is the most important profession in our society, because they're educating our children. So we want to do everything possible to give teachers the resources they need. They should be compensated adequately. But, yeah, I mean, the teachers union...

  • 12:24:09

    BUSHBut there's going to be a big fight though I would imagine. Absolutely would be a big fight on what your plan would be bringing that to (word?) .

  • 12:24:13

    GANSLERWell, they've put hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars into this race because they don't want me to win -- not the teachers, the teacher union bosses. Which, you know, that's what we're up against. That, you know, we're up against the special interests. That's who -- if you look at my opponent's campaign finance report, it's literally millions and millions of dollars, when he was supposed to be running the Affordable Care Act rollout, he was took over $500,000 instead from health care special interests.

  • 12:24:39

    GANSLERAnd the teachers union, big tobacco, big oil, insurance companies are really funding his campaign. The good thing for me is I'm unencumbered by that. So when I become governor, I actually can do the job and not have to worry about, you know, who I owe allegiances to. I can do the things for the people, as I've done for 16 years.

  • 12:24:57

    NNAMDIIf you'd like to watch this conversation, there's a live video stream on our website, kojoshow.org. You might want to go there. Matt?

  • 12:25:03

    BUSHAnother word -- we've gone back to the health care exchange -- you've used the word collusion in talking about what happened there. It's on your -- you know, in your legal mind, you know that's a pretty strong word. Talk about what you mean by that and how does the word collusion fit?

  • 12:25:16

    GANSLERWell that's just a piece of it. So what happened was, they, you know, they knew a year out -- the lieutenant governor, the Washington Post had this great expose about it. He knew a year out it wasn't going to work. And, look, I ran President Obama's campaign in Maryland. There's no bigger proponent of President Obama than I am. I went to the Supreme Court of the United States and made sure Maryland was the lead state on the AMICAS to make sure the Affordable Care Act was upheld constitutionally, because I believed it was wrong that the United States was the only country in the civilized world that did not view health care as a right and now we do.

  • 12:25:46

    GANSLERThe problem was, the one thing the lieutenant governor's been put in charge of was the Affordable Care Act rollout. And it's given the Republicans and others an opportunity to criticize our President and the Affordable Care Act, which this has nothing to do with. This was just the ability to enroll. So what happened was, when they took the $200 million and basically flushed it down the drain because probably fewer than 1,000 people were able to actually enroll on the website.

  • 12:26:09

    GANSLERThey did what he calls workarounds, which means they hired a bunch of people to sit there at the centers. People had to take the day off from work. Their cars would get towed. But then when they got in there, they didn't have the choice, which is actually the underlying premise of the Affordable Care Act, to give you options and choice. They literally were being filled out on CareFirst stationery, CareFirst enrollment forms and given over to CareFirst. So that seems to me -- and they said so in the paper. They said they were listening to the guy from CareFirst in terms of getting advice as how to go around this website which wasn't working.

  • 12:26:41

    GANSLERAnd then, to chase good money after bad, they said, okay, well the next enrollment period is November 15. Let's go into a closed room. Let's not have transparency, let's not have competition, and decide what we're going to do. And they then picked the Connecticut system, which even the people in Connecticut say cannot be retrofitted into the Maryland system by November 15. I said we should go to the federal system. It had bumps and bruises at the beginning. It was fixed. 50,000 people were able to enroll through the federal website. They could enroll into the Maryland exchange. It's free. And it could be done tomorrow. So I think we have a difference there.

  • 12:27:14

    NNAMDII want to go back to the education program. Because you're talking about extending the program from a half-day to a full-day program. Heather Mizeur has -- wants to offer free full pre-K to every four-year-old, plus free half-day classes to three-year-olds from families with incomes below a certain level. Brown wants to offer free half-day or full-day classes to all four-year-olds by 2018. Some have said that your plan is more modest than theirs.

  • 12:27:39

    GANSLERIt's more modest in terms of I always try and be, you know, they criticize me for it, but I try and be honest with the people that I represent. And I think the notion that we can -- the lieutenant governor says, let's have pre-K for everybody all day and we can just get it started right now -- is not affordable yet. I mean I came out first and said we should have voluntary pre-K full-day for everybody. But let's start in the communities where the need exists, which is in the underserved community. So I said, let's start with folks that are 300 percent above the poverty line and below to get them enrolled so they can have the full day, and ultimately go get it for everybody.

  • 12:28:16

    GANSLERI think Delegate Mizeur's idea is a great one. I mean the idea is we want to start people earlier. We actually put together a plan, it's called Maryland Works, where we go into homes and work with parents and children to get cognitive skills developed before they even get to pre-K as well.

  • 12:28:31

    NNAMDISpeaking of Delegate Mizeur, that's what Alex -- or that's who Alex in Cheverly, Md., I think wants to talk about. Alex, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:28:39

    ALEXYeah. Good afternoon. I saw on the news online the other day, you mentioning that Heather Mizeur didn't graduate from college. And I'm just wondering if that's actually true or if you think she lied about it in any way?

  • 12:28:52

    NNAMDIBefore Doug Gansler answers that question, allow me to go to Christine in Bowie, Md., who I think has a similar question, so we'll get both out of the way at the same time. Christine, your turn.

  • 12:29:02

    CHRISTINEHi. Attorney General, I was just wondering, as someone who's touted greater transparency in government, why didn't you ever investigate Delegate Mizeur, if you knew she was a registered lobbyist at the same time that she was a legislator?

  • 12:29:14

    NNAMDIOh, different question. But both about Delegate Mizeur.

  • 12:29:18

    GANSLERNo, they're the same. Look, I don't think Delegate Mizeur has lied at all. I think, you know, obviously that may not be the issue she wants to put out front, that she was a lobbyist. But it's not illegal. I don't think she -- being a lobbyist is not illegal.

  • 12:29:31

    GANSLERMy understanding is -- and that's her profession, that's how she makes a living -- and people do that and it doesn't mean they're bad people. And, but my understanding is, I think, she's a federal lobbyist. So she's not lobbying the same people who she serves. I don't think there's anything illegal or unseemly about that. And I don't think she's lied to the people at all. In terms of not graduating from college. I don't think -- as far as I know, I don't think she's ever said she graduated from college. I don't think she was lying there.

  • 12:29:55

    GANSLERAnd I got to tell you, I think Delegate Mizeur has run a very good race. I think she's added a lot to the dialog of the race. And, you know, it's been a pleasure running with her. I think that all of these issues have come up because the question that was asked was, you know, people think that the press hasn't really covered much biographical or information about this race. They've been covering kind of the silly stuff and not the real things and the issue -- and that's, you know, the issues of the campaign. And they've been very protective, obviously, of the Lieutenant Governor and his background and his past.

  • 12:30:26

    NNAMDIDoes that answer your question, Alex?

  • 12:30:28

    ALEXYeah, yeah. Great. Thank you for that. I was just curious. I'd read it online and was just wondering to hear what he had to say for himself, so. Thank you.

  • 12:30:35

    NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. Matt Bush?

  • 12:30:38

    BUSHA couple of things also to talk about. First, you mentioned, the question there was about investigating your transparency in government. And we mentioned Maryland got a D-minus in the report that looked at it a couple of years ago. What are you going to do to further that? Now, I can say one thing as someone who covers the State House, you know, there are no webcams in the State House itself.

  • 12:30:59

    BUSHIt's all audio streaming and then a lot of that in the General Assembly. So things like that. I mean, there was just bill passed a couple of years ago that helps people track who gets what money from whom, as far as senators and delegates. So what sorts of things are you going to look at there, if your governor, to get that up from a D-minus?

  • 12:31:14

    GANSLERYeah, I actually think a D-minus is probably a generous grade with grade inflation. I mean Maryland could not be worse in terms of transparency and open government. I mean that's how, when they went into a closed room in the first place for the Affordable Care Act, they ended up with getting a company to do technology from Fargo, N.D. You know, great movie. Not sure I want them doing my technology. You know, so we, you know, we have a whole proposal about that.

  • 12:31:37

    GANSLERAnd to your point about, you know, opening up the government, shedding a light on government, making sure people are accountable for what it is they do -- I mean, in the Affordable Care Act is another example where, you can't fix it without knowing what's going wrong. But the machine and the status quo has sort of said, let's look at that after the election instead of having hearings on it. And so I think it's important, you know, when the lieutenant governor doesn't give over his emails, doesn't, you know, give over his minutes, doesn't, you know, show up at hearings. I think that's a problem in terms of transparency.

  • 12:32:04

    GANSLERIn terms of the campaign finance that you just touched on. You know, I created a bipartisan commission to look at campaign finance reform, because we desperately need that as well in Maryland. And we came up with 27 proposals. About 13 or 14 have now been enacted into law. But we have a lot further to do. I mean some of this stuff, you know, Anthony Brown, the lieutenant governor, took tens of thousands of dollars from Jeffrey Thompson, you know, the guy that brought down Vincent Gray, has pled guilty to that.

  • 12:32:29

    GANSLERAnd then he laundered that money through an organization and keep the rest, and took a lot of money from other convicted felons and people that have been in trouble. And, you know, nobody knows about that because we don't have that kind of transparency. I think we ought to have a lot more transparency. I think we really, desperately need to tighten up our campaign-finance laws.

  • 12:32:48

    NNAMDIWe heard a lot from you throughout the campaign about -- talking about lowering corporate taxes to make Maryland more competitive. Yesterday, you announced plans to offer $600 million in tax relief to middle-class families. How would that work?

  • 12:33:00

    GANSLERWell we -- we're the only campaign that has come up with a spending-reduction plan. We have about $1.5 billion that we can reduce, you know, in terms of spending as a state. And so that plan will allow us to do a number of things. And the idea is that the middle class is really getting squeezed here. And, you know, we, as I mentioned in some of the statistics at the top of the show, you know, there just aren't any jobs left.

  • 12:33:24

    GANSLERAnd there's a number of things we want to do to help with job creation, including dealing with the issue of reentry and getting people that are being bars actually becoming tax-paying citizens, including a lot of 16-year-olds that want to go into vocational career apprenticeships, to be able to do so, do the math and English. And the more that you get certified for jobs so that when they graduate at 18, they have a diploma and a certification for a job.

  • 12:33:45

    GANSLERIn terms of the middle-class tax break, which comes directly from the Obama federal tax break, it's an opportunity to give some people back money. I mean, look, just a 40th of their taxes was the regressive gas tax. And that's going to cost people more than $200 a year -- families over $200 a year. And this tax cut will help at least pay for that.

  • 12:34:06

    NNAMDIWhen you talk about the financial burden that middle-class residents have taken on under Martin O'Malley, what are you talking about?

  • 12:34:12

    GANSLERWell, they -- of the 40 taxes, almost all of them are regressive. And so what's happened is, when we're the 49th state in the country in terms of personal income growth and we are losing companies on a daily basis. You know, like I said, over 8,000 small businesses and big businesses, the last one to announce that they're leaving is McCormick Spices up in Baltimore.

  • 12:34:33

    GANSLERBut there's companies that have left there, you know, Black & Decker, you can go through the list -- and so what happens is -- and we're also 46th in manufacturing, which tends to be, the middle class often has -- it avails themselves to manufacturing jobs. We're now 46th in that, so we don't even have -- we're not producing anything here as well. So the idea is to bring jobs back, promote growth in the middle class, and get more -- the ability to be consumers in the middle class instead of being in debt.

  • 12:34:59

    NNAMDIWhy wait so long into your campaign to roll out this plan? If the tax burden under this administration was so bad, why wait until now to offer your plan for relief?

  • 12:35:08

    GANSLERWell, the lieutenant governor has waited eight years. This has all been going on while he's been sitting there in the seat of power watching the economic demise of our state and showing up in Annapolis every January with almost a billion dollar deficit. And then we can't do the things we want to do as democrats to work on the social issues that we're so desperate to address here. In terms of our rollout, you know, we've been rolling out plans and agendas and itemized things from -- since last August. You know, people are just sort of taking note of it.

  • 12:35:38

    GANSLERI mean, I think one of the big differences between myself and the lieutenant governor is when we have debates and we have forums, he says, I've got a 10-point plan, I've got a 14-point plan, I've got a 6-point plan. And I'm saying, look, I don't -- we have plans. But I've actually been doing this stuff. I actually have a record. I've actually run things. I've run 16 years. I've been elected by the people of Maryland four times. And for 16 years we've been running government agencies, meeting budgets, balancing budgets and getting things done.

  • 12:36:01

    GANSLERI mean, you know, I, as president of the National Association of Attorneys General, we took on the big banks and we got $1.5 billion -- and we've talked about this on the show -- $1.5 billion into just Maryland into the housing market to keep tens of thousands of families that otherwise would have been foreclosed upon from losing their homes. I actually did the work. I rolled up my sleeves, went to the meetings and got it done. I think that's in stark contrast to what the lieutenant governor's done.

  • 12:36:26

    NNAMDIBack to the telephone. Here is James in Hurlock, Md. James, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:36:32

    JAMESYes, sir. Good afternoon, Kojo. Thank you for the opportunity to speak with Attorney General Gansler. My question for you, Attorney General, is the governor requires sound judgment. And insomuch as you were present at an underage drinking party, as the chief law-enforcement officer of the State of Maryland, you chose not to intervene and simply let the event continue. And I want to ask you why someone should consider you as a viable candidate for governor?

  • 12:37:04

    NNAMDIJames, I'm going to put you on hold and go to Jennifer in Silver Spring, who may have a question about the same event. Jennifer, am I correct?

  • 12:37:12

    JENNIFERYes, I -- well, actually, yes, it was about the Sandy Spring scandal, where these homeowners have lived there for...

  • 12:37:19

    NNAMDIOh, well, you have another question. I'll put you on hold and have the Attorney General answer James' question.

  • 12:37:24

    GANSLERYeah, I don't think that's -- I mean, I do think I did intervene in that actual party. It was a dance party. And I intervened because I'm -- I've been married for 22 years. My wife and I are very, very proud of our children. They've done a great job. And, you know, that was an event. They were 19- to 20-year-old adults. They were underage. There were probably some kids drinking beer there. And I went in to talk to my kid to tell him what time we were leaving the next day. And I'm not, you know, I'm never going to apologize for being an overly involved and devoted father who actually lives with his family.

  • 12:37:55

    GANSLERAnd so I didn't, yeah, close down the party. I also, by the way, took him to college a few weeks later and there are going to be kids drinking beer at college. And I'm not going to not send him to college. We rely on the judgment of our child, you know, and our parenting that we had for 19 years at that point, 20 coming up. And he's made good choices. So I do think I have the judgment. I mean, look, no one ever questioned my judgment in public service for 22 years or my character until I decided to run against the lieutenant governor.

  • 12:38:24

    GANSLERUnfortunately, he has no record to run on. So what he's decided to do instead is attack my family and me, personally. And that's unfortunate. But I understand it's the reality of politics. And I think people can see through those kind of tricks and dirty politics.

  • 12:38:37

    NNAMDIOn to Jennifer in Silver Spring. Jennifer, your turn.

  • 12:38:41

    JENNIFERYes, good afternoon, Kojo, and Attorney General Gansler, and your crew. I just want to ask a quick, quick question. I know you talk about character. And, yes, as a grown adult, I would have shut that down. But that's my perception. The thing that I want to ask you is when it comes to standing up for people that needs the attorney general on your side and somebody that would make a sound, solid judgment.

  • 12:39:04

    JENNIFERI did heard the scandal on Sandy Spring, where this family that have been living there for, gosh, how many centuries? And their land was stolen and given to a developer. And they were paying taxes on their land. And they accuse you of taking their land. And I haven't actually heard you say anything or apologize for anything of that nature. I just want to know if that's an accurate statement or not.

  • 12:39:30

    GANSLERYeah. Well, a couple of things. You did mention that party, just that you would have closed it down. The police actually were there 20 minutes earlier as they go around, and they didn't close it down, nor did the chaperones that were actually chaperoning that party, didn't close it down. So I'm not sure anybody actually would have. But I appreciate that -- your help on that. On the Silver Spring thing, it turns out I actually didn't steal anybody's land nor do I work for a developer or anything of that nature.

  • 12:39:56

    GANSLERI do, I think I am aware of the case. You know, I was the head of the NAACP criminal justice committee in Montgomery County for years. I started the first civil right division in the state's history through the attorney general's office. And we deal with issues all the time, you know, whether it's voting rights or minority achievement gap and higher education and so forth. That particular issue is not an issue that comes under the purview of the attorney general's office whatsoever so we had no involvement whatsoever.

  • 12:40:21

    NNAMDIYou get the last question, Matt Bush.

  • 12:40:23

    BUSHAll right. Last question. To go back on, you were talking about your record. Gas tax, you were not in support of the gas tax hike, but it's there now so the next governor's going to oversee it and it is going to pay for things people like, like the Purple Line and the Red Line and the (word?) city's trans...

  • 12:40:36

    GANSLERNot really, yeah.

  • 12:40:37

    BUSH...it's supposed to, yes. What do you see -- would you, at all, you call it regressive. Would you, at all, propose to bring it back down? What would you do with it?

  • 12:40:46

    GANSLERYeah, I mean, look, I'm all about mass transit and, you know, I want to bring a high speed rail from Baltimore to Washington. I think that'll help the entire region. The Purple Line's, obviously, well on its way. The problem is, of course, the gas tax won't pay for it all. We need to actually make our economy vibrant again and bring jobs back to increase our tax base so that we can pay for these things.

  • 12:41:04

    GANSLERThe reason why I didn't like the gas tax was because what they did, the Brown-O'Malley administration, is they stole all the money out of the transportation trust fund.

  • 12:41:12

    BUSHWould you go for a lock box on that?

  • 12:41:13

    GANSLERI think -- I mean, look...

  • 12:41:15

    BUSHSpeaking of things that'd be tough to get through the general assembly.

  • 12:41:16

    GANSLERI think lock boxes, yeah, I think that would be tough to get through general assembly and it's a little bit more gimmicky. I do think, though, we should uphold the trust of the public and if you're putting money into a transportation trust fund, it should be used for transportation, not all the money taken out and then say, oh, my god, we have no money. Let's tax poor people and people that drive and have this huge gas tax.

  • 12:41:34

    GANSLERSo the answer to your question is, I'm not going to relive each of their 40 taxes. I think what we need to do is figure out how to make our state competitive with our neighboring states so that we stop the exodus of jobs leaving our state and bring jobs back and retain the jobs we have here.

  • 12:41:51

    NNAMDIWe're almost out of time and we get the most important question. The election may turn on this tweet that we got from Larry, who asks, "Given a choice between Alaskan king crabs and Maryland blue crabs, would you categorically state that you always support Maryland?"

  • 12:42:04

    GANSLERI always support Maryland and we're gonna, you know, the Chesapeake Bay and the environment is my biggest issue as attorney general and will remain so as governor and will continue to watch the crabs flourish.

  • 12:42:14

    NNAMDINo Alaskan crabs for Doug Gansler, please.

  • 12:42:17

    GANSLEROh, well, we'll have those for dessert.

  • 12:42:18

    NNAMDINo, you're not allowed. Doug Gansler's a Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland. He's currently the state's attorney general. The Democratic primary in Maryland is on June 24th and early voting is open. Doug Gansler, thank you very much for joining us. Good luck to you.

  • 12:42:30

    GANSLERThank you, Kojo. Thanks.

  • 12:42:31

    NNAMDIThis is the Politics Hour. Matt Bush is our guest analyst. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. And it's fair to say a lot of Washingtonians were surprised earlier this week when Carol Schwartz announced a candidacy for mayor as an independent. She has been a Republican for most of her adult life. She was a member of the school board and for many years an at-large member on the council.

  • 12:42:54

    NNAMDIThis makes the race more unpredictable than it may have been before when it was just between the Democrat Muriel Bowser and independent former Republican David Catania. What do you think?

  • 12:43:05

    BUSHIt certainly makes it more interesting. I can tell you, watching the tweets of the day that she was announcing, I was actually in here working on all these profiles that I have been doing and watching the tweets. Twitter just absolutely blew up with everybody that had any sort of thought on anything in D.C. immediately jumped right on that.

  • 12:43:22

    BUSHIt's -- will she have an impact on it? I don't know. 'Cause there was already people questioning whether they think she'll be in it all the way till November anyway so it'll be interesting to see what impact.

  • 12:43:33

    NNAMDIHere's an indication of how long Carol Schwartz has been around. Doug Gansler, I bet you, you know Carol Schwartz.

  • 12:43:37

    GANSLERI do.

  • 12:43:38

    NNAMDISee? Everybody in this are knows Carol Schwartz and who she is. We'll be having her on -- having Carol Schwartz on at a later date on the Politics Hour to discuss exactly how she intends to manage her campaign. Joining us now by telephone is Tom Davis. He's a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He's a Republican who held a seat in the Commonwealth's 11th District in Northern Virginia.

  • 12:44:01

    NNAMDIHe now works as director of federal government affairs for Deloitte LLP. Tom Davis, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:44:07

    MR. TOM DAVISHey, Kojo. Thanks for having me.

  • 12:44:08

    NNAMDIIf you have comments or questions for Congressman Davis, give us a call, 800-433-8850. Any of the, I guess, events that occurred in Virginia during the course of the past...

  • 12:44:18

    BUSHEarthquakes, right? There were two, right?

  • 12:44:20

    NNAMDIEarthquakes. At least two political earthquakes, 800-433-8850. You represented Virginia in the U.S. for more than a decade. You ran point on Republican efforts for House elections nationwide when you chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee. You've seen a lot. What was your first blush reaction to what happened on Tuesday night when you found out that majority leader Eric Cantor lost his primary?

  • 12:44:42

    DAVISWell, look, this is a classic case of, Kojo, somebody who moves into the leadership and moves into kind of responsible position of having to pass legislation, raise the debt ceiling, trying to move bills and a constituency that is just angry and all they want, basically, they want resistance. They want somebody up there in the president's face.

  • 12:45:04

    DAVISThey want red meat every day. And you can't please two masters. Being a leader is tough. I don't know of any congressional leaders right now that are popular. But in Eric's case, it's a southern, basically, rural (word?) conservative district and, you know, I think they viewed him as party establishment at this point.

  • 12:45:22

    NNAMDIHow do you feel redistricting may have contributed to this, if at all? One Washington Post article published this week noted the recent rounds of redistricting have made congressional districts in the Commonwealth safer for incumbents, but that it may have made this district so conservative that it made Eric Cantor vulnerable to a challenge from the right.

  • 12:45:44

    NNAMDIWho would've thunk, in this primary?

  • 12:45:45

    DAVISYeah. Eric lost his home county so redistricting certainly didn't help him, but I don't think it was the dispositive factor in this case. I think what happened is you move into the leadership, you put some modicum of what you feel are responsible legislation, the voters don't want that right now. They are very, very angry.

  • 12:46:05

    DAVISThey want somebody poking a stick in the president's eye, not cooperating with him. And I think that's difficult to read. You know, Mitch McConnell has so far finessed it in Kentucky, but it's tough. And Congress has got a 15 percent approval rating. Being a leader there is not an asset anymore.

  • 12:46:21

    NNAMDIBefore Matt Bush joins the conversation, is it therefore easier to finesse it if you're in a statewide race than if you're in a district race?

  • 12:46:31

    DAVISI think it depends where you are. In McConnell's case, he went right after his opponent and went right after him on ethics and everything else. I think in Eric's case, their antenna was just not up and I don't think they saw the problems until it was too late. I think they made another strategic mistake in attacking their opponent too early and giving -- when nobody knew him and giving him oxygen he otherwise wouldn't have had. Go ahead.

  • 12:46:57

    NNAMDIIf you have questions or comments on the Cantor loss, Brat victory in Virginia, give us a call, 800-433-8850 or about the resignation of a Democratic state senator that lead to Republican control of the state senate, 800-433-8850. Our guest is Tom Davis, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He now works as a director of federal government affairs for Deloitte LLP. Here's Matt Bush.

  • 12:47:21

    BUSHMy question is this. Did the open primary in Virginia have any effect on this, too? 'Cause there were immediately thoughts about that being that the polls all showed Congressman Cantor up by so much and that he lost. Did open primary have any effect, do you think?

  • 12:47:36

    DAVISWell, I think, you know, we won't know that with certitude for a couple of months when we start comparing voter lists. My gut is it probably didn't have any effect. And the most liberal constituency in that district is Richmond and Eric carried that. So I don't think there were a lot of crossover Democrats that came into this. But we'll know with certainly in a couple months when we get the poll books back and compare and see if you had previously Democratic primary voters voting in the Republican primary.

  • 12:48:01

    DAVISI know his campaign team was quick to blame them, but my gut is that the overwhelming turnout here just shows that the anger there at the grassroots of the Republican Party and the fact that they wanted to take this out on the political establishment no matter who they are.

  • 12:48:16

    NNAMDITom Davis, to what extent do you understand that anger? To what extent is it possible to sympathize with the dissatisfaction with the status quo that's been running underneath Brat's candidacy. The Republican leadership in the House doesn't seem to be very popular with anyone anywhere.

  • 12:48:35

    DAVISWell, neither is the Democratic leadership. I mean, Congress, as a whole, is just been very non productive and people don't like it. And, look, the anger right now, it's on the right and the left, but take a look at the average American. Stagnate wages for 20 years, an economic meltdown where they're losing their savings accounts, bailouts of Wall Street, two wars that went sideways.

  • 12:48:57

    DAVISI mean, you look at government today and you say, what has this done? And so I think there's a huge anger toward what's government done for me and it's on the right and the left. And the Tea Party has been -- put forward a narrative on this that has attracted, I think, a lot of people. And you can't help but sympathize with them. The Republicans that have been successful have been able to show that empathy and kind of capture that.

  • 12:49:22

    DAVISBut there is a lot of energy out there for change right now and there is -- it came back to bite Eric Cantor, but it will be there in November probably. Democrats will have to see the wrath of this in November. I think it's going to be a pretty good November for Republicans.

  • 12:49:35

    NNAMDIMatt?

  • 12:49:36

    BUSHDoes this help or hurt the Republican Party, this loss, either in Virginia or nationally?

  • 12:49:41

    DAVISWell, look, I don't think it's helpful, but I don’t know at the end of the day that is has a lot of bearing. Republicans are going to have a good midterm election. The Senate is all fought out in red states and likely purple states. It's on their territory. Democrats are holding seats they won on the Obama coattails and he won't be there this time with coattails.

  • 12:50:05

    DAVISAnd the House, I think Republicans pick up so it'll be a good midterm. The question then is, what does this mean to 2016 and I'm afraid the party may take the wrong lessons away, thinking what we want in 2014, the being angry and channeling this, well, 2016's a different electorate altogether and it's a different set of issues and a different dynamic. And I think we need to learn to be an inclusive party and be more attractive. This will be a smaller turnout election.

  • 12:50:32

    NNAMDIHere's Dennis in Purcellville, Virginia. Dennis, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:50:36

    DENNISI just want to say hi to my old friend, Tom Davis. He's one of the best political theoreticians I've ever met, even though I disagree with him a lot. But I want to say that VCDL dropped 12,000 calls to gun owners in that district 'cause we had some old issues to deal with Eric on so we played our part.

  • 12:50:54

    NNAMDIAnd what would gun owners have against Eric Cantor?

  • 12:50:57

    DENNIS'Cause he voted for gun rationing and to ban self-defense shotguns among other things.

  • 12:51:02

    NNAMDIHe voted for gun...

  • 12:51:04

    DAVISLet me make a point for Dennis here. It's not the -- people look at the NRA and stuff, but like the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which Dennis is a part of, very, very well organized group in conventions and in primaries and so on and are now in the Republican nomination process, a significant voter block.

  • 12:51:24

    NNAMDIOh, so this is not simply the national power of the NRA. You're talking about independent local groups, Tom Davis?

  • 12:51:32

    DAVISYeah, the Virginia Citizens Defense League is, I'm sure has some NRA owners, but they have their own operation and they've been -- I think, Dennis, you'd say you've been pretty effective?

  • 12:51:41

    NNAMDIDennis?

  • 12:51:42

    DENNISNRA was with Eric Cantor.

  • 12:51:45

    NNAMDIDennis, what do you like about David Brat?

  • 12:51:50

    DENNISThat's he's speaking clearly, taking solid stands on issues and mobilizing the base and I think that's what you have to do to win elections and then reach out to the more generic voter. And I think it can be done without anger. And I agree with Tom on that.

  • 12:52:02

    NNAMDIDennis, thank you very much for your call. Tom Davis, what do you see at stake for the Virginia Republican Party at the state level? A lot happened in Richmond this week. Democratic state senator stepped down giving Republicans the majority in both chambers of the senate. They're moving a budget forward finally. It's not going to include expansion of Medicaid. Does that mean a win for Republicans in the Commonwealth?

  • 12:52:25

    DAVISIt does. They control the state senate. There'll be a special election this district, but my guess is this district will flip to the Republicans. It's in southwest Virginia, an area that's been strongly trending Republican. Look, I think Governor McAuliffe is just not -- now that the fault lines have shifted in Virginia, he had the senate and himself against the house. Now it's the senate, I think, the house and senate against him.

  • 12:52:54

    DAVISAnd they're gonna have to learn to work together. I think the governor wants to do that, but I think the middle ground has shifted a little bit to the right.

  • 12:53:02

    NNAMDIWell, I was about to ask, how do you think the Cantor result will affect the willingness of Virginia Republicans to work with Terry McAuliffe. The middle ground has shifted a bit to the right, both in terms of what happened with the resignation of that senator and his possible replacement by a Republican and then you have the Cantor loss. Do you think there are going to be lawmakers thinking themselves, look, Eric Cantor paid a price for how about he went about his business on immigration. Why should I risk my own future by working with Terry McAuliffe on Medicaid?

  • 12:53:32

    DAVISYou know, Kojo, that's a good point. I think not just in Virginia legislature, but in Congress, Eric's defeat is going to affect behavior, which why I don't see a lot happening for the rest of this Congress and in Virginia, it's going to stiffen the back of some Republicans that were trying to say, well, let's get a work product out of here. You know, it's still doable, but I think it's, as I said, it's moved the centerpiece for negotiating to the right.

  • 12:53:59

    NNAMDILet's go to Stephanie in Silver Spring, Maryland. Stephanie, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.

  • 12:54:05

    STEPHANIEThank you. So I'm calling from the Democratic spot and sort of corner, but I guess I'm wondering, I hear the speaker equating the unpopularity of both Republicans and Democrats and I'm wondering if there isn't a bit of a twisted logic there, such that Eric Cantor has had this fall from grace to maybe his unwillingness to poke Obama in the eye. That's what I'm hearing.

  • 12:54:26

    STEPHANIEBut that that, of course, is the source of the unpopularity of Congress and so won't this just be sort of a feeding itself mechanism that'll make it really hard to ever hold themselves...

  • 12:54:36

    NNAMDIYou are saying that the source of the unpopularity of Congress is its willingness to poke the president in the eye?

  • 12:54:41

    STEPHANIEThat's right.

  • 12:54:43

    NNAMDITom Davis?

  • 12:54:44

    DAVISI just said, it's a very divided country. Look, 80 percent of these districts are definitively Republican or Democrat. In Republican districts, which now make 80 percent of the Republican conference, they want people putting a stick in the president's eye, standing up to him, throwing out some red meat. In the blue districts, which is where you live, in a blue district, it's the opposite. They want people to defend the president. They like the president.

  • 12:55:10

    DAVISYou do have 20 percent of the districts that kind of hold the balance between the parties, but the way the lines are drawn right now, it tends to favor the Republicans institutionally. Democrats had 1.4 million more votes for the House last time than the Republicans. In total, the Republicans have a 17 seat edge. In the swing districts, the ability to work with the president and reason, it probably helps members. But for the average members, Republican and Democrat, they are penalized by their primary voters for working with the other side.

  • 12:55:39

    NNAMDIMatt Bush?

  • 12:55:41

    BUSHI'm gonna go back to the resignation of Senator Puckett. Are there going to be any long term repercussions for Republicans or Democrats, but maybe Republicans because they are now in -- they now have the state senate in Virginia. The way the resignation went down, the fact that he was given -- or he's going to get a job from this and that he was -- turned it down...

  • 12:55:57

    NNAMDIPerhaps he's turned it down, but he was offered a job.

  • 12:55:59

    BUSHHe was offered a job and his daughter and judgeship and all this. Is there any repercussions for this? 'Cause they got their victory, but they got it in a way that some people kind of looking at with a, you know, a very critical eye.

  • 12:56:09

    DAVISThis has been a time-honored tradition in Virginia where you find a vulnerable member, you give him a job, they get their high three years or whatever and then you pick up their seat. By the way, President Obama did the same thing. Secretary of the army was in a vulnerable seat, a Republican congressman, they picked up his seat when they got him out. This is kind of -- this is not only legal in politics, it's just the way good politicians work.

  • 12:56:34

    NNAMDIIt was only last weekend that Republicans in Virginia met for a nominating convention. They chose Ed Gillespie, very much a Beltway kind of Republican, to be their candidate against U.S. Senator Mark Warner this fall. What do you see as his path to victory if he's going to win and what's he going to have to do to generate enthusiasm among the kinds of voters who just booted Eric Cantor out of office?

  • 12:56:57

    DAVISWell, I think the enthusiasm will come basically in terms of just wanting to send a protest out to President Obama. You know, Ed Gillespie is not necessarily Mr. Sizzling Steak, but he does understand the Republican Coalition and is working very hard to put that together. The difficulty is in most elections that's not enough to elect you and you're running against the most popular Democrat in the state in Governor Mark Warner.

  • 12:57:23

    DAVISBut his path to victory, if the anger level is high enough and if the Republican wave is high enough, Ed certainly knows how to board that surfboard and surf it to victory. There is a lot of members of the U.S. Senate started off further behind than Ed Gillespie that are now called Senator, but how high is that wave going to be? To take Mark Warner out, it's got to be pretty high. He's got a lot of personal popularity, familiarity with Virginia voters and is not due, you know, ideological.

  • 12:57:51

    NNAMDITom Davis, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He's a Republican, held a seat in the Commonwealth's 11th District in northern Virginia, now works as director of federal government affairs for Deloitte LLP. Tom Davis, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:58:04

    DAVISKojo, thanks for having me.

  • 12:58:05

    NNAMDIMatt Bush is our guest analyst today. He's a reporter for WAMU 88.5. Matt, thank you so much for joining us.

  • 12:58:11

    BUSHThank you, as always, for having me.

  • 12:58:13

    NNAMDITom Sherwood, the permanent vacationer, will be back here in the seat next week. Thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.

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