Maryland is the only state with primaries today. We’ve been focused on only one race— the Democratic congressional primary in Prince Georges County (MD-04), where Donna Edwards is battling the dark forces of AIPAC— and millions of their laundered GOP dollars-- which is attempting to fill the open seat with a lobbyist toady of theirs. But there are other interesting— if unconsequential elections in Maryland today as well. MD-04 is open because the incumbent, Anthony Brown, is running for Attorney General. The chances of a Republican winning that seat are less than minimal but there are two Republicans running, establishment vanity candidate Jim Shalleck and a former Arundel County Councilman, far right psychopath and neo-fascist Michael Peroutka.
Yesterday, writing for Vice News, Joseph Cameron reported that Peroutka is a pro-secession Christian nationalist who believes public education is a communist plot, abortion and gay marriage violate God's law, and the concept of separation of church and state is a “great lie” and claims that American leaders must “take a biblical worldview and apply it to civil law and government.”
Joseph wrote that “he’s a former board member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, has said he’s ‘still angry’ that Maryland was blocked from seceding during the Civil War.”
His views are extreme even for the modern Republican Party, and once would be considered disqualifying for any major party nominee for statewide office. But his emergence as a serious candidate shows just how far the door has been thrown open to extremism in the Republican Party. The GOP base’s embrace of election falsehoods and anti-science COVID-19 conspiracy theories, and flirtation with white supremacist rhetoric has given once- fringe figures like Peroutka an opening to push into the political mainstream.
To be clear, Peroutka has not changed. But the party base that’s embracing him has.
“He was kind of ahead of the curve,” said Peter Montgomery, a senior fellow for People for the American Way who has monitored Peroutka for years for the liberal group’s Right Wing Watch. “Now we’re seeing that within the religious right and that wing of the Republican Party there is an increasingly overt and aggressive Christian nationalism. Peroutka was kind of out front on that.”
Peroutka spent decades on the fringe of the conservative movement, but now he’s found a message that’s in sync with current GOP voters. He’s promised if he wins he’ll investigate Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s efforts to curtail COVID-19, and has said Maryland’s election system is susceptible to widespread fraud.
“What happened was so notorious, it was so blatant, so obvious,” Peroutka said at a March event, blasting Hogan’s mask mandates. “A constitutional God-fearing attorney general of Maryland can do something about that. He can empanel grand juries, he can bring prosecutions against the people who violated your rights.”
At a Thursday evening candidate forum in the basement of an Italian family restaurant in suburban Washington, D.C., Peroutka drew cheers from the crowd of a few dozen local activists when he referred to the response to COVID-19 pandemic as a “hoax” that was “used trample the Constitution and destroy our economy,” called it the “plandemic,” and repeatedly declared that “we are at war” while warning that “the enemy has coopted members of agents and agencies of our government.”
…A recent conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania organized by QAnon influencers shows how deeply Peroutka’s brand of conservatism has crept into the GOP.
Peroutka was joined there by Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington; former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis; Doug Mastriano, a Christian nationalist who recently won the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania governor; and Trump-endorsed Maryland GOP gubernatorial candidate and Delegate Dan Cox, a close Peroutka ally.
Cox is in a tight race against establishment pick and former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz. Trump’s endorsement has helped bigly, and Democrats have spent heavily to boost Cox’s profile. He’s neck-and-neck with Schulz in recent polls, and strategists in both parties think Cox’s coattails could help his buddy Peroutka.
The attorney general race, on the other hand, is so low-profile and with so little public polling that no one’s sure what might happen on Tuesday. A mid-June survey by Goucher College found Peroutka leading Shalleck by 17 percent to 11 percent, with more than 70 percent of Republican primary voters undecided.
…It’s remarkable that a man who less than a decade ago mocked the Republican Party’s “brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism” may soon be the party’s candidate for attorney general.
Peroutka, a former debt-collection attorney, was the Constitution Party’s presidential nominee in 2004 (winning 150,000 votes nationally), helped bankroll Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s various theocracy-tinged endeavors (as well as his 2017 Senate bid), and served one term as a Republican the Anne Arundel, Maryland County Council from 2015-2018 before establishment Republicans rallied to defeat him in the 2018 primary.
He is also an avowed creationist whose family charitable foundation donated an Allosaurus dinosaur skeleton valued $1 million to the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky in 2014. The museum contends the dinosaur skeleton, nicknamed “Ebenezer,” isn’t millions of years old like science shows but only a few thousand years old, and may have died in the biblical great flood.
There are also 8 peculiar red birds competing to run against Chris Van Hollen for one of the Maryland Senate seats. Van Hollen has raised around $8 million so far. All 8 of the Republicans have raised around $200,000 combined, half of which is self-financed. One of them, Jon McGreevey— who is using that name because his real name, Ryan Dark White— is a known serial criminal and he hasn’t reported raising anything at all to the FEC. I don’t know who he thought he would be able to fool with the fake name. But wouldn’t you love to see Rand Paul and Ted Cruz being forced to sit next to him?
But that guy’s not getting into the U.S. Senate… unless he moves to Idaho or Florida. He works in a “dirty book store” where people go to have quick, anonymous, furtive sex. Ryan cleans up the mess after. Must be a hideous job but in April he made up some cock’n’bull story about a girl he identified as between the age of 10 and 12 being sex trafficked in the store. Too bad he called the sheriff’s department instead of Matt Gaetz because he was arrested on Friday.