If teachers’ unions can undertake a coup in conservative Carroll County, the message will be clear that they can undermine any county’s local elections.
The content of three videos admonishing Commissioners Rothschild and Frazier, as well as school board candidates, is telling to the mindset of those pushing a union-backed challenge slate.
Carroll County’s teachers’ unions CCEA and CASE are collectively pushing a slate of county commissioner and school board challengers whose longevity with the Republican Party and commitment to conservative principles are in question. The unions are urging teachers to switch party affiliation to Republican for the primary in order to vote for their slate, then switch back to Democrat after the primary. See union letter to teachers here.
Several Carroll County activists and others are concerned that the slate is only posing as conservatives in order to increase their chances of winning the primary election in a county that tends to vote strongly in favor of Republicans.
Former commissioner Michael Zimmer wrote an article in the Carroll County Times last week on the union party switch tactic. He told me in an interview, “The Democrat voters that are switching have no affinity for the Republican Party based on issues or conviction. Rather this is a recognition that in Carroll County the Republican primary is the election that determines the outcome. Republican candidates who are forced to rely on presumably liberal Democrats to win a GOP primary are not likely to be the most conservative choice for long time Republican voters.”
The letter is also concerning because it shows the union is tracking teacher’s votes on an individual basis. What sort of pressure from the unions may teachers be feeling regarding their party affiliation and voting patterns?
And, since the letter was emailed not just to union members as the email states, campaign finance law would require an authority line.
With 1500-1600 members of CASE/CCEA, pressure to switch and vote could indeed have a big impact on the election outcome. In the 2010 primary for commissioner, the winners won by a margin of 500-900 votes.
The union-backed slate consists of challengers along with incumbent Commissioner Doug Howard and incumbent school board President Virginia Harrison. The opposing “non-union” slate consists of challengers along with incumbent Commissioner Richard Rothschild and Commissioner Robin Frazier. (Not to be confused with union slate challengers Devon Rothschild and Dennis Frazier.) Things sure are complex in Carroll County.
The union candidates are listed in the letter linked above. The non-union candidates are, for commissioner: Robin Frazier, Brian DiMaggio, Lyn Malick, Richard Rothschild, and Cathey Allison. For school board: Bud Nason, George Harmening, and Jim Roenick.
Commissioner Rothschild said of the union endorsement of commissioner candidates, “All five are endorsed by the same government labor unions that are endorsing radical liberals like Van Hollen and Brown.”
Some are reporting that as many as 900 Democrats in the county have switched their party affiliation for the primary. The deadline to switch is June 3.
Mr. Zimmer says, “Long time Republican voters who likely are conservative need to pay attention to this tactic and get to the polls and vote on June 24.”
The current county Superintendent, Steve Guthrie, signed on to Common Core in 2010 despite the school board’s vote against it. See Final Scope of Work here and board vote here. Activist Linday Pallay, founder of Carroll Values Educational Freedom & Excellence, made the point that the elections will determine the makeup of the school board, which is assigned with the task of appointing the superintendent. Mr. Guthrie’s four-year term will expire in July.
The current school board, headed by President Virginia Harrison, sent a letter affirming support for the Common Core reforms, while making implementation timeline requests, to elected officials. See letter here, signed by the board members. The letter states, “We want to make it clear that the Board of Education is committed to moving ahead with our legal obligation for education reform as we believe that once fully implemented all Maryland students and as a result, all Maryland citizens will benefit.”
All three non-union board candidates plus all five commissioner candidates on that slate have stated they will vote to withdraw from CCSS, according to Commissioner Richard Rothschild. Most are running on an anti-Common Core platform. He said the current board, under President Virginia Harrison, voted unanimously a few months ago to affirm the adoption of CCSS. Further, he said that, when he and Commissioner Frazier wanted to have an open forum on Common Core, Commissioner Howard opposed it and denied citizen groups an opportunity to present. Linda Pallay echoed that, saying Bob Lord, the union board candidate, also refused to allow her to speak at the forum.
Commissioner Rothschild said that Doug Howard’s position is to slow it down. “It is a meaningless position which demonstrates a lack of conviction. He equates opposing CCSS with opposing the Board, so he biforcates.” See Howard’s testimony on HB423 at 3:38:20 here. Commissioner candidate Cathey Allison described Howard’s testimony as “throwing the bill’s content under the bus”. And says that “slowing down” is not prohibiting.
In addition, Commissioner Rothschild said, “Commissioner Howard has resisted a rider on the county budget which would prohibit the use of county funds for the purpose of implementing CCSS. He has supported funding technology for facilitating PARCC testing.”
According to Commissioner Rothschild, all five union commissioner candidates have been non-committal at best in their position on CCSS.
This tactic by the teachers’ unions will affect every Marylander. Even if you are in another county, please consider donating to the campaigns of the non-union candidates and pull the rug out from under union control of our free elections. We can all volunteer to make calls to true Republicans to urge them to vote on primary day June 24.