David Banach (R) is a 29 year old, former US Marine running for Congress in Maryland’s 2nd Congressional district. He is planning to challenge incumbent Dutch Ruppersberger (D) who, as some may recall, has a lifetime rating from the Club for Growth of 11%. I reached out to him via his Facebook page to see if he’d tell me a little about himself and his campaign for Congress. Below are his responses to my questions:
Matthew Newman: Tell me a little about yourself.
David Banach: I was born and raised in Maryland. I came from a poor family living in a two-family home in Baltimore City. I lived in Edgewood for about eight years and then moved to Bel Air. After 9/11/01 I decided to join the Marine Corps to serve and defend my country and my countrymen. I served four years with two combat tours in Iraq. After I got out, I decided to go to college. I attended Harford Community College, majoring in Political Science. I graduated with a two-year degree and transferred to my current school, Towson University, to continue my education. As a kid I wanted to be President or some elected official, and so, on March 13th 2013 I decided to give a run for congress a try.
MN: What makes you a uniquely qualified candidate?
DB: I come from several worlds that represent Maryland’s District two. I am quite poor, and I live paycheck to paycheck, I have even collected unemployment. I am a veteran, so I know what it truly means to serve my country and live up to an oath. And I am a student who is constantly learning new things about government and politics. I believe that a representative should represent not just those in his party or those that voted for him, but all the people of the district. I believe that the people come first over any party line, and that a representative’s door should always be open, not appointment based. I believe that our political leaders have lost sight of what their job is and I want to be the one who sets the example for others to follow.
MN: How would you rate our incumbent (Ruppersberger)?
DB: I would give him a C-. He has shown the people of this district that he would rather protect big business than the interests of his constituency. He would rather vote along party lines, and destroy the Constitution with his allegiance to the House Select Committee on Intelligence. His abuse to erode the 4th Amendment with his support of CISPA, FISA, and The Patriot Act coupled with his support of NDAA 2012. He has failed to uphold his oath to support and defend the Constitution and has jeopardized the rights of his constituency and others across the nation.
MN: What would be the first piece of legislation you would propose if elected?
DB: The first piece of legislation I would present would be a loaded bill. Pay cuts for elected officials, in the House, Senate, and the Presidency to the median income of the United States. Added to that would be term limits. The House would have a two-term limit of two years a term. The Senate would have a two-term limit at four years a term. This would reduce the elitism and career politicians that we see today in Washington and would prevent the “out of touch” feeling that we, as voters, have when someone holds office too long. We, the voters, only become important when it is election time.
MN: What are your thoughts on the ongoing hearings on the attack at the embassy in Benghazi?
DB: The fact that the White House denied knowing there were whistle blowers when the social networks knew, meant they were lying to cover something up. Now the White House is struggling with them coming forward. There is so much information coming out and I believe that Hillary Clinton should be held responsible, as well as anyone else who was involved in covering it up, and not allowing for the military to respond. Those four dead men deserve the truth and deserve justice.
MN: What do you think is the most important issue facing America?
DB: I think it is the ideology of the two party system. It’s not the debt, the jobs, immigration, or terrorism, it is the gridlock, it is the erosion of freedom. It seems the only thing congress can agree on is eroding the Constitution and limiting the rights of people. Since 9/11 this nation has lost so many freedoms. We are molested in public by TSA agents, who have never caught a terrorist, we are subject to indefinite detention without trial through NDAA, We are watched and listened too through the patriot act, there are limits on how we can protest and where, and now the second amendment is under fire. We are supposed to be the beacon of freedom on earth, the last hope for mankind. We wage undeclared wars against nations we do not like, to promote peace and democracy, but we shred democracy at home. The two parties lock out third parties from competing through their rules and limitation of how they can get on the ballot. Only a handful have made it to the House or the Senate. The two parties are changing what is supposed to be a Constitutional Republic to a Democracy where the rights of the minority are trampled upon by the tyranny of the majority. We were given a Republic and we could not keep it. Our nation is divided by left/right ideals, each fighting for power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And right now our elected officials are so corrupt they are ignoring the people they are supposed to represent, and the constitution they are supposed to protect.
MN: What are your thoughts on the sequester?
DB: The sequester was weak. It had no real rules and it was small in comparison to the budget. Congress has been adjusting it and trying to remove it all together. The President blew it way out of proportion and it made him look bad when he was wrong. They said the stock market would crash when actually we are seeing at all time highs. It was a good thing and the market responded well to that. It should have been bigger though, that way Congress would have had to come up with something realistic.
MN: What are your views on abortion?
DB: Unless you are raped, life of the mother is in danger, or a child who has been molested, no. 45% of Planned Parenthoods’ revenue is taxpayer funded. That means those who believe that abortion is wrong are forced to pay for it. Democrats tout planned parenthood as a woman’s rights issue. Those who believe that, do not look at history very closely. Planned Parenthood was set up to suppress the black population. 78% of their clinics are located in black neighborhoods. 35% of abortions through planned parenthood are black babies. Abortion isn’t about women, its about control, suppression, and racism. I do not understand how the first black President and the NAACP can promote planned parenthood to their own people as a good thing. The only people or organization I could imagine, that would be pleased with planned parenthood, would be the KKK. “The Negro cannot win as long as he is willing to sacrifice the lives of his children for comfort and safety.”- Martin Luther King
MN: You mention on your Facebook page the need to reform the tax code. Have you seen any specific tax code reform option which you support? If not, do you have a specific idea in mind to reform our national tax code?
DB: The federal government taxes everything from bubble gum to your paycheck. What isn’t taxed? Groceries, except in Virginia. We’re taxing rain in Maryland, I mean, how far will the government go to get your money? Up until 1913 we had no income tax. We kept everything we earned. Now we are being taxed from 10%-50%. The revolution was fought over less than 5% so why are we accepting this? The one tax that I truly believe needs to go is the Federal income tax. We want our economy to grow but we take from our citizens ability to spend. How can an economy grow if the citizens cannot spend? Families are struggling across this nation, trying to put food on the table, but they are forced to pay tribute to their government by allowing the government to take from their paycheck. Some deem not paying the income tax as unpatriotic, but I view it as government tyranny. Eliminate the income tax by creating an amendment to override the 16th amendment.
MN: What is your opinion of term limits?
DB: I believe that the longer a person holds office, the more out of touch that representative becomes with the constituency. The longer they hold office the more elitist they become. They talk about the rich not paying their fair share, or putting their money in offshore bank accounts when most of Congress are millionaires and do the same things. Term limits are a must, and should be since 75% of the people, according to politico, want term limits.
MN: You mention on your Facebook page, "Foreign Aid needs to come to an end." Would you propose an end to all foreign aid immediately or a phase out of foreign aid?
DB: Why should we pay child support to other nations when we cannot take care of our own here? Why are we borrowing from China to give to other nations? We are so concerned with the debt, but few know that this country pays $0.60 on the dollar in interest. Thomas Jefferson warned us about entangling alliances, and we failed to listen. We give foreign aid to countries that burn our flag, are we insane? Burn our flag, lose your funding.
MN: What is one thing you want to ensure potential voters know about your campaign?
DB: The campaign I am running has all been payed for out of pocket, except for about $185. I have made clear with those who are helping me with my campaign that I will not have shirts, pens, signs, etc . . . that are not American made. I believe in America’s ability to create products, and I will not settle for a cheaper product made in another country, to save money. I could not love this country more, and I will not let it slip away to a tyrannical government, or to those who do not love this country. I believe that everyone should have a voice, and thus my campaign slogan is “A Voice for Everyone”
UPDATE: Uncapher himself has dismissed the rumor, but still - an interesting interview nonetheless.
Rumor has it, Montgomery County GOP Chair Mark Uncapher may try to unseat Mooney at the GOP convention this weekend. I interviewed him in 2010 when he considered a bid for MD GOP Treasurer. Below is a copy of that interview.
Matthew R. Newman: What made you decide to run for MD GOP Treasurer?
Mark Uncapher: I have been frustrated by the in-fighting among the State Party leadership during the past four years that has spilled in the press, including the contentious relationship for the Republican legislative leadership. While I had hoped that the party had finally “turned the corner” in the past year, I was disappointed by the failure of State Leadership to complete the necessary procedural steps that would have allowed us to designate a candidate for Attorney General.
MRN: How do you feel that the state party performed in the 2010 election cycle?
MU: We need to be honest with ourselves that Maryland Republicans did not perform as well as Republicans have done in other “Blue States” given the 2010 political environment. While we regained a House seat, the losses in the State Senate balanced by the gains in the House are essentially a push.
MRN: What are your thoughts on incumbent Treasurer Chris Rosenthal?
MU: Chris is a competent professional who unfortunately sees his “client” as being the immediate leadership of the party, rather than the Central Committee has a whole.
MRN: How do you feel your background will help qualify you for the position of MD GOP Treasurer?
MU: In addition to having held a variety of party offices, in both government and in the private sector, I have held a number of positions with financial management responsibility.
Over the course of my professional career, I have served in a variety of financial management positions in both the public and private sector. My past work includes:
Being responsible for providing staff review of New York City’s financial plan for the state’s Financial Control Board as Assistant Counsel to the New York State Comptroller,
Managing the technical accounting staff responsible for contractor financial reporting; compliance and financial audits for a $500 million entity, and
Serving as the principal staff member for Congressional oversight of the federal Inspectors General as Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Government Management.
MRN: What would be your top priority if selected as the next Treasurer of the State Central Committee?
MU: Increased transparency and better communication with Central Committee members.
MRN: What do you feel are the challenges that are facing the State Central Committee financially?
MU: We need too follow the example of more effective “Blue State” parties that win elections despite a challenging political environment. This includes developing and maintaining a base from like-minded supporters.
MRN: You mentioned that you “…found the financial reporting by the current Treasurer to be deficient at an especially critical time…” in your experience as a Montgomery County GOP Chair. Would you mind explaining that further?
MU: In July 2009 prior to a critical Executive Committee meeting Chris Cavey encouraged State Executive Committee members to contact Chris Rosenthal to learn more about the party’s financial position. Yet when I tried to do so, Chris Rosenthal effectively contradicted Chris Cavey. At a time when the party leadership needed unvarnished information about our finances, as an Executive Committee member, I could not get the specific detail requested from the Treasurer.
Yet just a few weeks later I learned that Chris Rosenthal was actively contemplating in the making a recommendation that the Maryland State Republican Party consider seek bankruptcy “protection.”
MRN: What do you feel is the most important visible role of the State Party Treasurer?
MRN: Do you have some specific ideas to improve upon the office of MD GOP Treasurer / to benefit the MD GOP’s finances?
MU: Combined response for #8 & #9: A successful political party requires a team effort. I look forward to working with the other committee members whose names have been circulated as running for the other offices. But we need more transparency and openness.
MRN: What’s the one thing you want to ensure Central Committee members know about your campaign / bid for Treasurer?
MU: I know that Conservatives and Republicans can win in a “Blue State” because I have been involved in multiple successful efforts to do it.
For example, from 1978 through 1990 I was a senior political operative for with the only person who has ever won four statewide elections in New York running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines. In 1993 and 1994 as Finance Chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, I was actively involved with the successful election of a Republican Mayor and Governor in New York.
Ken Timmerman is an investigative reporter for NewsMax, founder /CEO of the not-for-profit organization Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and an author. He's running for Congress in Maryland's 8th Congressional district which, as Anthropocon pointed out, has become more of a swing district based on the MD legislature's attempt to gerrymander incumbent Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R) out of a district. In 2002, Maryland's 8th Congressional District was gerrymandered from a swing district to an all-Democratic leaning district, leading to then State Senator Chris Van Hollen (D) elected over incumbent Connie Morella (R). With the changes to the district following the 2010 census, this district returns to its historic swing-state, with half the district in more conservative Frederick County. Internal polling from May from the Timmerman camp, show him within single digits in the new district. This is important to note, because we have battlegrounds across the nation we may not realize, so we need to pay attention to local races. I was able to get an email-based interview with Timmerman, asking him about his views on the issues. What follows are his answers:
Matthew Newman: What made you decide to run for Congress?
Ken Timmerman: I believe our country is headed in the wrong direction, and government is the problem, not the solution. We are spending way beyond our means at the same time we are creating bigger and more intrusive government and hollowing out our military. Recently, my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our first grandchild, and I realized she was born with a debt of $50,000 on her head – the Obama deficits. This has just got to stop before we become bankrupt, like Greece.
MN: What about your background makes you uniquely qualified to serve as a Member of Congress?
KT: My opponent is a career politician. I’ve spent my career investigating politicians. I will bring that oversight capability to Congress on my first day in office.
Over the past thirty years as a war correspondent, author, and investigative reporter, I have been covering many of the hot spots you read about in the national media. I have seen first hand many of the problems that make the evening news.
I have been kidnapped and taken hostage by terrorists, an experience that changed my life forever. I have investigated corporations that have spread dual-use technologies to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya, where they were used to build Weapons of Mass Destruction. I have been sent by the State Department to share my knowledge of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear weapons program with delegates to the International Atomic Energy Agency. So subjects such as these are not abstract to me, but something I know well. Because of my work on Iran, I was jointly nominated for the Noble Peace prize with Ambassador John Bolton in 2006.
Over the past four years I have made several trips to northern Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon to bear witness to the persecuted church, and have published a book about these experiences, St. Peter’s Bones, so that Americans can gain a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian living in a Muslim land. We cannot tolerate the introduction of Sharia law into American courts or American society, since history shows without any ambiguity that Sharia law is antithetical to the freedoms we hold dear.
For the past seven years, I have been the lead investigator for families of 9/11 victims in a ground-breaking civil lawsuit against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Based on my evidence, a federal district judge ruled just before Christmas that Iran “shared responsibility” for the 9/11 terrorist attacks with al Qaeda, and had provided “direct, material support” for the attacks.
As former president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association, I understand better than most that when the Democrats talk about government revenue, what they really mean is, your money. Already in 2000-2001, I urged the adoption of a Return-the-Surplus amendment to our state’s constitution as a means to prevent spendthrift politicians from wasting more of the taxpayer’s money.
BP: If you are elected, what do you envision as your key emphases or key messages to Southern Baptists? What do you see as greatest challenge to the SBC in the short-term?
Luter: This convention has been one of the top conventions in the world as far as our primary mission of evangelism and discipleship. My goal and vision is that we would get back to being that convention we're known for. Through the years we've kind of gone off-track with some things and that has allowed us to not make evangelism and discipleship our main focus. My prayer is just that we get going back in the right direction, depending on God to help us fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. That's what He's called us to do and that's what I hope to lead this convention to do during my time as our president.
BP: Even with just your nomination, what message do you hope it sends to the SBC and to the nation?
Luter: The thing I hope it sends to the SBC is that if you're faithful to God and faithful to God's Word, that God will be faithful to you. That's what's happened here. I'm from the Lower Ninth Ward, and Mom and Dad were divorced when I was a kid. But through the 30-some years I've been a believer and the 25 years I've been a pastor, I have been faithful to God, faithful to the Word of God, and faithful to my wife. I just believe God has allowed this [nomination] to happen for such a time as this. It is nothing I was looking for. It was not on my bucket list, so to speak, but I think God ordained this because of the fact that what we're dealing with right now through the convention is trying to make the convention diverse. I think this will speak not only to our convention but to our country and throughout the world that this convention is serious about reaching all people.
BP: Since news broke at last year's meeting that you would consider allowing your nomination as SBC president, what comments by fellow SBC leaders and by friends have been most significant or most encouraging to you?
Luter: They've been saying, 'Fred, it's time. Many of them feel God has just raised me up for this time to speak not only a message of the Word of God to our convention, but to the folk who are not part of our convention about the direction this convention wants to go as far as reaching all peoples. I think this will say to a lot of young preachers across America who are Asian, African American, Hispanic that hey, this convention is not just saying this. They're putting their money to their mouth. This convention is truly open to all people.
BP: Describe the rise in awareness of you by SBC leaders. How did it come to pass that you preached the annual sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention in 2001 when it was last in New Orleans?
Luter: It happened as a result of our baptism record. We started growing as a church and as a result leading our association in baptisms, and from there our Louisiana Baptist Convention. Wayne Jenkins [LBC evangelism director] called one year in the early 1990s. I didn't know him when he called, but I will never forget it. He said Franklin Avenue was first in the state in baptisms and he'd like me to come up and receive an award at the evangelism conference, 'and I'd like you to preach,' he said. After that, Wayne would give my name to different ones and before you know it I would be preaching at different evangelism conferences and state conventions across the country.
Read the whole article. I'm excited about Luter's candidacy and think he has the opportunity to be a powerful voice / leader for the Southern Baptist Convention.