Local GOP names voter outreach effort after biblical plague


Since my last post on a Republican candidate in Prince George’s County, there has been a lot of reaction. The piece made the front page of Fark.com, which resulted in a great deal of web traffic. Additionally, the leadership of the PG County GOP has gone into full shoot the messenger mode, just like they did when I mentioned Janice Fountaine briefly in a previous post.

For the record, I am sure there are plenty of people doing hard work in the PG County GOP and across Maryland when it comes to recruiting candidates. Of course, I never said otherwise. I just pointed out a candidate that has a history of statements that could become problematic in a general election. Does that mean people didn’t work hard recruiting candidates? No.

It goes back to the philosophy of trying to find a “warm body” to put on the ballot for every elective office. My personal opinions on Michael Peroutka or Janice Fountaine and their views don’t matter. What matters is to at least acknowledge there could be issues with campaigns of controversial candidates. If nobody else can be found, then so be it.  However, me writing about it now is better than the Democrats writing about it in the fall. Deal with the controversy and move on to the more important things when it gets to crunch time. It’s March now. The primary is in June and the general election is November. Nothing I write now has much of an impact on a general election race.

Of course, all the wailing and gnashing of teeth (as the saying goes, a hit dog will holler) does make me want to find out more of what is going on, so I decided to take a look at the PG County GOP Central Committee website and see exactly what sorts of things they are doing to help find candidates and then elect them. If you click on the Join our Grassroots link you go to a page that has this graphic across the top:


Yes, the PG GOP Voter Outreach Campaign graphic bears the words “Sea of Locusts.”

If you look at the letter on the signup page from Central Committee member you’ll see this (emphasis added):

About the PG GOP Voter Outreach Campaign

The Prince George’s county Republican Party has its voter outreach campaign designed to cover the whole county like a ‘sea of locusts” to spread a message that is good for all – support for individual liberty, free market solutions, and fiscal responsibility in government.   To achieve success in electing our candidates who will translate this message into action,  we must provide a grassroots organization to support them in every neighborhood and community.   Throughout the 200 precincts in the county, we’re looking to recruit a reliable canvass leader in each one.  If, through our campaign, we can identify on average just 50 activists and supporters in each precinct, we’ll have a massive army of 10,000 patriots – a huge “sea of locusts” around the whole county to support our candidates through to victory on Election Day.  Please join us in this effort for better government and quality of life in Prince George’s county.

You’re invited to Join!

Canvassing door-to-door is the main means for conducting voter outreach, to create the grassroots support and organization we need to win elections. Those of us who do this canvassing on a regular basis find it most rewarding and worthwhile – getting acquainted with neighbors to share our positive message for the benefit of all. Working in teams, canvassing can also be a lot of fun as well, since you get to meet so many good, civic-minded people in the process.

Our plan is well-organized to support and mobilize each volunteer to fit into our overall campaign. You are invited to join our growing leadership team to help us cover the whole county like a sea of locusts. A special grassroots database system is built into this campaign to assure we maintain good follow-up contact with all our key personnel.

Besides serving as a canvass leader, we also need phone calling and clerical help; as well as duties on election day such as working at the polls, and inside as poll watchers and judges to help assure honest voting. Contact me directly for more details.

Can we count on your support? Call me for details: Lee Havis, 240-481-1566

In liberty,

Lee Havis, Chair
PG GOP Voter Outreach Campaign
Lee Havis, cell: 240-481-1566

The efforts for canvassing and voter outreach sound good for paper and I assume the PG GOP is working hard to implement them. However, it’s not good optics to compare people you are sending to people’s houses to a biblical plague. After all, the biblical plagues, including the locusts, were inflicted upon the Egpytians by God in the book of Exodus. There have been lots of comparisons made between the Exodus of the Israelites and the Emancipation of African-American Slaves in the Unted States.

Prince George’s County has a majority of African-American residents and I’m sure that is a major component of the PG GOP’s outreach efforts. It might have been better to think through this “Sea of Locusts” thing through. The symbolism is flawed and the optics are bad. Do you really want to make it look like you’re inflicting a plague on the people of the county? Additionally, some Democrats might try to reach and misplay the race card on this matter at some point, which wouldn’t be helpful for outreach efforts.

Another thing to note is that Lee Havis, the Central Committee member who is the Chair of the “Sea of Locusts” Voter Outreach Campaign closes his message “In Liberty.” Additionally, Havis has an email address listed for his contact information as a patriotvoting.com email address. That domain belongs to the Patriot Vetting Committee of which Havis seems to be the prime mover:

The PVC aims to achieve election success for patriot candidates through consensus-building vetting among those patriot groups that support liberty and limited, constitutional government.  It provides vital tools to create the context for this type of consensus vetting at no cost to those committed patriot groups involved in this process. This website and tools provided here reflect many years of experience and knowledge in the area of political organizing, and is offered as a contribution to support the successful election of committed patriot candidates.

The PVC tools are available only to groups committed to an its basic guiding principles, as reflected by their affiliation.

A profile of Lee Havis, who was an organizer for Ross Perot in 1992, is also found on the PVC site and there are a lot of other things you can read until your eyes glaze over. Some of the groups mentioned on the PVC site are: Tea Party Patriots, 9.12 Project, Resistnet, We the People, Smart Girl Politics, and Tea Party.org.

Additionally, Havis is vetting organizer for the Free State Patriots here in Maryland. In that role he sent this letter to leaders of other patriot groups in Maryland, seeking to collaborate on vetting candidates.

There are a few tea party and liberty-oriented groups in Maryland. In addition to Free State Patriots, the Cecil County Patriots, Wicomico Society of Patriots, and others, there are groups like the Maryland Liberty PAC (headed by Patrick McGrady) and the Campaign for Liberty.

I’ve written before about a looming fight over party control between the  liberty people and some of the party establishment as it is starting to play out in  central committee races. (Of course the Andy Harris supporters in the Cecil County Patriots – which has had it out with the local Campaign for Liberty – aren’t as anti-establishment as the rest.)

I’m just passing all of this along for background information. I support a lot of the positions and goals of many tea party groups and liberty groups. I do however call them like I see them when it comes to good ideas and bad ideas no matter where they originate. Regardless of whose idea the “Sea of Locusts” theme for the PG  GOP’s voter outreach efforts was, it’s a bad idea. The idea of being out there and thoroughly covering the county with your outreach is a great idea. I’m just quibbling with the use of the “Sea of Locusts” language and graphic to promote it.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton