The Sun sets on Red Maryland


Over the weekend I wrote about the evolving situation that started off when Joe Steffen wrote about Red Maryland the previous Sunday. Joe Steffen went after Red Maryland. He accused them of running a protection racket in the way they were soliciting advertising for their radio shows. He also criticized them for Mark Newgent, a Red Maryland contributor, and Jackie Wellfonder, a Red Maryland Network host, doing consulting work. Additionally, Wellfonder’s and Red Maryland’s early support for Larry Hogan was mentioned. Later that week, Michael Swartz inserted himself into the situation and then Red Maryland responded to Steffen’s claims and denied his allegations of a “protection racket” while seemingly implying that they might pursue legal action.

As I noted in my Saturday piece, it appeared to me that Red Maryland’s early Friday response was a result of The Baltimore Sun saying something to them. I received a no comment from a Red Maryland contributor late Friday when I asked if the Sun had contacted them. As it turns out, there was a good reason for that.

Yesterday, Media Matters reported on the events of March 7:

That same day, the Sun terminated their relationship with Red Maryland. In an email response to Media MattersSun Director of Marketing Mutchnik explained that the paper learned of the advertising solicitation and Newgent’s paid research work “late last week” and “formally ended our freelance relationship with Red Maryland” on March 7. “We also strive to avoid any conflicts of interest or the appearance of any conflicts among our staff and freelancers,” Mutchnik said.

The City Paper has also reported on the move now with this disclaimer at the bottom:

* This is part of a series of media-watch posts partly inspired by City Paper’s ownership by the Baltimore Sun Media Group.

From information I’ve seen, I would dispute what MMFA says about the late last week part of the timeline for the Sun learning of those facts. The original Steffen blog post appeared the previous Sunday and I it would appear they knew about it early in the week. Emails I received yesterday would also indicate that the information on the departure was apparently leaked to Media Matters from a source inside the Sun.

The email issue first mentioned by Steffen is something that appears to be a big mistake. I’m sure Red Maryland sent out marketing emails like that before they were blogging for the Sun as well.  They made a mistake by including the Sun in that message. No matter how innocent their implications might have been, they should have known that nefarious inferences could and would be drawn by their enemies on the right and left.

One veteran politico noted that the marketing email was “just dumb” and a “questionable” decision. This same politico noted that:

Those guys were still thinking and behaving like bloggers. The Sun relationship required that they change their thinking.

It would also appear Mark Newgent’s consulting for Change Maryland and Larry Hogan played a major part in the Sun’s decision. A lot of people online knew that Newgent had done consulting for Change Maryland in the past. He didn’t hide it. A few knew more recently that he has been consulting for the Hogan campaign. Steffen’s piece brought both of these facts to a larger audience and resulted in more scrutiny. I’ve noted before that Red Maryland’s early endorsement of Hogan could cause them to have credibility issues in writing about the primary. Had full disclosure everywhere of Newgent’s consulting been handled a little better they might not have found themselves in this situation. For the record, Newgent points out to me that he never wrote about Larry Hogan or Change Maryland for the Sun and he personally made a conscious effort not to write about them at all.

I attempted to get a comment from Joe Steffen on yesterday’s developments and he only replied, “That’s a shame.”

Of course, conservatives or libertarians blogging at mainstream media outlets always have a short leash (e.g. Ben Domenech and Dave Weigel at WaPo.) The standards of what it takes to get rid of conservative bloggers at mainstream media outlets are much lower than for liberals. Of course, in the case of Weigel, it was conservatives who helped hound him out of the job, despite what conservative blogger Stacy McCain pointed out:

[O]nce the WaPo axed Ben Domenech, it was more than four years before they again tried a “conservative” blog. As someone who is BCC’d said to me on the phone Thursday, Dave is “about the best we can expect” from the Post. So there’s nothing to be gained by conservatives doing a takedown on Weigel, and perhaps a good deal to be lost.

The City Paper article pointed out that the Sun’s hiring of Red Maryland was a similar progression that happened at other papers including WaPo:

To cater to those readers, newspapers will often either groom their own in-house conservatives (TheSun did this years ago with the late Gregory Kane, who began as a reader firing off letters to the editor, was brought on as a street reporter and upon the shuttering of the Evening Sun, was promoted to columnist) or partner with an already-established conservative blog, which the paper did with Red Maryland last November.

Mark Newgent told me that Red Maryland “ruffled feathers on both sides.”

Right out of the gates, Democrats were upset about the alliance between the Sun and Red Maryland. In fact, I have confirmed that the O’Malley cronies at KO Public Affairs called the Baltimore Sun and threatened to sue them over the very first op-ed the Sun published by Red Maryland. KO Public Affairs has led astroturfing campaigns in support of speed cameras (while working for contractors seeking government money.) Those campaigns were covered by Bryan Sears, Watchdog Wire, and by me at my previous Baltimore blog.

Democrats in Annapolis have also verbally accosted Sun reporters about the Red Maryland alliance from the beginning. Additionally, Media Matters has had the Sun and Red Maryland in their sites. After Media Matters attacked them, a handful of people on the right who have had their own beefs with Red Maryland started pushing the MMFA posts online in attempts to damage Red Maryland.

MMFA previously attacked Red Maryland because of their efforts to expose the cronyism involving KO Public Affairs. They also hit Red Maryland for squabbles with supporters of Charles Lollar supporters. Those Lollar supporters at the time pushed the MMFA pieces, which is odd for supposed conservatives. MMFA also attacked Red Maryland on a pro-life op-ed that appeared in the Sun. Additionally, gun grabber Vinny Demarco (who is as liberal as you would expect on almost any issue) was shredded by Red Maryland in one of the pieces MMFA took issue with.

Media Matters receives the largest portion of its funding from George Soros-affiliated foundations and also receives large amounts of money from other liberal benefactors. Some of Red Maryland’s Republican detractors would apparently rather make common cause with O’Malley cronies in-state and Soros-funded outsiders if it means getting a meaningless win in some internal party struggle.

The grudges against Red Maryland by some (current and former) Lollar supporters go back before the Sun deal started. In fact, Matthew Adams attacked Red Maryland’s Brian Griffiths last summer for daring to talk to the Baltimore Sun on the record about internal GOP squabbles. Julie Brewington (more on her here) who has been a county and regional coordinator in the past for the Lollar campaign despite her protestations otherwise now, piled on and implied Griffiths had a mental illness. Of course, it was in all likelihood Lollar supporters who tried this and then paid my house a visit in the middle of the night after I didn’t cave. Some of them have continued to defame me since then and I’ll repeat what I said recently again:  Maybe instead of spreading lies and libel about people, they should just shut up and get right with God and their personal liability carrier.

Additionally, former Lollar campaign manager Karen Winterling (more on her here) was doing a touchdown dance in the endzone on Facebook last night over the Media Matters piece as if she has actually won something (something that would be rare for her and many of the other Lollarites personally in a political campaign admittedly.)  It makes me wonder – is it worse to be hired by the Lollar campaign or fired by the Lollar campaign? I’m sure Karen has an opinion on that.

It would seem petty political grudges and jealousy of others getting attention is more important to some than advancing the conservative cause. Of course this is a problem the whole Maryland GOP has. As I’ve said before, the only time the circular firing squad stops in the MD GOP is to shoot the messenger.  It’s obvious that gaining political points against other Republicans is just as important to many as working to elect Republicans. Of course, gaining cheap political points against other Republicans is actually a feat that Maryland Republicans are capable of accomplishing. Electing Republicans on anything but a local level is another matter entirely.

Even if you disagree with his other characterizations of Red Maryland, Joe Steffen pointed out information that showed mistakes and errors by Red Maryland. The missteps in both how they handled disclosure of consulting and in the marketing techniques would have likely come out eventually anyway and caused a similar end result. As I’ve noted above, conservatives have a shorter leash (a.k.a. higher standards) than a liberal would have writing for a mainstream newspaper.

Ben Domenech left WaPo after liberals started going after him before he was even on the job. Dave Weigel left WaPo after conservatives hounded him out of the job. Some of these same conservatives were probably wishing for Weigel back after having to live through Jennifer Rubin’s Romney shilling during the 2012 primaries.

Here in Maryland, it appears that O’Malley’s cronies and the Soros-funded MMFA were out to get Red Maryland canned at the Sun from the beginning. Then, Republicans piled on and let their own feuds or jealousy fuel them into using the words and tactics of the hard left to trash Red Maryland. I doubt The Baltimore Sun will take a chance on any other conservative bloggers in the immediate future and I’m sure many short-sighted Republicans who hate the Sun and don’t get the big picture of engaging the broader culture will be happy with that.

Here’s a good response from former Republican candidate Katie Nash:

Obligatory Red Maryland/Baltimore Sun response – I can’t say I disagree with the Sun’s reasoning and you all know I vehemently disagree with my debate partner Gregory M Kline from time to time. Yet I thought it was cool when the Sun picked them up and really, it doesn’t bother me when someone disagrees with me (or endorses a weak candidate). Let’s let it go for goodness sakes. And sidebar, all of you who hoot and holler about how liberal the Sun is and how we should ignore Maryland’s newspaper – that’s amateur hour.

The Red Maryland era at the Baltimore Sun has ended and I’m sure the same Republicans who are gloating over Red Maryland no longer writing there will be the ones braying the most this fall about the Sun’s bias.

The infighting in the MD GOP is so fierce because the stakes are so small.

David Vogt claims to be serving Chick-Fil-A at a Sunday event


UPDATE: A local GOP activist in the Frederick area notes on Facebook that Chick-Fil-A provides food for numerous Sunday events and that a manager will go in on Sunday alone to prepare the food. I’ve already emailed corporate communications at Chick-Fil-A and I’ve heard back from them and should be hearing back from them again. I will continue to update the situation.

David Vogt has a Spring Fling event scheduled on March 23 in Brunswick. He stated today that a special guest will be at the event now, and I’m hearing speculation that this will be the first public appearance some ore all of the members of the newly-formed slate of candidates that includes Senate candidate Mike Hough and House candidates Vogt, Kathy Afzali, and Barrie Ciliberti. I have to wonder what Hough gains by this slate if that’s what is happening. I would think he would be a strong candidate alone and might be dragged down by all of the house candidates listed.

Getting back to the Vogt Spring Fling;  that event on March 23 will feature a “Free Chick-Fil-A Lunch.”

The first question that comes to mind: how will Vogt afford that?

Then, the next question that comes to mind: does Vogt realize Chick-Fil-A is closed on Sunday?

If so, then that means he is going to be pre-ordering and picking up the sandwiches or party trays on Saturday and reheating them on Sunday for that event. That brings up all sorts of potential food safety issues. Everybody knows Chick-Fil-A closes on Sunday, so who will want to show up for day-old chicken sandwiches or nuggets?

Other candidates running for the House of Delegates are Kelly Schulz and Wendi Peters, who was just endorsed by Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins.

Here’s the flier for the event:


Charles Lollar and Larry Hogan skip the Maryland March for Life


Monday, I attended the 2014 Maryland March for Life in Annapolis. The Mass and non-denominational service ahead of the march itself started at 5:15. Then the march to the Statehouse and a rally at Lawyers Mall followed. The rally was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. I will have a full report on the event later but I just wanted to highlight some details about who was there and who wasn’t.

Charles Lollar, Larry Hogan, and Brian Vaeth weren’t there.

I wouldn’t have expected Vaeth to be there since he reportedly is liberal on social issues. Hogan missing it really wasn’t a surprise either since he only apparently attends his own events (except when he skipped a Lincoln-Douglass Dinner to go to an event for a local candidate.) Additionally, Larry Hogan’s past comments on abortion (and his avoidance of the issue) made it obvious he wouldn’t be there. A full summary of Hogan’s positions can be found here. Instead of attending the march, Hogan was touring a winery in Mt. Airy this afternoon and at a brewpub in Frederick for a campaign event tonight. I keep hearing Hogan will say privately he’s pro-life if pressed on the issue, but I’ve also heard some other disturbing reactions to questions about that from him that I am working to confirm.

Charles Lollar was the one that puzzled me. Lollar has consistently expressed his pro-life views when running for Congress and at other times. While he originally didn’t have abortion-related issues on his website, he later added them. Instead of being seen by pro-life activists from across the state as he stood in solidarity with them, Lollar and his running mate Ken Timmerman were at the Charles County GOP Central Committee meeting in White Plains. Lollar was at their Lincoln-Douglass Dinner recently. I’m not sure what he gained by skipping the March for Life to go to that meeting tonight. I keep hearing Lollar has a plan that would shake up things radically after he took office related to this issue.

The first elected official I saw in attendance was Congressman Andy Harris who was in the back of St. Mary’s during the Mass (which was standing room only with people 3-4 deep in the back and a line down each side aisle of the church.) Harris also later attended the rally. I presume he marched there, but I didn’t see it for myself so I can’t say that authoritatively.

I also later saw David Craig at the rally, and he said he had been at the Mass as well. I would presume he walked in the march also. You can see a previous report on Craig’s positions and record that I wrote here. Additionally, his pro-life positions are listed on his website.  Ron George was also at the rally. His pro-life history and positions can be bound here. George also has reached out to pro-life activists with a letter.

Several other legislators were there and I will discuss them in my later post on the march itself.

Another story you heard here first: Craig campaign’s new finance chairman


On February 28, I confirmed that Josh Wolf had returned to the Craig campaign to be finance director. I also reported then that Steve Salamon was the campaign’s finance chairman. Today, the Craig campaign officially announced Salamon’s role.

The Craig release:

David Craig Announces New Addition to Campaign Team
David Craig announced today that Stephen J. Salamon, a former Chairman of the Maryland Health Care Commission, will assume the official duties of campaign finance chairman.
As an adviser to the campaign prior to being officially named as finance chairman, Salamon has already had a wide-ranging impact on the Craig campaign by enabling it to launch the first paid commercials of the 2014 gubernatorial elections that highlight sweeping reform of Maryland’s budget and tax policies.  He also has been a policy adviser on implementing the Affordable Care Act, leveraging his 33 years of insurance industry experience to allow the Craig campaign to develop solutions to reduce the effects of the bungled implementation of the law in Maryland.  And he led the campaign decision making process in accepting public financing.
“There is no one better to take over the reins of our finance operation at this critical juncture as the General Assembly is a month away from adjourning and our campaign moves forward full speed ahead, “ said Craig.  “As Jeannie Haddaway and myself travel to every corner of the state, we now have a trusted professional who can help us raise the funds to get our message out through paid media as we continue to build our grassroots momentum.”
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. appointed Salamon to the Health Care Commission in early 2003. The Governor then named Salamon chair the next year serving through the first term.   His vast insurance industry experience again overlapped in political circles where Salamon led the National Association of Health Underwriters Political Action Committee prior to Ehrlich’s election in 2002.
“David Craig is leading the policy agenda in the GOP primary with bold proposals to cut the income tax and improve the implementation of health care reform in Maryland, “ said Salamon. “As county executive, a state legislator and mayor, there is no one more qualified among any of the candidates to reform state government and enable economic opportunity.  Serving as Maryland’s governor is not an entry-level position.”
The campaign’s recent decision to accept public financing will reduce the influence of entrenched political machines during the general election and build a war chest with matching contributions during the primary season.  The state program allows the campaign to accept a dollar-for-dollar match at specified limits.
Salamon resides in Hunt Valley and continues to serve his clients as a senior employee benefits consultant.

The Quinton Report at the Maryland March for Life


I will be attending the 2014 Maryland March for Life in Annapolis this afternoon. Follow me on Twitter for updates during the march and rally. I will be writing about what I witness and posting pictures when I get back. I will specifically be noting what politicians and elected officials are participating.



Larry Hogan’s latest email has people seeing yellow


Just last week, I wrote about the 1,400+ word email that the campaign of Larry Hogan previously sent out:

This email arrived with the all-caps subject line of “WE CAN WIN!”

There are also several other uses of all-caps sentences and phrases throughout the message. None of that is ideal for avoiding recipients’ spam filters. Of course, it’s probably not a good idea to send an email that’s over 1400 words long if you expect any of the recipients to actually read it. If they want the email to be productive in fundraising, it’s good that they include donation links throughout the message. However, putting the links at seemingly random places between paragraphs as the words “CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY!” is probably not the best way to do it. Working the ask so it flows into the copy of the message and then hyperlinking those phrases would probably have more positive results than how this Hogan email did it.

This week’s email (you can see part of it above in the graphic) clocked in at around 500 words. To see it for yourself, click here.

The subject line this time wasn’t in all-caps and was, “TIME isn’t the ONLY thing we need to CHANGE TODAY!”

The subject line, with spaces, is 50 characters long. Mailchimp’s recommendations for subject lines are 50 characters or less (and they are the vendor being used by the Hogan campaign to distribute messages.)  While this subject line is better than one with all-caps I really don’t think it’s a good one. The subject line is a vitally important and often ill-considered part of the message. Experimenting with subject lines, whether through A-B testing on the same message or through experimentation on subject lines of subsequent messages, is a must to help improve open rates of messages.

This message is the second one from a Maryland Republican in recent days to try to take advantage of Daylight Saving Time as hook.

The thing that instantly jumps out at you is the hideous yellow body background. That dooms the template for the message from the start. Some of the comments I heard about the look of the message included the one word comments of “Geocities” or “Angelfire.” I also heard one person say, “It’s like 1988.” I also had one person ask if the message was really from the Hogan campaign (it is.)

This particular email uses a lot of blue text for emphasis, some of it with underlined words as well. None of the blue text is actually a hyperlink, despite that being what many people will assume until they try to click on it.


There is also one use of black text underlined which is a bit inconsistent and could also be mistaken for a link.


Then we come back to the issue of donation links. As I noted, the previous Hogan email had donation links seemingly at random places between paragraphs as the words “CLICK HERE TO DONATE TODAY!” rather than making the links in places that made sense inside the text itself. This weeks email still makes the mistake of putting those words in all caps and then makes it uglier with the white text and red background on the words. This appears to be a crude attempt at making a donate button without actually making a graphic. It’s still not the right way to do a solicitation inside the body of a message. A donate button (an actual graphic) can be used to supplement the donation links in the body, but it should only go on a sidebar or at the top or bottom of a message.


The last message had a scan of Hogan’s signature built into the closing. Apparently the white background of that graphic caused them not to use it this week with the mustard yellow background and instead use typed text. Unfortunately, the font for that text was Comic Sans, which is often the butt of jokes when it gets used on any professional documents (even David Brinkley used Segoe Print instead.) Additionally, a postscript is a great way to ask for money again in any message. However, when you include a postscript without a donation link included on the ask (yes it should be organic and not the CLICK TO DONATE TODAY! links the Hogan campaign is mistakenly in love with), you are missing an opportunity to make money. The postscript is also significantly smaller in type size than the body of the message, which could cause it to be overlooked more easily.

Here’s the signature and postscript along with examples of some of the other problems I already discussed:


At the bottom of the message there are two links – to Twitter and Facebook – that have a red background like the donation links from the message. These links aren’t white however, and look like they do below if the recipient has visited either link before. A graphic would be much better and wouldn’t take much effort to make. Additionally, the campaign already has some small social media graphic buttons on their website that would have worked for this as well.


Now that I looked at all the problems with the technical execution of this email, let’s look at the bigger picture.

I talked to one fundraising professional who agreed with my above assessment of the technical aspects of the message. Additionally, this fundraising expert discussed the content of the message as well:

The second half reads like a poorly written cover letter. And the colors and signature are horrible. Tough to read – in so many ways.

He goes on to say that the whole message is a “disaster.”

Another digital expert I talked to about this message noted how tedious the writing style is. He also noted that this message could have been sent by anyone running had you just switched out a few biographical details. It does nothing to distinguish Hogan from anyone else.

Throw in all of the technical screw-ups along with the big picture problems, it would seem obvious to anyone that whoever is responsible for the Hogan campaign’s fundraising email is grossly incompetent.

Maybe somebody at the Hogan campaign can get a copy of E-Mail Marketing for Dummies or use Google to find all of the other good resources for best practices for online fundraising and email marketing. Some help with a graphic design program could be helpful too. Maybe finding another person to do the emails that actually knows what they’re doing might help too.

This may seem inside baseball and a bit in the weeds for some readers, but it’s an important area for Republicans to get right if they want to catch up to Democrats.

Read More…

Ron George is accepting public funding for his campaign


In late December, I reported first that Ron George was considering public financing for his campaign. The Washington Post later picked that up and reported it as a possibility for the George campaign. Nothing much was heard on that since then. In early February, Larry Hogan opted to receive public financing. On February 28, it was reported that David Craig is participating in public financing.

I followed up constantly on this issue looking for a response. The deadline to file for public funding was February 25 at 9:00 p.m. (which was also the filing deadline to run.)

The George campaign was saying late in the game that he was still undecided. Both Lollar and George seemed to be having trouble closing the deal with their respective running mates, with neither of them having it sewn up until the weekend before the deadline. Lollar announced Ken Timmerman on February 24 and George announced Shelly Aloi on February 25. Maybe the issue of public funding got lost in the all the running mate selection news for Lollar and George just before the filing deadline.

It appears Lollar did not apply for public funding, which isn’t a surprise. However, I have now confirmed that Ron George did file for public funding before the deadline and apparently managed to keep it out of the media’s eye ever since. (If you have any links to coverage I might have missed on that please let me know in the comments.) I’m not sure whether that says more about the media (including bloggers like me) who missed it or whether it’s a statement of the  media’s perceived relevance of the George campaign.

Heather Mizeur is the only Democrat running for Governor taking public funding while Charles Lollar appears to be the only Republican not taking it.

More on Ben Carson and restricting gun rights

Ben Carson

Via Twitchy, Dana Loesch was tweeting during Ben Carson’s CPAC speech Saturday:


Twitchy notes:

Here’s what Carson told Glenn Beck last year, via RCP:

It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it. If you live out in the country somewhere by yourself, I have no problem.

Carson offered more on his position a few months ago in an op-ed titled “Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?”

I had noted some of the previous Carson remarks in a post:

When asked by Glenn Beck if people should be allowed to own semi-automatic weapons, Dr. Benjamin Carson said: “It depends on where you live. I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it.” (Glenn Beck Show, March 1, 2013)

From the Carson op-ed linked above:

We do, however, require that anyone driving a car on the streets of our nation have a license to do so, indicating the successful completion of adequate training. We do not grant licenses to certain categories of individuals who would be deemed unsafe drivers. This is done for the safety of the public at large.

Perhaps instead of getting into our corners and screaming at each other, it is time to engage in intelligent conversation about our desire to preserve the rights granted to American citizens by our Constitution while at the same time ensuring the safety of all of our citizens. The way we treat access to automobiles is a good starting point, although there is no perfect analogy. If we keep our goals in mind and dispose of ideological rhetoric, we can solve this problem.

As I noted last week, the Charles Lollar for Governor campaign has purported to receive Ben Carson’s endorsement (the 2nd time in the past year they’ve acted like a new endorsement was received from him.) All of the statements were in the third person from the Lollar campaign with no statements from Carson himself. The Lollar campaign also claimed Carson gave them a $4000 contribution.

You would think that someone covering all the Carson news lately with him at CPAC would’ve thought to ask him about it had there been an actual statement from Carson about it (or if there was a statement, they would had to have considered Lollar relevant.) I am in the process of trying to get comments from the Carson people about the supposed endorsement from Lollar and I will do a follow-up if and when I get a response. Only one thing is certain, Carson won’t be voting for Lollar (unless he changes his registration.) I’ve confirmed that Carson is currently registered as an independent in Maryland and would not be allowed to vote in the GOP primary.

VIDEO: New Trailer for 24: Live Another Day



Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) makes his grand return this year in 24: Live Another Day. This time, he’s using his fugitive status to save the President of the United States from an assassination plot in England.

More from IGN:

Whereas the original eight seasons followed a “real time” 24-episode format, 24: Live Another Day has only 12 episodes and labels itself an “event,” which basically means “miniseries.” Each episode will still take place over the course of one hour.

Live Another Day was shot on location in London. Mary Lynn Rajskub and William Devane return as Chloe O’Brian and Secretary of State-turned-President James Heller, respectively. Newcomers include Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Tate Donovan (Argo), Benjamin Bratt (Despicable Me 2) and Stephen Fry (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) as British Prime Minister, Trevor Davies.

Stephen Curtis Chapman to perform at rally for Lindsey Graham opponent


The State

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Richard Cash is throwing a “One Nation Under God Rally” for his birthday on March 31, and he’ll sing if he wants to. Cash booked five-time Grammy winner and Christian singer-songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman. The Easley businessman is one of six GOP challengers to GOP incumbent Graham in June’s primary.

Other primary opponents to Lindsey Graham are Lee Bright, Bill Connor, and Nancy Mace.