“The thing about Baltimore County is, it has potential for greatness, and it has the potential for disaster.”
Tune in to Delegate Pat McDonough’s radio show Saturday nights on WCBM-680, and you’ll hear callers like Barbara giving her full-throated support for the President, and McDonough giving it right back.
“Trump’s plan is what’s working," Barbara told McDonough. "And that’s why you’re going to win You never back away from it. You always support him.”
McDonough responded, “Why do his supporters keep putting up with the things he says? The point is his agenda, his substance, his program is what they want. They believe in him.”
McDonough, who is running for the GOP nomination for Baltimore County Executive, has been nicknamed the Donald Trump of Baltimore County. But in an interview with WYPR, McDonough said if he wins he will emulate a different Donald, former Baltimore City mayor and governor William Donald Schaefer.
“The only thing in the world that meant anything to him was Baltimore City", McDonough said. "And he would fight you tooth and nail for Baltimore City.”
McDonough’s plan for fighting tooth and nail for the county includes trying to move the Pimlico race track there and building an arena. McDonough said private developers would foot the bill.
McDonough said he would move quickly to scrap County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s executive order protecting people in Baltimore County who are living in the country illegally.
"As long as it takes me for the county attorney to hand me a paper and pen, it will be gone." McDonough said.
That executive order in part prohibits the police from asking people their immigration status.
McDonough said he would focus on criminals like drug dealers, not law-abiding people who are living in the country without legal permission.
“Yes, we’re going to be tough and we’re going to go after them, McDonough said. "And they’re going to get the message. A lot of people aren’t going to want to come to Baltimore County. And we’re going to work with the Feds. We’re going to work very closely with the Feds.”
McDonough said he would tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he now has a friend in Baltimore County.
McDonough is in his 20th year in the House of Delegates. His district is in the conservative east side of the county.
He is running in the GOP primary against State Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer. Goucher College political science professor Mileah Kromer said McDonough has strong support among core conservatives.
“I think that it’s important that we don’t discount, especially in a Republican primary in Baltimore County, how important and perhaps how enthusiastic those voters are for Mr. McDonough,” Kromer said.
Delegate Joe Cluster, a former executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said Republican primary voters may be more enthusiastic about McDonough, but Redmer has a better shot of beating a Democrat in the general election.
“Pat has been called the Donald Trump of Baltimore County," Cluster said. "Donald Trump’s approval rating in Baltimore County is probably close to 30 percent.”
And as Trump sees Mexico as a source of problems for the U.S., McDonough sees Baltimore City as a threat to the county’s way of life, with drugs, crime and poor people flowing across the border.
To slow that, he wants to put a moratorium on affordable housing vouchers in the county. Kamenetz’s office said that may be illegal and could do damage to the county’s housing market. The program pays more than $5 million monthly to landlords.
Yet McDonough said the county is at a crossroads.
“The thing about Baltimore County is, it has potential for greatness," McDonough said. "And it has the potential for disaster.”
McDonough predicts a wave election of voters who want change in Baltimore County. And he says he is that change.