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Washington County Republican Club hosts picnic

August 28, 2013|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • Dan Bongino, facing, spoke with local Republicans Wednesday night during the annual Washington County Republican Club's picnic at the North American Rod & Gun Club in Hagerstown.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

The aroma of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs blended with discussions of lower taxes and smaller government as the annual Washington County Republican Club picnic got under way Wednesday evening at the North American Rod and Gun Club.

Republican candidates for governor, a House of Delegates seat and the 6th Congressional District mingled with an estimated 200 attendees, club President Ginger Bigelow said.

The picnic gives people a chance to meet with candidates, to do some networking and otherwise enjoy an evening in the club grounds off Belvedere Road near Hagerstown that were described as a “great green cathedral.”

Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Washington/Allegany, is not running for re-election, and two Republican candidates for the seat — Michael McKay of Cumberland and Ray Givens of Hancock — were at the picnic.

McKay, who runs a dry-cleaning business that has operations in Western Maryland and in Berkeley County, W.Va., said politics is in his blood, because his grandfather was a treasurer in Prince George’s County, Md., in 1950.

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McKay, who is serving his first term on the Allegany County Board of Commissioners, said he supports smaller government and lower taxes.

Givens, a former correctional officer and sheriff’s deputy, said one of the issues that inspired him to run was a state tax bill passed in 2010 that required a registration fee and tax on all-terrain vehicles.

“Do we need another tax? No,” Givens said.

Givens said his race against McKay will be an uphill battle but he would “consider it an honor to represent these people.” 

Dan Bongino and David Vogt, who are planning to run for the 6th District seat next year, were also at the picnic. Republican Del. Ron George, R-Anne Arundel, who is planning a run for governor, was also expected to attend, Bigelow said.

Bongino is a favorite among local Republicans, Bigelow said.

“We all love him and think he is awesome,” she said.

Bongino, who lost in 2012 in his bid for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, said his campaign has really taken off with time on the radio and his new book “Life Inside the Bubble.”

Bigelow, who took over as president of the club about a year ago, said she has emphasized the importance of the club becoming more involved in the community and attracting younger members.

The club has started to have gun shows, and it had a booth at the Washington County Ag Expo and Fair, where club members recruited members and registered people to vote, Bigelow said.

“You would be surprised how many people are not registered to vote,” Bigelow said.

Editor's note: This story was edited Aug. 30, 2013, to add that 6th District congressional candidate David Vogt attended the picnic.

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