Calling all Republicans: Prince George's County needs candidates NOW.
That's the message of one of the more unusual political advertisements scheduled for this election season, a last-ditch effort to bring Republicans out of the closet for what even the party chairman concedes may be a kamikaze mission.
In Prince George's County, where Democrats control all major offices and outnumber Republicans by more than 3 to 1, the GOP is so desperate for candidates it is spending $1,000 this week for newspaper advertisements to stimulate interest before the July 2 filing deadline.
"Remove the Incumbents! You are needed NOW to run for the state legislature or County Council," the ad copy proclaims.
"Republicans Can Win! Republican registration is way up over previous years," it continues.
"We would have preferred that Republicans would have gotten the word and been motivated by the facts about the increasing Republicanization of the county," said Richmond Davis, the optimistic chairman of the Prince George's County Republican Central Committee.
In the prosperous Laurel and Bowie area, he says, Democrats now outnumber Republicans by less than 2 to 1, a stark contrast to inner-Beltway communities that have seven or eight Democrats to every Republican.
"In fairness, a Republican running inside the Beltway would have a much harder chance of winning, given the facts of party registration. But there have been instances in which even that could happen," he said.
Davis also is encouraged by the recent switchover of Arthur Bud Marshall Jr., a longtime conservative Democrat and former state's attorney who has decided to seek the office again, this time as a Republican.
Voter registration numbers show that the county has 59,507 registered Republicans compared with 183,314 Democrats. An additional 27,005 voters declared no party affiliation, and 198 registered as Libertarians.
So far, the GOP has recruited candidates for a handful of legislative races, the 9th District County Council seat and the county executive's job.
Davis said GOP county executive candidate Charles Sherren, a name he concedes is hardly a household word, is preparing to mount a late-starting but aggressive challenge to Democratic incumbent Parris Glendening.