09.10.10 Hoyer’s Challenger: The Gumption of Andrew Gall

This is cross-posted with the Washington Post’s All Opinions are Local.

What can you say about a young man who has $3,000 on hand and a Web site that fails to provide any contact information but is running against the second-ranking Democrat in the House? This is Andrew Gall, a primary challenger to Rep. Steny Hoyer, who has held Maryland’s 5th Congressional District seat for 29 years.

Gall, a 27-year-old public policy graduate student from College Park, is unhappy with Hoyer. I couldn’t agree more with his assessment of Hoyer as a pro-corporation, pro-war machine politician. If I lived in that district, I would vote for nearly anyone who would challenge Hoyer in the primary. So there, I’ve said it: I hereby endorse Andrew Gall for Congress.

Gall, who leans against a future in politics (barring the deeply unlikely eventuality of beating Hoyer) is a progressive down the line, from public campaign financing to carbon taxes to lawsuit immunity for telecom firms that shared customers’ private information with the FBI in terrorism probes (Gall calls out Hoyer for being on the wrong side of that last issue). When I quizzed him, he seemed to know a bit about a lot of things – what I call “newspaper knowledge” (which, to be fair, is a good description of most of my policy knowledge). The only policy area in which he claims more in-depth expertise is the environment.

Gall served as an intern on Capitol Hill and has significant experience in organizing and participating in door-to-door canvassing for candidates and public policy groups. It’s striking, though, that he knows little enough about public communication to have left off his attractive (and built on a template) Web site any information on how to reach him. (He added a link for his contact information Sept. 2, only after I suggested that he might want to do so.)

So, what can I say about Andrew Gall? He is tilting at windmills. There’s no question about the primary outcome, but I would have hoped for someone who could be more effective in highlighting Hoyer’s numerous flaws. Gall’s heart and philosophy are in the right place. And I admire him for devoting 80 hours a week to a noble – if lost – cause. I hope Gall learns a lot from this effort and – whether he stays in politics or not – sticks with his drive to make the world a little better.

©2010 Keith Berner

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