Cecil County’s Names-the-Same GOP Politics, Round 2: GOP Club Vs. Sammons’ Soiree

March 14, 2018
By


NEWS ANALYSIS

We’ve seen it before in Cecil County politics: a disgruntled lone wolf creates a rump group with a name similar to a well-established organization to confuse the public and launch political attacks on the original group.

So, a dissident online presence created in 2016 by conservative activist Vincent Sammons that had existed as a little-known Facebook page suddenly emerged in recent days as a “new” voice by attacking the original group whose name he co-opted.

The Republican Club of Cecil County has functioned for many years as a local GOP organization that supported national, state and county Republican political candidates, held fundraising events and, until a few years ago, operated a Political Action Committee (PAC) registered with the state Board of Elections to make donations to candidates it endorsed. [The club’s “Republican Club of Cecil County PAC” operated from 2006 to 2012.]

Sammons sought nomination as President of the Club in 2016, and received the support of a nominations committee, which he headed, sources said. But then other club members opposed his nomination and put forward the name of Alan McCarthy, who had won the general election for Cecil County Executive. The full club membership picked McCarthy as President.

Miffed, Sammons went ahead with his own group, with the similar name of “Cecil County Republican Club.” Despite several attempts to hold membership-recruitment meetings, the Sammons group was largely dormant, existing on a little-visited Facebook page and website and, more recently, as a closed members-only Facebook group. Many local Republicans told Cecil Times they were blocked from interactions on social media by Sammons if they questioned or disagreed with his postings.

Sammons, who is a candidate in the 2018 GOP primary election for the county’s Republican Central Committee, posts multiple content summaries and links to his own campaign web and Facebook pages on his supposedly independent “Cecil County Republican Club” online pages.

After lurking in relative obscurity on the web, Sammons recently scored an above-the-radar coup when the Cecil Whig published a virtually verbatim press release from Sammons’ “Cecil County Republican Club” website and interview, attacking the original Republican Club of Cecil County and proclaiming a boycott of that group’s candidate debate forum scheduled for 7 p.m., Thursday 3/15/2018, at the county Administration Building in Elkton. The individual candidates did not issue independent press releases about a boycott.

Sammons asserted that three candidates in the Republican primary for Cecil County Council, who are aligned with him, would boycott the original Republican Club of Cecil County candidate forum because they thought the event would be rigged against them and were opposed to “people whose ethos is so alien to our own.”

The Sammons-aligned candidates he says are boycotting the GOP forum are:

— Ed Larsen, seeking the GOP nomination in District 4 against incumbent Republican George Patchell, an independent-minded Councilor who also heads the county’s YMCA and is active in local youth education and services programs.

–Richard Lewandowski, seeking the District 2 seat currently held by the retiring Joyce Bowlsbey. He is opposed in the GOP primary by Bill Coutz, a business development manager as well as the vice president of the Fair Hill Races and the County Fair, and a well-known figure in local equine circles. Lewandowski is a local small business owner.

–Thomas Wilson, who is running in a three-way GOP contest against incumbent Dan Schneckenburger and challenger Al Miller, the well-known head of the Cecil County Fair board and a dairy farmer. Wilson ran an aggressive, and at times negative, campaign against Wayne Norman for the District 35 state Senate seat in the last election, losing with just 33.2 percent of the vote to Norman’s overwhelming 66.8 percent of the vote. Norman died suddenly earlier this month. (Sammons donated $100 to Wilson’s campaign against Wayne Norman, according to State Board of Elections records.)

In a brief phone interview with Cecil Times, Sammons said he came up with the names-the-same moniker for his political club because, as an IT consultant, he decided that the words “Cecil County” and “Republican” should be included because it would get more search engine traffic on the Internet. He then digressed to question CECIL TIMES and our “political views” before proceeding with the interview. He then cut off the discussion, saying he had to deal with his child.

Subsequently, Sammons emailed, saying: “After reading more on your blogs site, I believe I will refrain from further communication at this time.”

This names-the-same gambit is but the latest in a long line, and just this year’s, political landscape in Cecil County. See this previous CECIL TIMES report on the Mike Smigiel Sr. and Jr. games on the 2018 ballot here:

http://ceciltimes.com/2018/02/smigiels-file-double-play-names-the-same-political-contests-dad-for-judge-son-for-dads-old-delegate-seat/

[UPDATE: Another name game came from associates of Smigiel in 2012 with creation of a PAC–“Republicans of Cecil County”– when Smigiel was running for a judicial seat on the Circuit Court in Cecil County. That PAC donated $3,450 to another PAC that used that money to print a scurrilous flyer attacking Keith Baynes, who overwhelmingly defeated Smigiel for the seat. The “Republicans of Cecil County” PAC never disclosed where it obtained the money it transferred, contrary to state election law, despite an investigation into its failure to disclose; the PAC is now listed as “inactive” on state records.]

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5 Responses to Cecil County’s Names-the-Same GOP Politics, Round 2: GOP Club Vs. Sammons’ Soiree

  1. Real Republican on March 14, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Why doesn’t the “Cecil County Republican Club” sponsor a forum?

  2. Bob Meffley on March 15, 2018 at 9:34 am

    I agree with your article. I called Vince Sammons and asked why also.Even if the playing field is not even for all candidates as they say , I have always pushed through it and so should they. That in my mind makes a strong candidate . The general public just wants to know what they are all about,this does not help . Thank you

  3. Real Republican on March 15, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I read the Sammons response on Facebook. Lots of self-congratulations. My question is : How many members in “your” club?

  4. Harold McCanick on April 19, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    This was a simple case of a special interest stuffing the ballot box.I had been a member of the”original” club for many years and had not only never seen that many members but there were voters that have never been to a meeting.Add to the fact that McCarthy’s nomination broke the clubs own bylaws and presto,dirty election.The club has been unfriendly to conservatives for two election cycles now although the last hijacking was Moore subtle.

  5. Roger on May 8, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    What Larsen did is right out of Sammons playbook. Sammons is a JERK! Please underline JERK! Sammons once ran a candidate forum in Rising Sun where he kicked the Herald reporter Lisa Tome out because he didn’t like her honest reporting. He helped inspire a boycott of the Herald’s advertisers too. He was instrumental in posting lies about candidate and mayor Bob Fisher. He once started a webpage titled “Rising Sun Fact Check” to defame people opposed to Rising Sun Town Adminstrator Bonenberger. “Cecil Troll Farm” should be his next online pseudonym…

    If it were not for apathy and a lack of membership in the Greater Rising Sun Chamber of Commerce, Sammons would never been asked to be that chamber’s president where he promptly took credit for the Sunfest event which was founded and organized by former Rising Sun Mayor Sandi Didra. Sammons is a dirty online trickster who makes false claims, then deletes them. He blocks opposing opinions on a least a half dozen Facebook pages. He stands on street corners in Rising Sun with idiotic and inappropriate signs and slogans…

    Do not expect Sammons to represent Republicans if he’s elected, he’s totally out for himself. Like I said, Vincent Sammons is a JERK!

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