Well, we warned you. So did Mark Newgent and Van Smith. So did many national writers like Warren Throckmorton. Former Constitution Party presidential candidate Michael Anthony Peroutka, of the cranky Institute on the Constitution, has edged out Maureen Carr-York by 38 votes for the Republican nomination for a normally GOP seat from District 5 (Severna Park, Arnold) on the Anne Arundel County Council. (He also won a closely contested race for a seat on the county Republican Central Committee.) Per the Capital-Gazette, robocalls and a negative ad against his main opponent appear to have done the trick.
Just last month Peroutka was suggesting that the laws of the state of Maryland are owed no allegiance, having diverged from the Divine will on numerous points. (He explains that “an enactment must not violate God’s law,” describes Maryland’s as a “lawless legislature” and writes of such a legislature that “no validity should be given to any of its enactments.”) That should make the whole “oath of office” thing fun if he gets in as a county commissioner.
Of course that might not happen. Democrats would have little chance of winning in District 5 otherwise, but they have a chance now. There is also talk of encouraging a write-in candidacy by Carr-York. (The anti-Peroutka vote was fractured in the primary, with an incumbent councilman finishing a strong third behind Carr-York).
Peroutka has been a key funder of social conservative causes in Maryland for years, but often behind the scenes. Nonetheless, he has won a certain amount of nationwide notoriety owing to his association with the League of the South, his loose-cannon spokesman John Lofton, and the thoroughgoing wackiness of the output of his grandiose Institute on the Constitution, which has employed disgraced Del. Don Dwyer.
Now we can expect substantial press coverage of Peroutka and his Institute, and Republican officials and candidates in Anne Arundel will be put on the spot about whether they are willing to stand behind his Council bid. For the Maryland Republican Party, it could have been much, much worse — at one point he was seeking a statewide nomination. Bullet: dodged.