Romney’s ‘Secret’ Visit

Romney’s ‘Secret’ Visit

Getting Around: Massachusetts governor meets with local Republicans at Hunter’s Inn.

As Bill Askinazi left Hunter's Inn on Monday afternoon, he said, “Potomac is the center of the universe. … We had [former New York Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani in August and Romney today.”

Askinazi was among a selected group asked to meet with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at Hunter’s Inn Monday afternoon.

“He was exploring a presidential bid. He wanted input of what the important issues are here,” Askinazi said.

The meeting, known by a very few in the area, preceded a $1,000 per person fundraiser for Gov. Robert Ehrlich held at the Potomac home of the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, John Kane, and his wife Mary, who is Maryland’s Secretary of State.

Following the hour-and-a-half gathering at Hunter’s Inn, Gov. Romney, when asked what brought him to Maryland, replied, “To help re-elect Governor Ehrlich, to support his candidacy, and to encourage folks to get out and vote.” There was no mention of his own aspirations.

Romney went on to say, “The Republican Governor’s Association has made Maryland a high priority state. Maryland will receive the highest level of financial support.”

“This was supposed to be a very secret meeting,” Lee Cowen, of Rockville, said. “How did you find out about this?” he questioned this reporter.

IT WASN’T TOO difficult to figure out something was afoot when men with those funny little ear plugs and curlicue wires crawling down the back of their necks piled out of the ubiquitous black suburban. You know? The same inconspicuous way all officials love to travel when they go incognito.

Joyce Terhes, Chairman of Maryland State Republican Women, was seen arriving from her home in Leisure World. It’s not every day she gets a chance to visit Potomac Village. Political activists who arrived, such as John Harman, Kevin Igoe and Norm Friedin, could also number as strangers to the area.

However, not so, Steve Abrams. Confronted as he was leaving the 3:15-4:45 p.m. gathering it was noticed that his name tag stated, “Steve Adams.” Change of name here? The at-large Montgomery County Council candidate replied, when asked about the misnomer, “I’m really here under an assumed name. I’m not related to John or John Quincy! I think they just wanted a good old New England name.”

Abrams was also en route to the 5-7 p.m. Kane party, described by one attendee as a “pass-around hors d’oeuvres, meet and greet and have your photo taken with the governors type affair.”

An estimated 100 of the party faithful were there including Ehrlich’s wife, Kendel; his running mate Kristin Cox and her husband, Randy; Maryland Secretary of the Department of Aging Jean Roesser; Ehrlich’s chief fundraiser Dick Hug; Maryland Public Television Foundation Board’s Richard Norman; Republican party activist Jayne Plank and Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party and candidate for County Council Tom Reinheimer.

Both governors spoke briefly. Ehrlich noted Potomac’s Bill Askinazi’s candidacy (challenging Democratic Sen. Rob Garagiola)and how important his success would be to the Maryland Senate. Romney related his relationship with the 87 percent Democratic State Senate in Massachusetts.

“He mentioned his work on a health care plan that will be a pace-setter for the nation,” Roesser recalled.