07/13/2010 05:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

My Offer to Drop Out

I am throwing down the gauntlet: if Majority Leader Hoyer passes the Fair Elections Now Act (H.R. 1826) out of Congress, I will drop out of the race. This bill, which focuses on removing the influence of special interests from our elections, has 156 co-sponsors including Maryland's own Elijah Cummings, Donna Edwards, Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, and Chris Van Hollen.

I am not a single issue voter or candidate: I want to hold Hoyer accountable for his cowardly vote to invade Iraq, I believe that young people should have a hand in shaping our futures, I want to pass climate change legislation, I want to pass a law mandating net neutrality, I want to place increased focus on improving our schools, I want to pass comprehensive legislation that focuses on building healthy and economically diverse communities, I want to pass an infrastructure bill that will bring our nation forward for the next century and create jobs now, I want to curb excessive deficit spending, and I want to change our tax system to encourage entrepreneurship and close unfair loopholes. Nonetheless, I am running first, and foremost, because I want to create as much positive change as possible, and I believe the greatest change we can make is to change how our elections are financed; this is the reform that will pave the way for all other reforms to happen.

The Fair Elections Now Act sets forth a path for public financing of elections to address the quid pro quo politics of privately funded elections. Currently our system skews our free market system toward wealthy entrenched interests, limits the opportunities for regular working people to hold elected office, and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars through paybacks to corporate donors via subsidies, no-bid contracts, pork, regulatory loopholes, and tax breaks. To get politicians to serve the public interest instead of focusing on pleasing their corporate donors, we need public financing of elections.

Noticeably absent from the long list of Maryland congressmen that support Fair Elections Now is Majority Leader Hoyer. If Hoyer had -- like the majority of Democrats -- voted against invading Iraq, or not lied about his intentions to cut a deal with companies that spied on American citizens, or been a strong supporter of Fair Elections Now, I wouldn't be challenging him in the Democratic Primary. Unfortunately he did vote for the unnecessary war in Iraq, and he did hypocritically cut a deal to prevent telecommunications companies from going to trial, and he continually fails to stand up to the undue influence of special interests in our political process. Hoyer's rise to Majority Leader was primarily predicated upon his ability to raise tremendous sums of money which he, in turn, lavished upon other legislators to build allegiances. As such, he is perhaps the greatest symbol of status quo politics -- a status quo politics where politicians such as Hoyer get money from corporations like Goldman Sachs in order to push legislative agendas that are in line with said corporation's interests. This play-to-pay politics works great for wealthy, entrenched companies such as AIG, but does little to cure the ills of the common man or move our country forward in a coherent fashion.

As a clear benefactor of the current system of quid pro quo politics he has no incentive to change how our politics currently work. He has no reason to challenge a political system dominated by moneyed interest. He has no interest in wresting away political control from these interests and restoring our democracy to one of the people by the people for the people. As an outsider and a regular American citizen that cares about the future of my county, I, on the other hand, do. Consequently, I am challenging Hoyer to shift the balance of power away from corporate interests toward the public good.

I want to be as clear as I can: I am not interested in self-aggrandizement, but rather in creating as much positive change as possible. My proof is in the pudding of my offer to drop out. I view Fair Elections Now as the most effective way to create positive change -- whether I create this change by becoming the next Congressman for Maryland's 5th District or by dropping out, is of no consequence to me. Representative Hoyer, I have now provided you with incentive to join the other 156 co-sponsors to pass H.R. 1826. If you do, I will gladly drop out of the race; if, on the other hand, you make no concerted effort to move forward with this bill, I will take it as further proof that you are more interested in personal political gain than creating the change our country needs.


Andrew Gall
Democratic Candidate for Congress (MD-05)