- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s appearance Friday at the Maryland Republican Party’s biggest fundraiser of the year was met with protests courtesy of dozens of pro-union demonstrators who rallied outside while the former candidate for president addressed attendees of the annual Red, White and Blue Dinner in Glen Burnie.

More than 50 protesters held signs and led anti-Walker chants outside Friday’s GOP fundraiser, the Annapolis Capital reported — a figure that exceeded the total number of local lawmakers from Anne Arundel County in attendance to hear the Wisconsin governor speak, according to the newspaper.

Five years after he spurred protests in the Wisconsin capital by eliminating collective-bargaining rights for most state employees, Mr. Walker remains a target of pro-union activists as evidence by Friday’s protest.

“He doesn’t care about unions,” Bernard Johnson, a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, told the Capital. “He wants to take our collective bargaining rights away.”

Around two dozen protesters can be heard singing “Go back to Wisconsin” from outside the event in video footage recorded by The Baltimore Sun. Photographs from the rally show demonstrators waving signs inscribed with slogans including “Walker not welcome in Maryland” and “Walker run home.”

Ann Arundel County police were dispatched to the protest at one point, but only to tell the protesters to keep off the street and stay on the public sidewalk, the Capital reported.

Despite being the state GOP’s largest fundraising event of the year, Friday’s dinner suffered from poor attendance on account of a competing fundraiser being held at the same time in nearby Pasadena, Md., for fellow Republican and Ann Arundel County executive, Steve Schuh.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, another Republican, skipped the Red, White and Blue Dinner for a second-year in a row, this time as a result of what his spokesman described to the Washington Post as a scheduling conflict. 

The state GOP met its financial goal by raising about $55,000 with Friday’s $125-per-plate dinner, the Capital reported, albeit only a fraction of the more than $100,000 brought in during last year’s event when Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump served as guest speaker.

Mr. Hogan, who skipped the GOP nominating convention this July, has said he does not plan on voting for Mr. Trump. “I guess when I get behind the curtain I’ll have to figure it out. Maybe write someone in. I’m not sure,” the Washington Post quoted the governor at the time.

Mr. Hogan’s stand doesn’t appear to be harming his popularity. A recent poll found he enjoys a 71 percent approval in the state and an 88 percent approval among fellow Republicans. 

Mr. Walker competed against Donald Trump for the GOP’s nomination before dropping out from the presidential race last September. In July, the Wisconsin governor said he “absolutely” endorses Mr. Trump’s run for president. 

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