On Thursday evening, Delegate Don Dwyer confirmed the whispers that started swirling in Anne Arundel political circles earlier that morning. Approximately twenty hours after his near catastrophic boat accident, Dwyer admitted to consuming alcohol prior to operating the vessel. While Dwyer immediately took responsibility for his actions, it does not diminish the seriousness of the incident.
In all, Dwyer and five others sustained serious injuries. Tragically, that number includes four innocent children. Also, John Moran, a two time Republican candidate for Sheriff, accompanied Dwyer on the boat. Interestingly, Moran has worked on the police force for the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Considering he tends to run for political office every election cycle, Moran certainly didn’t need his name attached to this incident.
Keep in mind, Dwyer has said he plans to challenge Senator Bryan Simonaire in the 2014 primary. Perhaps he made this decision knowing he could not win the one Delegate seat in the newly created District 31A. Nonetheless, he recently moved back with his father in Pasadena, which provided him an avenue to seek re-election to Delegate in a heavily conservative area. All of a sudden, this development puts his political career in serious jeopardy. No matter what, he now has virtually zero chance of unseating the relatively popular Simonaire.
Regardless, Dwyer now has bigger worries than what seat he will choose within the next two years. After all, he finds more than his political career on the line. Soon, he’ll likely face criminal charges in this matter. Make no mistake; defendants in these highly publicized incidents don’t usually get off with probation before judgment. Instead, those convicted almost always face a period of incarceration. Thus, it’s completely understandable that Dwyer will get preoccupied with retaining his freedom.
In the meantime, Dwyer’s constituents in Pasadena, Glen Burnie and Brooklyn Park will have a legislator more focused on his legal problems than the ills in their community. As a result, the taxpayers will remain on the hook for Dwyer’s full salary despite the fact he can no longer devote his undivided attention to the issues that convinced them to vote for him in the first place. Therefore, Dwyer should do the right thing and resign from office. Really, should Delegates Kipke and Schuh have to pick up his slack while this legal process plays itself out?
Inevitably, some will make this a Republican versus Democrat debate. Yes, in Maryland a disproportionate number of Democrats hold elected office. Still, how does that mitigate Dwyer’s alleged actions? Besides, Republicans like to tout themselves as tough on crime. Rather than employing a double standard, they too should join the increasing number of voices suggesting that Dwyer step aside.