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The Impallaria Temper Tantrum

By now most of you have probably heard about House Bill 1513 which was introduced as emergency legislation this week Delegate Rick Impallaria. As first reported at The Quinton Report, the bill would radically alter the composition of the Harford County Central Committee.

To quote Jeff Quinton’s reading of the bill:

  • As ex officio members, it would give Republican delegates from Harford County a vote to fill vacancies on the GOP Central Committee or to vote to kick people off the Central Committee. It would prevent them from voting on other matters.
  • This bill also would prevent central committee members from holding any other elected office in Harford County, unless that committee member is also a delegate.

Words cannot describe how insane and radical such a bill is. Local Republican Parties should be run by local Republican Central Committees. Period. The idea that a member of the House of Delegates should have any role, official or ex-officio, on a Central Committee without being an elected member of it smacks of elitism and meddling in political affairs for no good reason.

The shear smugness of Impallaria’s bill is matched only by its deviousness. To drop a bill as “emergency legislation” shortly after the filing deadline for the 2014 elections makes the bill seem less like a “good government” bill and more like a temper tantrum directed at the Harford County Republican Central Committee and a general condemnation of the candidates running for Central Committee than it does anything else.

On various Facebook groups, Impallaria has defended his bizarre action as such:

Thank you for your concern about HB 1513. Unfortunately, someone has misinformed you about the purpose of the bill.

First, the bill does not make the Republican members of the House voting members of the Harford County Central Committee (HCCC). The bill provides that, if there is a vacancy on the HCCC for any reason, the Republican members of the Harford County Delegation will vote along with the HCCC members on the replacement. The last time a replacement was made on the HCCC, that replacement was made not by someone on the CC or the Delegation, but by someone who lived in WEST VIRGINIA. That person was not a resident or a registered voter in Harford County. By making this change, that unacceptable action will never occur again in the HCCC.

Second, in past years there have been attempts to remove members of the HCCC. If the HCCC believes that a member should be removed, they’d better have clear and convincing evidence. By this bill, before removing a member they will have to have a majority vote of the HCCC members and the elected officials.

To speak of “stacking” the Committee is just silly. As it stands right now, if any of the elected officials wanted to run for both offices, they could. But we all believe that the CC should be a building block to allow new people to experience public service as it related to the Republican Party.

Finally, the reason this is an emergency bill is that the election date has been moved back to June, creating a lame-duck CC for as much as 7-8 months. Knowing that, after the primary, many people, feeling that their good work has been completed, will decide to leave the CC, it is vitally important that we fill those positions quickly to support and promote the Republican candidates for office.

Rick ImpallariaChair, Harford County Delegation

Impallaria’s actions really remind me of the deceitful actions of Cecil County Executive Tari Moore, who abandoned the Republican Party in order to deny the Republican Central Committee the right to nominate her successor on the County Council. Moore returned to the Republican Party in December but the damage was already done. Unfortunately, the lack of consequences against Moore’s actions in Cecil County have given room for others, like Impallaria, who wish to meddle in the affairs of Central Committees the opportunity to freelance while they are supposed to be working to fight the Democrats.

I’ve heard from a large number of State Party Executive Committee members who are appalled at the Impallaria’s attempt to subvert the will of the voters as to who should have a say in local party affairs. Cecil County chairman Chris Zekauskus issued a very strongly worded statement against it, stating “If this bill passes, it sets a dangerous precedent across the state to use these tactics against other Central Committee members that don’t “tow the Party line” or “pass the litmus test” and “If being a member of the Maryland Republican Party means I have to kiss the ring of this politician or that politician, take me off the list.”

The biggest problem with the bill, aside from the part that they are meddling in affairs that need not be meddled with, is the fact that this open’s Pandora’s Box to the micromanagement of local party central committees from forces both inside and outside local Republican delegations. If Impallaria’s bill is successful, what is to stop him from introducing a similar bill impacting Anne Arundel County, Dorchester County, or Frederick County? What arguments would we be able to use against the Democrats if they decided to meddle in Republican Central Committee affairs by using state laws to get their desired outcome? Why open Pandora’s Box like this?

The likelihood that the Impallaria bill goes anywhere is pretty small. But this type of holier than thou nannystate elitism from a Republican regarding Republican internal affairs should be repudiated by us all.






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