AA GOP Central Committee: This is gonna get ugly
(Crossposted at some point, when I can publish to my own blog)
Yesterday I talked about the looming leadership showdown in the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee. Now, things are really starting to take a turn, and not necessarily for the better. A movement is firmly in place to oust Central Committee Chairman Mike Collins.
Two independent sources have indicated to me that the Central Committee is planning on holding a meeting tomorrow night and that some members are going to be asking Mike to resign as Chairman of the Committee. It is my understanding that he is not planning on resigning at that time, and may not attend the meeting at all. If the members of the do not get satisfaction, they will then either ask for his resignation at the September 5th meeting, or will take action to remove him as Chairman.
The immediate problem that I see is this seemingly “secret meeting” that is going to be held tomorrow night. I have seen nor heard nothing from the Committee about the time, date, and location of this alleged meeting. And that could create problems for the Committee if the meeting is held. Since the Central Committee is a public body created by Maryland State Law, I believe that the Committee is subject to the Maryland’s Open Meetings Act. The act requires , among other things, that organizations, committees, boards, etc. that are created by the Maryland Constitution or State Law are required to follow the Act, which includes providing “reasonable notice” of the time, date, and place of meetings of these bodies, and defines a meeting of such bodies as any time in which a quorum of members of the body are present and are discussing the official business of the body.
Is it a clear cut violation of the Open Meetings Act? I can’t say. It seems, however, that there is plenty of ethically murky water for the Committee to get themselves into if this meeting is truly happening and proceeds as we think it may. Certainly in my view such a meeting, if it were to be held, does not pass the smell test of operating in an open manner or in following the spirit of the Act.
Moving on from open meetings laws, sources disagree as to what the source of this potential move to oust Chairman Collins comes from.
One theory is that the plan is being put into effect by the John Leopold faction, spearheaded by Tom Redmond (whom some of you will remember is a former Democratic County Councilman and publicly supported Democratic candidates four days after his election to the Republican Central Committee).
Another theory is that the movement is spearheaded by the Don Dwyer faction, who is looking to install somebody more in line with Dwyer’s far right views (and may explain the Dwyer-related revisionist history circulating).
Everybody agrees that the point of all of this is to change Central Committee rules and allow the Committee to endorse candidates in primary elections, something that has been discussed for a while despite its being a ridiculous idea.
Cato was somewhat optimistic about the news of a potential leadership battle, going so far as to say:
This may be just another destructive internecine battle OR it may be a hint of a true Reagan conservative revolution beginning in the Free State GOP.
Well, I have some bad news. This is looking like a destructive internecine battle. When the far right of the party and the far left of the party start angling for control of the party, two things become painfully clear. One, the mainstream conservatives of Anne Arundel County are going to be left out in the cold. And secondly, Committee members have taken their eyes off of the ball, focusing on a divisive leadership battle instead of doing the work necessary to rebuild our party at the local, state, and national levels.