Ten Questions: William Campbell, Candidate for MDGOP Chair
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Name: William H. Campbell
Office Sought: MDGOP Chair
1. What do you see as your top priority as MDGOP Chair?
I believe that unifying the MDGOP will be the next Chair’s most important priority. As I campaigned across the State I realized that there were deep divisions among Republicans. In many cases the divisions were at the boiling point. In spite of the rhetoric most Republicans have the same core values, and we should be able to find common ground with one another. If we cannot unite and work together, the Democrats will continue to mismanage our State, ruin the economy, and adversely impact our rights.
2. Do you support the Chambers Compact?
I read the Chambers Compact and agree with much of it. Unfortunately, I have seen competing visions for the MDGOP, and they are similar, but have important differences. I would like to see a platform or policy paper that is approved by all of the various MDGOP factions.
3. How will you reach out to TEA Party activists skeptical of the Republican Party?
I have attended several TEA Party events and I believe that their supporters could be a very positive force in the Republican Party. We need to engage in a vigorous dialogue to earn their trust and support. This will not be easy. Many TEA Party folks are disgusted with the past failures of GOP leaders. I understand their distrust of the GOP. As a George W. Bush political appointee, I resigned before the 2004 election because the Administration’s spending was irresponsible. Under Bush 43 the National Debt ballooned from $5 billion to $9.5 billion. In addition, the TEA Party movement is even more diverse than our party, and many of them fiercely guard their independence from the GOP. However, I remain hopeful and would work hard to improve our relationship with them.
4. What is your strategy to create parity with Democrats and change the electoral math for victories in statewide elections?
We know what we have to do to achieve parity with the Democrats, but have only paid it lip service. We need to undertake a serious grassroots program to recruit Republican voters in Baltimore City, and Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties. During my campaign for Maryland Comptroller I spent a lot of time and energy trying to get unaffiliated and Democrat votes in those jurisdictions. Many minority voters had never seen, or spoken with a Republican candidate before. I was encouraged by the fact that many of them shared our conservative views, but they were unaware of our positions on issues that were important to them. We need to educate these voters of how their lives can be improved by electing Republicans to office. We need to visit churches, civic associations, senior facilities and any other venue to reach them.
5. What ideas do you have to reach out to non-traditional Republican constituencies?
I am not familiar with the term “non traditional republicans”. As I said earlier, I realize that there are factions within our party who feel ignored and disappointed by the MDGOP. I would work hard to find common ground with all factions to unite us into a cohesive political movement.
6. What strategies will you pursue to ensure the party is adequately funded?
The MDGOP has relatively small funding requirements. The annual operating budget is only $500,000, and only $125,000 comes from the Chair’s fund raising. With the existing donor list and efforts to increase the number of small donors this should not be difficult to meet. I would like to raise more than that amount so we can give our 2012 and 2014 nominees cash contributions for their campaigns. In my own recent experience as a 2010 candidate the MDGOP often competes with candidates for scarce funds. We need to find a proper balance to cover the party’s needs and not adversely impact the candidates.
7. Waiving Rule 11 during the primary caused a lot of controversy. In the future, would you ever support waiving Rule 11?
I was, and remain, a vocal critic of waiving Rule 11 for the 2010 election. It caused huge divisions within our party, and remains a weeping, running sore. We need Rule 11 for the rare event that a candidate has committed an outrageous offence, such as being convicted of a felony, but it should never be used to unfairly disadvantage a Republican candidate.
8. How will you use technology and social media to implement your plans should you be elected?
I was amazed at the widespread use of social media for political campaigns. My campaign website had over 42,000 visitors. I also learned the powerful role of political blogs to inform voters of the issues. I am a big proponent of expanding our use of social media for the MDGOP. Have you looked at the MDGOP website recently? It is very poor and does not serve us well.
9. How will MDGOP under your leadership be different when it comes to holding Martin O’Malley and the Democratic majority accountable?
We will follow their redistricting plans, legislation, expenditures and shortcomings. Every time they stray from the straight and narrow, we will expose them to the public. In the case of redistricting we will probably have to resort to the Courts to keep them from further disenfranchising Maryland voters.
10. How do you see MDGOP’s role vis-à-vi elected Republicans and policymaking?
We need to improve our relationship with our Republican elected officials, solicit their input, and help them in their election campaigns. There is, however, a natural separation of responsibilities between office holders and the MDGOP. The politicians should not usurp the control our party from the members. Likewise, they are responsible for their performance to the voters and the MDGOP should not try to try to manage our office holders. The MDGOP should educate office holders as to our positions on legislation and policies, and encourage them to do the right thing.
Note: Red Maryland has sent questions to candidates for MDGOP Chair and Vice-Chair offices.