A Clear Choice for Re-Election

Many of you remember April 2013. The Maryland Republican Party was in the process of electing a new Chairman (after Alex Mooney quit on the party, an event foreshadowed by us here at Red Maryland). Of course our own Greg Kline was a candidate. Greg was not successful in his bid, and Diana Waterman was ultimately elected Chairman.

Chairman Waterman is running for re-election at the Maryland Republican Party Convention this weekend, and you’d be hard pressed to make an argument against her continuance in her post.

In the fallout of that 2013 Special Election, few would have predicted the success that we wound up having last month. Pickups in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. New County Executives in Howard and Wicomico Counties. To say nothing of course about Larry Hogan’s overwhelming victory as the next Governor of Maryland.

There is, of course, room for improvement. Too many General Assembly and local offices were left without a Republican Candidate. We need to work harder to ensure a solid, credible campaign for both Comptroller and for Attorney General. We have to put a plan in place to reach the 19 Senators that we will need to serve as a backstop against the Democrats in the State Senate.

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However, the work is getting done and there are many reasons to be positive.

The cooperation between the State Party, the local parties and the Hogan Campaign was, in most instances, fantastic. The Hogan Campaign’s decision to use public financing opened up the ability for these entities to cooperate, and also opened up future revenue streams for the State and Local Parties through expanded donor lists. The State Party will have the ally on the Second Floor for party building purposes that we didn’t have during the Ehrlich years.

The Party is fortunate to also have many newly elected Republicans at the State and Local levels. A key concern for activists over the years has been bench depth in finding candidates for office. The depth is very clearly there, in a way that we have not seen since I have been involved with the State Party.

Last but not least is Chairman Waterman’s desire to retain Joe Cluster as Executive Director. In years prior the Executive Director position at the State Party has been a position which often attracted Republicans from out of state who looked forward to moving on to their next gig. They often didn’t have the knowledge of Maryland politics to understand the players in the game, the political dynamics, or the history of what may or may not work. Joe Cluster didn’t need that on the job training. His party strategy for 2014 worked, a strategy that he had to implement reasonably late in the game. The ability to work now on a strategy aimed toward 2018 has great promise for our state party.

Diana is not naive to the fact that there is work left to do. At tonight’s Red Maryland/District 32 Republican Club Maryland Republican Party Officer candidates forum (which will be posted tomorrow morning), she talked about how the break is over. The work to get moving for the 2018 elections has already started and that candidates, clubs, and activists need to hit the ground running to lay the groundwork for continuing to grow the Republican Party and set the stage for further victories at the county and state level.

The record says a lot, which is why no serious opposition has emerged even at this late state of the filing process.

We at Red Maryland did not support Diana Waterman’s election in 2013. However, you can’t argue with the results of November 4th. After Governor-elect Hogan’s victory, we have a tremendous opportunity to build upon our successes, in 2018 and beyond. We have the opportunity to fundamentally make Maryland a competitive state for generations to come. Our state party, which has had four chairmen in the last six years and even more Executive Directors, could use some stability. And for these reasons I think it’s a no-brainer that Diana Waterman should be re-elected Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party this Saturday.

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