Not Everyone Wants Unity I Guess
The drama surrounding the process to replace Delegate Kelly Schulz’s (R-4) seat in the General Assembly has, sadly, been playing out much as we predicted in our original story back on December 17th. While the opening creates an opportunity to eliminate the rift between District 4 legislators and move District 4 Republicans beyond the June, 2014 primary, it seems that the usual suspects simply want to relitigate the primary and have no interest in finding a replacement that everyone can agree upon.
As we wrote in December
The selection of Wendi Peters, however, would likely perpetuate the disharmony in the District 4 delegation caused by a long and hard-hitting primary. Further, it seems nearly impossible that the Frederick County Central Committee would approve the choice.
It would seem Ms. Peters’ only scenario to appointment is to have the Carroll County Central Committee, who also has a say in the matter, appoint her. This is a scenario we have seen before and has caused division within the state’s Republican Party.
There has been a relentless, and often mean spirited, campaign to push the Frederick County Republican Central Committee (FCRSCC) to pick Ms. Peters. This prompted at least one Peters’ supporter, Katie Nash, to issue the following admonition on Facebook on December 20:
I’m about to drop some Republican knowledge. Yes, the Republican Central Committee will choose the replacement for the vacancy created for Delegate as a result of incoming Secretary of DLLR Del. Kelly Schulz being appointed. Yes, there was a reason why Sen.-elect Hough ran a slate (successfully) for the RCC and his wife is the Chair. Yes, he is your contact if you want to advocate for a specific candidate. Yes, you should expect it will be someone he chooses and not necessarily follow any seemingly “obvious” choice.
While this seemed a statement of the obvious, like our original analysis, it also spoke to the notion that supporters of Ms. Peters were taking an approach that was alienating their candidate from those making the decision. Perhaps this was intentional, some wanting another cudgel to use against Senator Hough and his purported acolytes. More likely, though, it was the uncontrollable instinct of this small minority of Frederick County Republicans whose vitriol towards Senator Hough, Delegate Afzali, Delegate Vogt and others outweighs their positive interest in supporting Ms. Peters or moving the party forward.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
The FCRSCC announced that they would accept applications for the position from December 22 through the 29th. Sixteen applicants came forward, a number of whom previously served in the legislature and/or some other elected office. All of these individuals, no doubt, could make an argument why they should be chosen over the other fifteen applicants.
The FCRSCC announced on January 2, 2015 that they decided to interview three finalists, Former Delegate and 2014 candidate Barrie Ciliberti, Chris Glass Sr., and Former Delegate Paul Stull.
While thirteen candidates may have had reason to be disappointed, this announcement unleashed the floodgates of personal nastiness aimed at the FCRSCC, Senator Hough, Delegate Afzali and others.
Former FCRSCC member, Fred Propheter, attacked the religious views of one central committee member,
Stay classy guys.
Of course, while they spray venom on the FCRSCC, et al., for not picking their candidate and rehash their objections to the winners of last June’s election, none address any of the criticisms of Ms. Peters that might have given the FCRSCC cause to reject her as a finalist. These would include not just the diviseness caused by her candidacy in the primary, which we chronicled, but her losing an election for Mayor of Mount Airy or her A- rating from the NRA when every other Republican in her race had a higher rating. Now, to the deadenders this is meaningless and, in fact, many prefer a more liberal form of Republicanism to begin with, but they are as relevant concerns for the central committee to rely upon as the June primary order of finish.
So now that Ms. Peters is not selected as a finalist, what are her supporters doing? They are going to go to the next FCRSCC meeting presumably to either bully the committee to change its mind or simply harangue them for picking a person other than their preference.
What good will this accomplish? None, if your goal is to actually get Ms. Peters selected or to promote party unity. But if your goal is to deepen the existing rifts among Frederick County Republicans, as I suspect many Peters supporters really wanted all along, it only furthers ends you could not accomplish at the ballot box.
Additionally, as we predicted, Ms. Peters’ supporters are pressing the Carroll County Republican Central Committee to select her and force Governor Hogan to choose. Of course, the Peters supporters assume that Governor Hogan would choose her over the selection of the FCRCC.
But, as we have reported, there is only harm that can be done by having the Governor decide. The MDGOP has made it a point of emphasis that these sorts of picks will be made by consensus and that replays of feuds between counties will not be repeated. A failure in this case would be a negative start to Chairman Waterman’s second term as leader of the MDGOP. Moreover, Governor Hogan would only succeed in alienating the support of one group of Republicans when he desperately needs party unity the most.
I have every reason to believe that the Hogan political shop is going to keep this controversy from hitting his desk and will not risk a scintilla of political capital to support Wendi Peters. And again I ask, Why would any Maryland Republican want to put Governor Hogan in this position or undermine unity when we have such challenges facing the state? Is your support of Ms. Peters or, more accurately, your resentment of the member of the FCRCC or the District 4 legislative delegation more important than finding a way to move the Hogan agenda forward?
Sadly, for many Peters supporters the answer to the second question is YES. For those with a more objective view, the goal should be a consensus candidate, agreed upon by both central committees, and not upping the ante on an internal party feud which would mandate Governor Hogan to pick sides.
In this light, I am sure that the grown ups in the room will prevail. When they do, the usual suspects will just have one more chapter to add to their book of grievances.