Obviously we here at Red Maryland have been talking extensively about the situation in Frederick County surrounding the impending vacancy in the House of Delegates in District 4. As you know, our view is that whatever chance Wendi Peters had of being appointed the seat has pretty much evaporated given the antics of some of her less than civil supporters. It’s a shame really. I like Wendi Peters. She would make a fine Delegate. But unfortunately for her, her political career has been hijacked by a small majority of rotten apples who didn’t are finding themselves marginalized.
While that minority makes a ruckus, the Central Committee has moved along with their process. Unfortunately, they too have made some missteps along the way. It’s been noted that the Central Committee followed the process contained in their bylaws, a process that has been in place for several years. That may be, though I would encourage them to reconsider their process in light of all of this. But of further concern was the scheduling and cancelling their regular Central Committee meeting that had been scheduled for tonight only (based on reports seen on Social Media) having the meeting anyway.
So to say that this situation is a giant mess might be an understatement.
Remember folks, we’ve been down this road before. Let us take you back to August of 2013, when we were in the middle of the District 36 State Senate vacancy fiasco that dominated Eastern Shore Republican politics (seemingly for months).
What complicates matters here is the fact that there is no standard by which Central Committees are required (or even recommended) to operate in the State Party bylaws. A reasonable Central Committee will open the process up for public inspection, advertise their meeting locations for public interviews, vet the candidates in public, and then consider the candidates in due course (and frankly there will be serious questions about the process for any Central Committee that doesn’t do this basic step). But, unfortunately, none of that is required by law or Party Bylaw. The Central Committees are free to do pretty much whatever they want in this realm and can choose, if they so desired, to conduct the entire selection process in secret.
This is no way to run a rodeo folks.
The only fair way to ensure that voters in situations like these (and really, in all situations surrounding vacancies) have their voices heard is to allow the electoral process to continue as it always does. We need to have special elections to fill vacancies. The most important thing in processes like these is to ensure that the voice of the people is heard, and the only way to do that is to pass a Constitutional Amendment to make that Happen.
Unfortunately, that ball has not moved forward at all. But once again, we have another set of circumstances that show that letting the voters decide who fills the seat. Not in the cockamamie way that some suggest that the voters “decided” on Wendi Peters back in the 2014 Primary, but by having an election where the voters get to decide who gets to fill the seat. Because until we get to that point, these little internecine battles that do little to create constructive dialogue and do wonders for dividing the party are going to continue every single time we have a vacancy.