MDGOP Fall Convention Recap
The Maryland Republican Party elected new officers at its convention in Frederick today.
Last night, the traditional Friday night suites were held. The most active suites were hosted by State Senator Mike Hough (who had a band for his large room) and the Conservative Club of Maryland, which was promoting their slate of officers today. Suites were also hosted by the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, 2nd Vice-Chairman Larry Helminiak, Amie Hoeber, the Black Republican Caucus, and a joint suite hosted by Congressman Andy Harris and Delegate Kathy Szeliga.
Today’s business started this morning with voting on two resolutions. The first was a procedural vote on allow a Central Committee to expand its membership. The second was a sense of the Central Committee resolution regarding the electoral college. The State Party endorsed allocating electoral college votes in Maryland by Congressional district (as is done in Maine and Nebraska) as opposed to the current winner-take-all format. both resolutions passed.
In the afternoon we moved onto the election off officers. The Chairman’s election was up first and the part of the surprise was that two of the candidates withdrew before the vote, winnowing the field from four to two; William Newton withdrew and endorsed William Campbell, and Sajid Tarar withdrew and endorsed Dirk Haire. Haire won overwhelmingly on the first ballot.
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Interesting points from the Chairman candidate speeches:
- Campbell reiterated his opposition to Rule 11, stating “I don’t want to have a clique unless all of you can be in it.” He also wanted to continue to beef up state party finances.
- Newton focused on election integrity as his core issue; there were concerns with the results of his Congressional primary this year.
- Haire noted that he is not going to wait until 2018 to start targeting incumbent Democrats; the party will be aggressive towards them starting with the General Assembly session.
It took two ballots to determine the race for Second Vice-Chairman. Incumbent Larry Helminiak led after the first ballot, and won on the second ballot. Tim Kingston from Queen Anne’s County finished second, with Lee Havis finishing a distant third.
The race for Third Vice-Chairman was razor close. Shannon Wright from Baltimore City defeated Maria Pycha from Baltimore County by a very narrow margin.
Candidates Michael Higgs (First Vice-Chairman), Chris Rosenthal (Treasurer) and Mark Uncapher (Secretary) were all elected without opposition.
One of the most interesting things of note about the voting in this convention was the fact the shift in power among the counties. Voting was re-weighted after the Presidential election, so typically stronger counties such as Anne Arundel and Montgomery lost voting strength based on Donald Trump’s poor performance in those counties as compared to Larry Hogan’s performance in 2014.
After the elections concluded, a video was played in honor of outgoing State Party Chairman Diana Waterman. After that, State Party Executive Director, Delegate Joe Cluster, announced that going forward the award recognizing the Maryland Republican Party woman of the year would be named in Waterman’s honor. After Waterman’s farewell remarks, the convention adjourned.
Convention attendees were sticking around for a reception with Governor Larry Hogan tonight.
It must be said that this was possibly the most drama-free convention to be held by the state party in a long, long time, especially considering that officers were elected at this year’s fall convention for the first time.