Q&A with Maryland GOP Executive Director Corine Frank Regarding the MDGOP Spring Convention
I recently had the opportunity to have a Q&A with Maryland Republican Party
Brian Griffiths: Corine, thanks so much for answering these questions. First off, how are you and your family doing?
Corine Frank: Hello! My family is doing well, thank you! We have some cooped up kids, of course, but I am enjoying the homeschool experience.
BG: Is the State Party aware of any Central Committee members who have been diagnosed with COVID-19?
BG: The Maryland Republican Party Convention is currently scheduled for May 15th and 16th. What is the Party’s current plan regarding the convention?
CF: Currently there have been no official decisions made, however, the Technology Committee and I started meeting (virtually) weeks ago to discuss contingency plans. We have multiple plans in place to cover several possible scenarios.
BG: Is the MDGOP required to consult with the Republican National Committee on any changes?
CF: The MDGOP is legally unable to make any changes without the RNC’s affirmative permission. We have been in active consultation with the RNC on contingency planning for three weeks. Several other states are in a similar situation to Maryland, and all of us are coordinating with the RNC.
BG: Would changing the date impose any penalty upon Maryland as it relates to voting strength at the Republican National Convention?
The State Party is not permitted to change the date without a waiver from the RNC. Our Delegates MUST be elected per the RNC bylaws and established timeframes in our approved 16(f) filing.
BG: Is there any possibility that the state party could host the convention virtually?
CF: Yes. The RNC has released a Resolution to allow virtual conventions and we could have an online Convention and At Large Delegate elections without violating our existing 16(f) filing. We are currently consulting with the RNC’s parliamentarian and the RNC counsel’s office to evaluate if we can legally conduct an online convention under the MDGOP’s bylaws. The RNC will permit an online convention, so the question is if we can do it under our existing bylaws.
BG: What happens if there is no MDGOP Convention?
Under the RNC rules, we would be at risk to lose all of our At Large Delegates to the RNC Convention, unless some kind of special waiver and process for replacement could be agreed to. Given that the RNC is currently working with states to try and accommodate online Conventions, it is possible that we would not receive a waiver and therefore lose our At Large Delegates if we do not hold a Convention.
BG: What changes, if any, are required to adjust the election of Delegates and Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention since the Convention is currently scheduled before the primary?
None. The two methods of selection are completely independent of one another.
BG: What measures will be in place to protect vulnerable Central Committee members in the event an in-person convention is held?
If we have an in-person Convention, we will discuss protective measures with our staff, the hotel and the Department of Health to ensure that we are compliant with all State and County directives as well as recommended best practices.
BG: The National Committeeman and National Committeewoman are both up for re-election at the convention. How does any of this impact their roles and their terms of office?
The June 2 primary date creates a potential conflict in our bylaws as it pertains to electing these two offices. We are still evaluating how to address this.
BG: If people have questions or concerns about any of this, what should they do?
A decision on how to conduct the Spring Convention will likely be made soon. Chairman Haire has been actively communicating with Central Committee members to keep everyone updated on our Convention and the two upcoming Elections (the Primary and Special General Elections). We will continue to provide information as decisions are made. If you have concerns, feel free to reach out to myself or Jason Trott.
BG: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk about this. Best of luck and health to you and your family.
CF: Best of luck to you and your family as well, Brian. I know you have little ones, too ☺