December 8, 2010

MDGOP: a social club 'firing on all cylinders' but needing core changes

MARYLAND -- On October 22, 2009, soon-to-be-chairman Audrey Scott released a video promising that in 2010 the Maryland Republican Party would be "firing on all cylinders." Republicans on the central committees loved this message and overwhelmingly elected her. A year later, MDGOP chairman candidate Sam Hale has called Scott successful three times in an interview. On the other hand, MDGOP chairman candidate Mary Kane believes any Maryland Republican governor candidate will fail until 2050, according to the Baltimore Sun. (Bill Campbell, Mike Esteve, and Alex Mooney also want to be chairman.)

Republicans believe they are "fair and balanced" and love the "No Spin Zone," except (currently) in Maryland. Not only does Maryland have the worst record for electing statewide Republicans, it also has the most successful Democratic Party in America. In fact, the only living Republicans to have won in Maryland are George H.W. Bush in 1992 and Bob Ehrlich in 2002! Moreover, awful Republican leadership in Maryland (and a continuous use of rose-colored glasses) has allowed Maryland to be home to Reps. Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Chris van Hollen (that's 3 of the nation's top 5 Democrats)! Then, add Gov. Martin O'Malley to that list as a presidential contender in 2016 and possibly 2012. Yet as a social club, Maryland is a vibrant place for Republicans! Donors can rub shoulders with lobbyists and elected Republicans from other states, all who converge on Metro Washington, D.C., which has 6 of the 10 richest counties in the United States, including Montgomery County, Maryland, where I am a Republican elected county-wide (to a party-specific position).

On Saturday, December 11, Maryland's Republican committeemen will elect new officers to lead the most embarrassing Republican Party in America. Meanwhile, Maryland's Democrats will continue to laugh at them. Let me share one story about the dismal state of Maryland's Republicans: Montgomery County is Maryland's largest county and has the second most registered Republicans (just behind Baltimore County). We're talking of almost one million people with a county government that has an annual budget of $4 billion! Well, minutes before Mark Uncapher was about to be reelected last month as Montgomery County GOP Chairman, Dan Willard give a brief speech about how the 2010 Republican results in Montgomery County were an improvement over 2006. The truth in Montgomery County is that every Republican lost in 2010 and that O'Malley increased his 2010 vote over his 2006 total by 8,077 votes while Ehrlich decreased his by 22,963. Thus, Republicans can boldly lie to other Republicans in Maryland and still receive hearty applause and then enjoy fine cheese and wine later at splendid cocktail parties!

NATIONAL TIDAL WAVE
In 2010, Republicans around America watched as Democrats held 3,015 seats in the state legislature chamber (which most states call the “House”) with Republicans at 2,346. Now, Republicans hold 2,901 seats and Democrats 2,476. In what most states refer to as the “Senate,” Democrats dropped from 1,022 to 891, with Republicans gaining from 892 to 1,018. Meanwhile, in Maryland Republicans gained 6 seats in the House of Delegates and lost 2 State Senate seats. Since each senate seat is equal to three delegate seats, Maryland experienced no gain whatsoever even after Maryland GOP Political Director Ryan Mahoney predicted 7-15 seats gained for delegates and others expected enough State Senate seats to create a filibuster. What polls were used as the foundation for such bunk?

MARYLAND COUNTY RACES
According to WTOP, 15 of Maryland's 23 counties will be run at the local level by Republicans, and nine won't have a single Democrat in their governing body. However, the MDGOP doesn't even list county candidates on its website, leaving all such success merely to the credit of vibrant county GOP chairmen!

Therein lies the clear line-in-the-sand for the Maryland GOP! Rural areas vote Republican while urban areas vote Democrat. For example, in 2010 Bob Ehrlich won in 18 of 24 counties, a fact rarely recognized. In fact, Ehrlich only lost in Montgomery County, Baltimore County (by a handful of votes), Prince George's County, Baltimore City, Howard County, and Charles County! Thus, Ehrlich lost in 5 of the 6 largest counties, which led to his abysmal 14 point loss to O'Malley.

THEORY problems with MDGOP
1. Chairman philosophy v. candidate philosophy. I do not believe it is the job of the Maryland Republican chairman to ever set the policy for any candidate. This was the major legitimate complaint about Chairman Jim Pelura.

2. Stop creating theories! Among the (approximately) 300 committeemen, there are at least 300 theories about how to improve the MDGOP. How many more ideas do we need? If the MDGOP was an army, just imagine if every soldier had a winning strategy in a war.

3. Unity v. debate. We live within a democracy, which allows us to disagree without being disagreeable, all the while accepting majority-rule. Therefore, we are allowed to disagree before primary elections and unify after them. There is no need for Rule 11 before a primary. What we need is Ronald Reagan’s Commandment 11 after a primary: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

FUNCTIONAL solutions for MDGOP
1. Appoint precinct chairman (through the county committees) for all (approximately) 2500 precincts. Then, each precinct needs 5 people (indoors) and 5 people (outdoors) to staff them on election day, working in continuous, overlapping shifts from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Those chairmen are also responsible for disseminating candidate information to households, within reason. “Do you know the name and address of your precinct committee chairman?”

2. Make lists of potential 2012 federal candidates and groom candidates for competitive primaries. Then, establish a professional relationship with each viable candidate, offering support, data, and outreach.

3. Begin to study election data at every precinct in Maryland, organizing a team that researches the election data from every precinct. What we will learn is why are Republicans winning in 18 counties, losing in just 6 counties, and getting “shellacked” in statewide results? (Also, why did Eric Wargotz win 12 counties and lose 12, yet overwhelmingly lose to Mikulski?) Only after disseminating quantifiable research can Maryland officers deduce how to craft differences between the national Republican brand and a Maryland Republican brand.

4. Improve interaction among MDGOP leadership, media, blogs, and activist groups. Believe me, when 450 Republicans throw a party and the media is snubbed, press relations get worse, not better.

MDGOP ELECTON OF OFFICERS
The 2010 Maryland Republican Convention is likely going to be the "Year of the Woman," with women winning at least 2 of the 6 officer positions, and possibly as many as 4. I have placed the candidates in the order in which I think they will place, with respect to each run-off election.

Chairman
Mary Kane MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Alex Mooney FREDERICK COUNTY
Sam Hale MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Bill Campbell HOWARD COUNTY
Mike Esteve BALTIMORE CITY

First Vice Chairman
Diana Waterman QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY
Moshe Starkman MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Debbie Rey ST. MARY'S COUNTY

Second Vice Chairman
Larry Helminiak CARROLL COUNTY
Brandon Butler GARRETT COUNTY
Debbie Rey ST. MARY'S COUNTY

Third Vice Chairman
Collins Bailey CHARLES COUNTY (winner could be next person)
Patt Parker CALVERT COUNTY
Brian Griffiths ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
Matt Teffeau CAROLINE COUNTY
Debbie Rey ST. MARY'S COUNTY
Adol Owen-Williams MONTGOMERY COUNTY
Meyer Marks MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Treasurer
Chris Rosenthal (incumbent) ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
Mark Uncapher MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Secretary
Nora Keenan ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY (winner could be next person)
Alfred Griffin BALTIMORE CITY (winner could be next person)
John Wafer HOWARD COUNTY

DEFINED ROLES of OFFICERS
According to the MDGOP bylaws, "Each of the Party Vice Chairmen performs duties the Party Chairman designates." Could anything be more dismal than running for a seat that has no specific responsibility in Maryland, which is the laughing stock of the Republican Party? Therefore, I would like to suggest roles for each of the vice chairmen, somewhat based on Montgomery County's GOP bylaws.

Chairman: Budget and Press relations.

First Vice Chairman: Coordination of precincts and Voter registration. With about 2,500 precincts and 10 volunteers needed for each one, this position will lead 25,000 Republicans! The First Vice Chairman in each county should thus report to his or her county chairman and to the Maryland First Vice Chairman.

Second Vice Chairman: Fundraising and Club growth. The Second Vice Chairman in each county should thus report to his or her county chairman and to the Maryland Second Vice Chairman.

Third Vice Chairman: Timely topic to be assigned by Chairman. The hottest topics for 2010-2012 will be Gov. O'Malley's probable transfer of teacher pensions to county authorities and (to a lesser degree) redistricting.

DANIEL VOVAK'S COMMENTS ON SOME CANDIDATES
CHAIRMAN: Mary Kane has been the most honest about the MDGOP's dismal existence. She is also competitive and, I sense, will only serve for 2 years. She is function-driven and has a low threshold for "theory," even as she is tolerant of dissension. She will either continue the MDGOP as a social club or transform it into a political organization, precinct-by-precinct. In January 2012, if she knows specifically how many precinct chairman have been assigned within the MDGOP, then she is helping the party. Anything else is failure. I should note that after when (I believe) Mary Kane wins as chairman, the red meat crowd is going to move to place Alex Mooney in as First Vice Chair. This is a mistake that could ruin his career! If Mooney wants to serve, he should run for First Vice Chair in the first place, though it is also possible he will simultaneously run for both seats, though that would hurt his chances of winning the chairman slot (which are already dim). I should also note that Mike Esteve denies that he ever spoke at a Ronald Reagan Club meeting on behalf of now-Green Party candidate Corrogan Vaughn, even though, I believe, I witnessed it, as did probably 70 others, including Ann Miller.

1VC: Diana Waterman has had her nose to the grindstone for the last four years. (See 3VC for additional comments.)

2VC: Larry Helmaniak is the titular head of the MDGOP.

3VC: Watching this race is going to be as much fun as reading the bio of Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold. Patt Parker is so over-qualified for this position that her mere motive for seeking it must be absolutely questioned. My belief is she would be a perfect 1VC but did not want to defeat her friend, Diana Waterman. Therefore, each committeeman should ask one question: Which 3VC candidate knows the most about teacher pensions? Collins Bailey was elected in Charles County for 16 years as a member of the school board. There is no issue in Maryland that is going to hurt the counties more than that issue. Since most Maryland counties are run by Republicans, we need a former school board member to do Republican talking on this issue! Also, if you support the use of Rule 11, then you may want to vote for Brian Griffiths, who supports Rule 11 so much that he even complains about people complaining about Rule 11.

TREASURER: Mark Uncapher has based his treasurer campaign on financial openness. At the September 26, 2010 Montgomery County Republican Central Committee meeting, Gus Alzona (a committeemen and former MCRCC treasurer) was formally denied access to financial records of the county party and resigned about a month later. Therefore, I have no reason to believe Uncapher would be any more open with financial records than would Chris Rosenthal. Rosenthal gets my vote.

SECRETARY: This job is wide-open to any person seeking it, including Nora Keenan or Alfred Griffin. However, in my opinion, John Wafer is not the right person for this job.

FLASHBACK to 2009



3 comments:

RightCoast said...

What is it that you think Mary Kane can do differently than Audrey Scott?

Anonymous said...

This entire article is right on the money ! Yes,Yes and Yes.

Anonymous said...

Gus Alzona is a trouble maker who has created problems for every Chairman going back at least a decade. To judge Mark Uncapher on his efforts to minimalize the damage and dissention that Alzona tries to create is unfair to say the least.