Before I even begin, let me say right up front in the interest of full disclosure that I'm running to be an Alternate Delegate to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis this coming September.
Now that I have that out of the way, here's my gripe - and it's shared by some others who have e-mailed myself and others throughout the state's Republican Party.
Apparently for previous conventions the state party selected a slate of Delegates and Alternate Delegates for approval at the state convention immediately before the national one. This time, though, state party Chairman Jim Pelura declined to pick a slate, deferring the decision to the conventioneers - a move I agree with 100 percent. It can be argued that those areas which already have a large number of votes will naturally hold sway and dominate the process, but at least it gives a chance to those who may or may not be favored by those in charge of the party in any given year.
Earlier this week though I got an e-mail from the Maryland Republican Party's First Vice-Chair, Chris Cavey, who obviously felt a slate was necessary to assure some sort of "diversity":
MDGOP will not present an official slate of candidates for RNC Delegates/Alternates at our Annapolis Spring Convention, May 10, 2008. Several of us, however, thought it would be a wonderful idea, plus a show of solidarity, to build a team of both party and campaign leaders from other Presidential campaigns.
We are not asking the McCain campaign for an “official blessing” (even though we would be honored to have such a blessing) but have informed them of our efforts to bring MDGOP members and our legislative leaders, as one, behind our party’s nominee, Sen. John McCain.
All of us know that you will naturally be voting for friends and honoring your commitments made prior to this letter. Maryland has many leaders and there are only 20 slots for the convention. This list is a recommendation for you, as you fill-out your ballot. It is a broad and fair representation of Republican leaders, plus demographic representation; we hope that you will consider all or part of this team for your approval.
The Unity Team Members
This so-called "unity team" comprises the following candidates for Delegate:
Joan Becker, State Senator David Brinkley, Chris Cavey, Chuck Gast, Mike Geppi, Anne McCarthy, Delegate Tony McConkey, Delegate Tony O'Donnell, Patt Parker, and Corey Stottlemeyer.
Then you have these people standing for Alternate:
Nicholee Ambrose, Ashley Barbera, Sharon Carrick, Kevin Igoe, Katie Nash, Gloria Murphy, Mike Pappas, Rex Reed, Delegate Chris Shank, Loretta Shields.
First of all, I don't give a damn about gender or race representation because I want the best person for the job. If we have all white guys, so be it - the same goes for if they were all Asian women. What I do want is a pretty decent proportion of geographical representation, with emphasis on regions that actually elect Republicans!
Because the first 24 Delegates and Alternate Delegates are elected based on Congressional District, it is almost certain that some areas of the state will be more well-represented than others. This is the composition of the group as it currently stands, by county:
Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties, 8 apiece
Baltimore County, 7
Prince George's County, 6
Baltimore City, 4
Harford and Washington counties, 3 apiece
Frederick, Howard, and Talbot counties, 2 apiece
Calvert, Carroll, and St. Mary's counties, 1 apiece - for a total of 48.
This is how the Unity Slate would change the composition:
Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, 10 apiece
Montgomery County, 9
Baltimore City and Prince George's County, 6 apiece
Washington County, 5
Calvert, Frederick, Harford, and Howard counties, 4 apiece
Carroll and Talbot counties, 2 apiece
Queen Anne's and St. Mary's counties. 1 apiece - for a total of 68.
Wow, we picked up one county in this bid for geographical diversity. Granted, it is an Eastern Shore county but those of us south of Easton and at the western extreme of Maryland, counties that have proven to be decidedly loyal to GOP candidates, get zip. We can't do anything about the rules subdividing the state by Congressional district for the purpose of selecting conventioneers, but at our convention we can certainly pick folks from areas that actually vote for the party in order to reward loyalty.
Now some will see this missive and call me a troublemaker who's dividing the Maryland Republican party. Well, I have news for you - it already is fractured and that's the natural result of a "big tent" policy where people who are comfortable with John McCain's views on a number of subjects clash with those of us who are pro-border enforcement, pro-First Amendment, and believe that the theory of manmade global warming is a bunch of hot air in and of itself.
We're more agreeable to a point on state issues because, quite frankly, Martin O'Malley has been a disaster thus far as Governor; but even in the First District people don't always get behind the best candidate for Congress, State Senator Andy Harris. They have the misguided view that Democrat Frank Kratovil will be a "centrist moderate" - centrist my ass. He'll be another Pelosi lap dog and in your heart of hearts you should know it. Quit being bitter about Wayne losing. If the result were different I'd be supporting Congressman Gilchrest even though we disagree on many issues, same goes for John McCain.
So if you're reading this and can vote for the Delegates and Alternate Delegates to represent Maryland at the national convention, bear in mind two things: rewarding those areas that are loyal to the GOP and electing their candidates, and hewing to a conservative line in order to help influence the direction of the platform. I think I fit both bills; however, if you feel differently that's your decision and I'll stand by it. Either way, I'm going to enjoy my vacation time whether it's in August or the week of Labor Day.
Crossposted on monoblogue.