This evening Maryland First Vice-Chair Chris Cavey announced he was dropping out of the race to succeed Dr. Jim Pelura as state party chairman:
Over the past month I have traveled across Maryland speaking to Central Committees and Republican activists about the potential our party has in 2010. Most folks agree we have an opportunity to make gains electing Republicans and would be negligent to miss our chance by not being unified as a Party.
Last evening I listened as a group of Committee members worked through the trials and tribulations of a new voting method to be considered for the upcoming convention. It was a wonderful example of what party members should be doing, problem solving, and that made me think about the Chairman’s race.
Roughly fifty-three weeks from today is the 2010 General Election, we need to be unified, in full blown campaign mode and not bickering about the past. The current race for Chairman is very close and I fear the effects of a close race will only further serve to divide us as a party.
Effective today I am withdrawing from the MDGOP Chairman’s race. Party unity and winning elections in 2010 is important. I will pledge to each of you to dedicate my time and effort by helping the next MDGOP Chair re-build and re-unify our party for 2010 wins.
Thanks to each of you who have worked for my campaign and had faith in my leadership abilities. Please realize that this was not an easy decision for me to make. Long-term, however, we will be ahead of the game for our party’s future and we will create more victories by working together… starting from today. (Emphasis in original).
This also dovetails well with a release I received from another contender, Daniel Vovak. He's crying foul about the chairman of the nominating committee, Montgomery County GOP head Mark Uncapher:
Following the resignation of embattled Chairman James Pelura, Daniel "The Whig Man" Vovak has called for the resignation of the chairman of the Republican Nominating Committee, following a lapse in Mark Uncapher's ethics.
Uncapher holds two chairmanships within the Maryland Republican Party. Foremost, he is the chairman of the nominating committee for the next chairman. Secondly, he is the chairman of the Montgomery County Central Committee. Uncapher's primary job is to facilitate the process for about 270 central committeemen to elect the next chairman, who will be: Daniel Vovak, Chris Cavey, or Audrey Scott. However, Vovak has alleged that Uncapher is acting unethically by writing a letter of support for Audrey Scott, in spite of being the person who should be neutral in the process. Regardless, he believes Uncapher should continue as Montgomery County Chairman.
"Mark Uncapher's job is to find nominees, not to hand-pick them," says Vovak, a movie producer and ghostwriter in Bethesda. "Since Uncapher is in charge of the nominating committee I asked him today to write a letter of nomination for me and he said he will only support Audrey Scott. My position is that Uncapher should support all candidates who want to be chairman or he should support no one. It is absolutely unethical for the chairman of the nominating committee to single out a specific candidate while pretending to be neutral with the others. If Uncapher feels so strongly about Audrey Scott then he needs to resign because he is definitely not a neutral arbitrator."
The rules of the Party require a chairman-nominee to provide three nomination letters from committeemen in three different counties to be submitted to the nominating committee for vote by the whole committee. On Tuesday, Vovak asked Uncapher for his nomination letter and was flatly denied it. Uncapher's bias extends to the website for the Montgomery County Republicans, which lists only Audrey Scott as a candidate for chairman, but not Chris Cavey or himself.
"It's issues like this that frustrate me as a Republican," says Vovak. "The next chairman needs to raise funds and stop airing our dirty laundry."
I think Vovak has a legitimate point, but Uncapher can salvage his credibility by bending over backwards to assure anyone nominated with the correct process gets a fair shake.
To refute one point made by Vovak, I also looked at the Montgomery County website and noticed it had omissions for both Larry Hogan and Mike Pappas in the Governor's race (along with missing Cavey in the Chairman race), so Vovak isn't the only one who should be miffed with the process. Then again, we who look for links are only human and I'm sure I haven't found every candidate running locally either.
Returning to Cavey, though, the item I found second most interesting in his release was that he "listened as a group of Committee members worked through the trials and tribulations of a new voting method to be considered for the upcoming convention." Personally, I see no trials or tribulations with scrapping the LCD system previously used and going to a simple "one man, one vote" system. I suppose the participants from counties who were given outsized importance with the LCD voting method may find change objectionable, but I don't!
(In an aside, it so happens that I played secretary at last night's WCRC meeting because our normal secretary was a participant in the call; hopefully he'll have good news for me next time we meet.)
So Cavey is out. Barring a nomination from the floor, it's likely Ehrlich administration official Audrey Scott will serve as the lightning rod for scrutiny and criticism over the next year as an interim party Chair. So the convention may have gotten a lot more dull, but we'll see.
Crossposted on monoblogue.