It appears that former Republican Delegate Rick Weldon may be resigning his seat in the General Assembly to take a job with the City of Frederick. If he does, a very interesting decision will have to be made by the Frederick County Republican Central Committee (H/T Mike Netherland). The choice of Weldon's replacement by these party elites has the potential to be a miniature version of the debacle in NY-23 (which seems appropriate as Maryland is "America in Miniature").
While the die is far from cast, sources close to the committee tell me that there are two primary candidates seeking the job if it becomes available.
The first is central committee member and long time conservative activist Mike Hough. Mike is the former leader of the Maryland Republican Assembly which seeks to elect conservative Republicans to office. Mike is also a declared candidate for the District 3B seat and has reported approximately $30,000 raised and sources close to his campaign say that he expects to have over $50,000 cash in hand in his January report, a handsome sum for a single member district nearly a year before the election.
Given his background and active campaigning in conservative Frederick County, District 3B comprises arguably the most conservative part of Senator Alex Mooney's conservative District 3, Mr. Hough would seem to be the natural selection for any opening.
Surprisingly, however, another member of the central committee, Katie Nash, has been quietly attempting to get the job for herself. Little is known about Ms. Nash as she lacks the experience or track record of even the 30ish Mr. Hough. What makes some cast Ms. Nash in the Dede Scozzafava role, however, is not her youth but her views on the issues. She is widely reported to be pro-choice and has on multiple occasions posted on her facebook wall comments which seem to show great sympathy for the gay marriage movement, even to the point of praising Equality Maryland for pushing Obama to do more. Without a record of achievement or public positions, these few public statements seem the only clues about what a Delegate Nash may do in the General Assembly.
Which begs the question, if the situation would arise, why would any central committee consider putting a political unknown into the House of Delegates? It would not be the first time that a central committee got it wrong on what is arguably their most important job (remember Senator Bobby Neall?).
For conservatives, Mike Hough is exactly the kind of candidate we say we want. He is talented and unwavering in his conservative beliefs. He has worked not just to get other Republicans but conservative Republicans elected. He has shown that he can withstand the crucible of Annapolis and remain true to his principles.
So why would any conservative Republican, let alone a member of a central committee, ever consider appointing someone else, especially someone with more red flags than a Chinese May Day parade?
It is important that Maryland conservatives, not just those in Frederick County, get informed on this issue and let these committee members know that we are watching. Any process to select Delegate Weldon's replacement should be as open and transparent as possible and every candidate needs to be publicly scrutinized.
Parochial committee politics and personal ambition cannot be allowed to create a NY-23 scenario here in Maryland.
More below the fold.