As I have in the past, this recounting will work as a two-part series, with Friday night’s events as one part and today’s items in Part 2 tomorrow afternoon. Otherwise I end up with an extremely long post because I have a total of 18 photos plus a lot of descriptive text.
While the convention proper doesn’t begin until Saturday morning, the majority of participants arrive on Friday evening – some to attend the Executive Committee meeting and others for the merriment which follows among the several party rooms and hospitality suites. It was interesting to see that the Andy Harris campaign was out to keep folks properly hydrated:
I sat in on what was a relatively brief Executive Committee meeting, shortened for me partly to get through the business and partly because the group went into executive session.
Party Chair Dr. Jim Pelura opened the remarks by acknowleging the newly-hired Executive Director Justin Ready as a “fine addition”, and commented on the party’s enthusiasm by telling the room our “malaise is gone.” Part of this was the state realizing that “elections have consequences” (referring to the high-tax Governor O’Malley) and part of that was having a Republican candidate for Congress in each district. In 2008, no Maryland Democrat will have a free ride and that’s a good sign in my opinion.
While she wanted to save most of her remarks for the convention proper, National Committeewoman Joyce Terhes pleaded for us to “be a unified party” this November. On the other hand, her counterpart Louis Pope spoke more at length. He referred to the continuing battle in the Democrat primaries as “more exciting every week” and “the gift that keeps on giving.” But he also encouraged those who were seeking the party’s nod to represent Maryland at the national convention to participate in Minneapolis, even if they weren’t successful today.
Before the group went to executive session, we got the financial scoop from Party Treasurer Chris Rosenthal. Without going into the actual figures, the news was that thus far in 2008 the party’s income was higher than expected, while expenses were slightly lower than forecast. I was most pleased to find that the line of credit that the state party needed last year had been pared practically in half since the beginning of 2008 and that all but one outstanding bill had been eradicated. It was excellent to find out that we were far from broke and will hopefully be in sound financial condition for the next statewide cycle.
Since observers like me were shooed out by the changeover to executive session, we had little choice but to go partake in the various parties that were getting underway. Following are pictures from all but one, for some reason I didn’t get a picture of the McCain campaign’s hospitality suite. Yes, there was one but surprisingly there was no Young Republican hospitality suite this time.
Even though both were unopposed, our representatives to the Republican National Committee felt it necessary to host their own room:
The room next door was hosted by the “Gorgeous” Prince George’s County delegation and eventually was the scene of some karaoke.
Harford County Executive David Craig had a slightly smaller suite. It was a bit surprising since he wasn’t running for anything.
A couple of those who actually were running to be sent to Minneapolis hosted their own rooms.
I took the McConkey suite picture pretty early on, it actually turned out to be the liveliest of all the suites that I attended.
Of course, a number of other Delegate and Alternate Delegate candidates were circulating around the scene doing their thing. Just to backtrack a little, foreshadow tomorrow’s post, and make a point, here’s a shot I took after I returned home today of just a sampling of the postal mail I got over the last couple weeks from various officeseekers today:
Others made their pitch at the event with literature, lapel stickers, or in this case a board:
I also had a questionnaire from one Central Committee member who took his voting seriously, which I found interesting to say the least. I did fill it out, and whether I picked up his vote or not I guess I’ll never know. Tomorrow I’ll pick up the convention narrative beginning with this morning’s events.