It was such a big and exciting convention this time that I decided to return to the practice of making this post in two parts. Part 1 tonight will deal with what occurred Friday night and tomorrow I’ll review the convention itself that occurred today. (One spoiler – our new Chair is former State Senator Alex Mooney.)
Once I arrived and cleaned up, I went down to check out the Executive Committee meeting – the last chaired by Audrey Scott.
The first interesting portion of the meeting occurred with the reading of the Treasurer’s Report. I was thrilled to find our line of credit we’d had since 2007 or so had been paid off, but not so pleased to find out what our outstanding bills were.
With a number of new Chairs there, the questions came fast and furious during this portion of the meeting. One key point zeroed on the lease the Party holds on its current headquarters and why it’s so seemingly excessive. Perhaps a facilities task force is in order, opined Treasurer Chris Rosenthal.
It was also interesting to hear the impact of “Victory” money on the party’s finances; however, the 2011 budget is conservatively based on doing without help from the national Republican Party.
Yet for Audrey Scott it was “extremely satifying and gratifying to be Chair this year.” Our 40 seat gain in local and state races was a “phenomenal achievement” and she thanked all the candidates and their campaign workers.
In the future, our goal is “viability” and “instant credibility,” continued Scott. But “I’m not wearing rose-colored glasses” as Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Baltimore City would continue to be issues.
While National Committeewoman Joyce Terhes remarked in her report that the newcomers are “embarking on a four years you’ll love,” Louis Pope said he couldn’t recall a 48% turnover in the Central Committees in his nearly 40 years he’s been active in the party. It’s an “incredible opportunity,’ said Pope.
It was comforting to hear from the party’s legal counsel Bob Ostrom that we have a “tremendously positive” relationship with the Maryland Board of Elections. We may not agree with the outcome, but he also stated this most recent election was the “most fraud-free election that Maryland has conducted in many years.”
Among the organizational reports, three stood out.
Moshe Starkman, who was in the running for 1st Vice Chair, gave the Young Republican report. While he talked about effective engagement and involvement, one observer was “very troubled” with the YR Network he set up. The two were encouraged to discuss these issues at a later time as it began to get a little heated.
Chair candidate Mike Esteve gave the College Republican report, noting “this has been a tough year for everyone.” But he pointed out the growth of the CRs from five chapters to eleven, with a goal of 15 by April. Mike also explained the process and discussion behind a controversial CR bylaw change that allowed them to support Bob Ehrlich pre-primary, stating that they had spoken with both candidates before making the decision.
Mike also had complementary words for Fiona Moodie, who ran for office in Prince George’s County at the tender age of 18 – “imagine what she’ll be like at 28,” said Esteve. (She was the only Republican to run for their County Council, getting 21.5% of the vote in her district.) It was apt as Moodie gave the Teenage Republican report. They were working with the CRs on getting a vote on the Executive Committee.
The county reports were waived – everyone wanted to party, and I’m sure you want to check out the pictures!
Some Chair candidates had their own setup, with Mary Kane’s being the most elaborate. She even had an elephant.
Here she is with a couple supporters inside her ballroom.
On a more moderate scale was Alex Mooney’s hospitality suite, where he held court.
His main issue, of course, was fundraising, and he reminded those who dropped by of his plan.
The other candidate who had his own suite was Sam Hale.
Someone showed off their baking ability there.
But perhaps the most anticipated party was sponsored by someone who had no dog in the Chair fight whatsoever. It was dubbed the ‘Renegade Room’ and Joe Steffen (a.k.a. the ‘Prince of Darkness’) was the man with the plan, plastered on the wall to see and sign.
The “Renegade Revolution Resolution” went with the room’s ‘speaking truth’ theme – Joe and Don Murphy only had to kick a couple people out, none named Bill Campbell. The Chair hopeful stopped by to chat with Red Maryland‘s Mark Newgent.
They even had an honor roll out in the hallway.
You may have noticed the text of the document behind Joe Steffen. The signature in the upper-left hand corner is mine, but a number of other people signed too. We don’t hate the party, we’re just concerned.
But the election of Alex Mooney may go a long way in assuaging our concerns, and that’s the subject of tomorrow’s post on the events of today. (A good host leaves ’em wanting more!)
And there is a LOT more of the inside scoop. Part 2 is here.