Just as I did with Scott Shaffer a few days ago, I’m going to publish Audrey Scott’s refutation of points made by yours truly and others in its entirety, aside from minor formatting revisions to make this work on my site. It will not be blockquoted.
This comes from a letter to Central Committee members, with two pages being a general letter and a third page entitled “My Response.” I’ll have additional comments at the conclusion, which will come after Audrey’s note commences on the other side of the jump.
Dear Central Committee Members,
I expect I have talked to you in person or by phone sometime during the last three months. I have crisscrossed the State a dozen times since January when I accepted the call to be a candidate for the National Committeewoman.
Never did I imagine the negative attacks, character assassinations and outright lies about me, my efforts or my accomplishments by my opponent Ms. Ambrose and her supporters.
The tone of this race saddens me and I hope is not indicative of the next generation of Republican activists. It is certainly fair to compare records, point out differences, discuss accomplishments and hold up endorsements. But the “win at any cost” tone this race has taken on is not productive or helpful to the Maryland Republican Party. In fact it is hurtful and destructive.
Nevertheless, I refuse to be bullied out of this race by a few mean spirited naysayer’s. (sic) You might remember, I was the only Republican elected official in Prince George’s County for eight years. I know how to take a punch.
My opponent’s supporters have said that they are waiting for me to join them in the mud and go negative. I will not. It is not my style nor how I do business. Instead, I will offer you a comparison of the issues Ms. Ambrose and I have been discussing on the campaign trail.
My opponent is campaigning on two issues:
- Change the Republican party to allow Independents to vote in the Primary, and
- Do a better job with grassroots; communications and building a farm team.
First, I disagree with allowing Independents to vote in Republican Primaries. Much like we saw in the past Presidential primary season, there were dramatically different results in States that had “open” primaries and those with “Republican only” primaries. While it is true, you get more Independents voting, it is equally true you will get different results.
I chose to be a Republican (and not a Democrat and not an Independent) because I believe in the Republican principles. I want my Party and its leadership to exhibit those same principles. I believe it weakens our Party as a whole when we try to be all things to all people.
I was a Deputy Assistant Secretary for President Ronald Reagan. I attended cabinet meetings at the White House. I witnessed firsthand Ronald Reagan’s leadership and still get goose bumps when I think of the time he told Gorbachev “tear down this wall.” We as Republicans (and we as Americans) should stand proud on our beliefs. I have no interest in watering down our Republican beliefs … and that is exactly what will happen if we go to “open” primaries.
Second, my opponent advocates “doing a better job with grassroots, communications and building a farm team.” These are good goals that I share as well. Unfortunately, Ms. Ambrose offers no specifics on what she would do and instead points out that the MDGOP during my tenure as Chairman of the MDGOP had “no” success on any of these fronts.
During my tenure, due to our candidate recruitment, candidate training, voter identification and get-out-the-vote effort, we had a net gain of 47 elected Republicans throughout the State. In contrast, four years earlier, we had a net loss. Furthermore, the newly elected Republican Delegates in Annapolis have already made their mark by stopping a number of bad bills.
In addition, during my tenure as Chairman, we saw a net gain in membership among the grassroots both in participation at clubs and in paid memberships to the MDGOP.
Finally, I was able to raise enough money to pay for a full time communications director. This was a priority for me as I understand the importance of being able to communicate our message to supporters as well as engaging in PR for the Party and our elected officials.
What Ms. Ambrose has left off her list is what the job of a National Committeewoman actually requires:
- The role of the National Committeewoman is to represent the State at the national level and compete for resources from the RNC with the other 49 States in a very competitive environment. The National Committeewoman must be confident, have a strong convincing voice, be respected and trusted by her peers.
- Attend RNC Board meeting and subcommittee meetings. There is no RNC reimbursement and this costs upwards of $25,000 a year and countless days out of town. It is critical to attend these meetings and the dinners and banquets because this is where relationships are made and cemented and where the “deals are made” that will benefit the Maryland Republican Party as well as the Nation.
- Engage in fundraising. During my career in Maryland, I have raised millions of dollars hosting events for Republican Candidates as well as the millions of dollars while I was Chairman of the Maryland GOP. Just last year, after I was no longer Chairman of the Maryland GOP, I hosted a Fundraiser at my house that raised $14,000 for the GOP. The fact is I am a known and recognized fundraiser with a successful track record.
In closing, I commend Ms. Ambrose for throwing her hat into the ring. However, National Committeewoman is not a job you learn on the fly. It is a position that should be filled by a person with the time, discretionary money, fundraising contacts, national political experience and contacts and a proven successful record.
There are a number of highly qualified women who fit this description in Maryland, such as Joyce Terhes, Ellen Sauerbrey, Ruth Umbel, Patt Parker, Catie James, Mary Kane, Katja Bullock, Nancy Jacobs, Addie Eckardt, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Helen Bentley, Marjorie Holt, Diana Waterman, and Kelly Schulz. Most of these amazing women recruited me to run and all have endorsed my candidacy.
I hope you find this letter and my comments helpful to your decision on who you will choose to be your next National Committeewoman. I have done my best to answer the questions and accusations on the table, defend my record and explain the differences between myself and Ms. Ambrose.
Thank you for your service to the Maryland GOP. I respectfully ask for your vote at the MDGOP convention this Saturday in Solomon’s Island.
The second part is Audrey’s rebuttal to some of the items brought up here and in other venues.
Ms. Ambrose and her supporters have publicly made the following accusations. They are made with half truths and remind me of the old statement “the sky is blue, the grass is green so 1 plus 1 equals 3.” Mixing a few truths with a lie does not make the lie true.
For those of you who are interested, I would like to set the record straight. If you have any questions at all about any of my statements or facts, please do not hesitate to call me at (redacted).
Attorney General Ballot
I reject Ms. Ambrose’s accusations that I kept Jim Shalleck off the Republican ballot in 2010. When he did not file by the deadline, I organized an effort to have MDGOP, under the rules adopted by the Board of Elections and the MDGOP, appoint Mr. Shalleck to the ballot. This effort failed when there was not a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee. I voted yes.
I reject Ms. Ambrose’s accusations that the Rule 11 designation was for the direct benefit of Bob Ehrlich. Rather it was to set up 7 voter identification offices throughout the State to identify Independents and Conservative Democrats for the GENERAL ELECTION. No money flowed to Bob Ehrlich because of Rule 11. Furthermore, Bob Ehrlich donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to voter identification efforts. All candidates for the General Election had use of these offices and it is the major reason we had so many winning candidates. By the way, this is the primary reason why Andy Harris captured a Democrat Congressional seat in the 1st District.
I reject Ms. Ambrose’s accusations that I misrepresented the debt or the amount of money raised by the Maryland GOP during my time as Chairman. The party was in debt by $250,000 and we raised $1.5 million plus another $1 million from the RNC for the Victory effort. MDGOP Treasurer Chris Rosenthal is available to verify these numbers.
I reject Ms. Ambrose’s accusations that I should not have involved myself in the 6th Congressional District Primary. I was asked to help recruit a candidate since Roscoe Bartlett was retiring and because the newly drawn district was effectively an open seat. When Congressman Bartlett did not retire, I and about two dozen Republican elected officials, had already endorsed David Brinkley. I did not go back on my word. When the primary was over, I openly and publicly declared my support for Congressman Bartlett.
Okay, I have given Audrey about 1500 words to state her case. But there are still a lot of holes and unanswered questions.
First of all, though, I have been attempting to use Audrey’s record as a point of comparison. And while I have my disagreements with Nicolee Ambrose as well, there are a number of glaring faults which Audrey has either not addressed or where she tried to pass off misinformation. If pointing these out is a “negative attack,” then I stand guilty. As I said in a comment someplace the other day I’d much rather be kicking the collective asses of the seven Democratic dwarfs who are on the state ballot, yet I can’t just let this valuable position become a gold watch retirement gift when it can be utilized for so much more.
I will say that I agree with Audrey that unaffiliated voters shouldn’t vote in the GOP primary. But what Audrey didn’t tell you is that it the idea would be to bring the open primary discussion up at a future convention and let the party decide – a concept apparently foreign to Audrey given how Rule 11 was invoked just days after our party met in Ocean City in 2010. But I am glad to see Audrey coming around on the idea of principles, since she’s well known for her “party over everything” statement.
And perhaps it was that “party over everything” spirit making Audrey take credit for the 2010 Republican gains in Maryland. But I contend that she was the beneficiary of this little movement called the TEA Party and we could have done even better without the perception the Maryland GOP was already in the tank for a number of establishment candidates.
On the other hand, Nicolee Ambrose helped to build that farm team by cultivating a number of Young Republican chapters around the state – I believe the Lower Shore chapter was one of those. I myself have a YR background so I know a little bit about how difficult it is at times to motivate younger people to get involved; obviously she’s better at it than I was. (I can do a little name dropping, though: if you read down among the YR officers backing Nicolee, you’ll notice the name Michael Harlow. I served under him as Secretary of the Toledo Metro YR club around 1998. He then moved to the Cincinnati area and became involved nationally.)
Yet the part of the initial letter that floored me was the long diatribe about how to serve as a National Committeewoman, because it’s simply an extension of the line I was given by one of her supporters that Nicolee Ambrose can’t serve because she’s a single mom and has a family. It seems to me that heading up a national organization is pretty good training for this, and quite frankly this is the same type of argument Democrats used to disparage Sarah Palin. I think Nicolee is quite intelligent enough to know what she was getting into, since surely she knows a few RNC members.
Now it’s time to address Audrey’s responses to the points not brought up by Nicolee (at least not originally) but instead by a number of thoughtful Republicans around the state who believe the party should move forward and see this as an opportunity to do just that.
First of all, I read the Jim Shalleck letter (replicated here), and the message I got from it is that Audrey knows where the bodies are buried. But even if she doesn’t know who quashed the Executive Committee meeting, Audrey still could have easily sent out notice shortly after the filing deadline passed and not run afoul of the waiver requirement – but she chose not to for some reason. If she had sent out the notice immediately upon the initial contact from Shalleck, they could have met before the deadline with a couple days to spare. Opportunity missed, and a black eye for the state party to make them look ineffective and weak.
Now about Rule 11. Even if you accept Audrey’s premise that it wasn’t for Bob Ehrlich’s benefit, let’s review two facts:
- The featured luncheon speaker at the Spring 2010 MDGOP Convention was Bob Ehrlich. While Brian Murphy was in the room, he was not allowed to say his piece.
- At that same convention the Rule 11 question was not brought up. This top-down management style is the surest way to turn off activists the party needs to thrive in the future. If the subject had come to a vote I predict it would have passed overwhelmingly over my objection. But at least the MDGOP would have a leg to stand on because they made the effort to get a buy-in from local leaders.
I also dispute Audrey’s contention about the Victory Centers winning Andy Harris his seat. Harris would have won the First Congressional seat, Victory Centers or not, because no one was happy with Frank Kratovil and the district acted like the R+13 district it was in a non-presidential year.
And now we get to party finances, and guess what? I did speak with Chris Rosenthal. And I resent the implication I lied about the fundraising, because the numbers don’t show what she claims.
But apparently she’s counting on most of the couple hundred voters involved taking her word for it when the facts fly in her face. Not all of those voting read this website; it’s their loss but I can’t force anyone to come here.
And last but not least, the Sixth District primary. Listen, Audrey can support whoever she wants to and a lot of people were surprised that Roscoe Bartlett didn’t retire. But to call him “unelectable?” I guarantee that will show up someplace in John Delaney’s campaign. I’m glad she’s backing him now, but the damage has been done – and Roscoe is one of many Republican officeholders endorsing Nicolee Ambrose.
Oh, and about those endorsements. While Audrey has a formidable list of endorsements on her site, it’s worth noting that several 2010 statewide candidates (who worked with Audrey while she was Chair) have endorsed Nicolee Ambrose: Eric Wargotz and William Campbell are behind her; not unexpectedly so is Brian Murphy. In addition, several of the 2010 crop of Delegates is in her corner as well: Neil Parrott, Michael Hough, and John Cluster were elected two years ago while Audrey was Chair but are endorsing Nicolee.
As I have said on previous occasions, we face a choice of whether to move the party forward or stay in place. It took me awhile to make a decision, and I could have let Rule 11 go by the wayside. But when Audrey showed up at a rally which supported raising the gasoline tax, I began to wonder about the message she was sending. Add to that the “unelectable” Bartlett fiasco and the questionable fundraising claims, and you get a situation where our judgment as a whole would come into question if Audrey Scott was rewarded with a National Committeewoman post.
I’m all for thanking Audrey Scott for her years of service to the Maryland Republican Party. But I think she’s already had a roast, so we don’t need to give her this office too.