On Sunday I marveled at how calm the race for Maryland GOP Chair was, but there is some movement in the races below the one which, to my knowledge, has heretofore left Diana Waterman unopposed for another term.
An interesting race is developing for First Vice-Chair, one which pits incumbent Collins Bailey, a favorite of the pro-liberty crowd, against Mary Burke-Russell, who until recently headed a very successful St. Mary’s County Republican Party. You may recall Bailey was a last-minute nominee for the job in the spring of 2013 after he lost a tight battle with Waterman for party Chair, and Burke-Russell was one of those he defeated for the job in a five-way race.
Besides the pro-liberty endorsements, though, Bailey has the backing of current Second Vice-Chair Larry Helminiak, who noted that:
Though I often have the exact opposite point of view as Mr. Bailey, I have learned that the final decisions arrived at by a board of directors is more acceptable to the membership after both sides of an issue are presented and discussed.
If re-elected to the position of 2nd Vice Chair, I would look forward to spending the next couple of years having open discussions with Collins Bailey.
At this point, no one has stepped forth to challenge Helminiak for his position but that’s likely to change.
Meanwhile, the Third Vice-Chair position has one announced candidate in Eugene Craig III, who last ran for Clerk of the Court in Baltimore County this year. I’m not aware if incumbent Eric Grannon is running for re-election, with the same being true for Secretary John Wafer. However, Treasurer Chris Rosenthal is seeking another term.
If the two who haven’t made their plans known decide to stay on, it would create a powerful argument to maintain the status quo which led the party to some unprecedented successes in 2014. It’s likely more challengers will surface in coming days – I’ll have a better idea when our Central Committee meets Monday night – but as it stands right now the acrimony which has rended the party after previous conventions may not surface. The pro-liberty wing will have representation in Bailey while the so-called “establishment” can point to Waterman as their choice.
It was a formula which held the party together for the 2014 campaign, and it can serve to grow the party over the next two years.