Unity stressed at Maryland GOP convention -- Gazette.Net



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State GOP leaders tried to keep the focus on unity, rather than infighting and finger-pointing, at the party’s convention this past weekend in Ellicott City.

At the end of Saturday, Alex Mooney still was the party’s state chair — despite calls for his resignation after the party’s election losses — and a resolution of “no confidence” in the party’s national leadership was defeated.

“If you don’t intend to walk out of this room and fight Democrats, just get out now because we’ve got work to do,” Mooney told the assembled party members Saturday. He went on to acknowledge that it was a difficult time for the Republican Party.

The party’s Election Day casualties included not only presidential contender Mitt Romney, but U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who lost his seat in the redawn 6th District to Democrat John Delaney, and several ballot questions that passed despite the party’s opposition.

Calls for his resignation aside — notably from the conservative Red Maryland blog, which criticized his leadership on the ballot issues — no real effort to oust Mooney emerged, and no resolution challenging his leadership was even discussed, said Andi Morony of Queen Anne’s County, who chaired the convention’s resolutions committee.

“There is understandable displeasure with the results of the election,” Mooney said in an interview Saturday. “In the end, the point was well received that finger-pointing and blaming is not the way to go forward.”

After some debate, the party voted down a resolution of “no confidence” in Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus.

That resolution, brought by Baltimore County Central Committee Chair John Fiastro Jr., accused Priebus of not capitalizing on the “failed policies” of President Barack Obama and ignoring the libertarian wing of the party.

The resolution drew criticism from party members like Bob Sweeny of the Washington County Central Committee, who said it was like an Obama campaign attempt to divide and conquer the Republican Party.

“We all failed,” Sweeny said. “Should we all resign?”

The resolution failed 223 votes to 286.

Party members also adopted a resolution urging the repeal of a law passed earlier this year requiring more efficient — and expensive — septic systems in new construction, a measure described in the resolution as “destructive of the property rights and freedoms” guaranteed by the state and U.S. constitutions.

The party also considered a resolution calling for the resignation of newly elected Cecil County Executive Tari Moore, who changed her party affiliation from Republican to unaffiliated last week. The move drew fire from lawmakers, including Del. Michael D. Smigiel (R-Dist. 36) of Chesapeake City, who took to Twitter on Saturday to address Moore’s “disloyalty and betrayal.”

That resolution was tabled Saturday, after some party members expressed concern that they didn’t know enough about the reasons for Moore’s switch and argued that she likely would return to the GOP fold in the future.

dleaderman@gazette.net