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As Long as We Remember...

January 11, 2010

Kicking the Dog

Steven R. Berryman

Last week two separate Republican Central Committees duked it out over the official appointment – short term – for the remainder of the term of the 3-B delegate seat being vacated by Rick Weldon.


It was a great week for the local media, a week of bemusement for the Democrat observers, and a learning week for the GOP.


As Rick was a Republican when elected, this is how the State Charter says we do it, by internal committee straight vote – and not public referendum – in closed executive session. Had this been an open meeting, it surely would have allayed many a concern; but then it would have been much more subject to manipulation from the outside.


Were the local Republican Party members served, or were they “served?”


Was this a failure of leadership within the county central committee system, or was this the system working as designed, but demonstrating an internal shakeout that is part of the self-reinvention of Maryland’s minority party?


It is my sincere and informed view, as well as fervent hope, that it is the latter of these two possibilities.


In anticipation of having to deal with vacated seats in general, knowing this would certainly happen as a result of the vacant seat in the elected Judge of the Orphan’s Court position, and with the possibility of Rick Weldon headed to the side of new Mayor Randy McClement, the local Republican Central Committee did its job in developing and setting up a fair “process.”


The process was a formula and method for choosing replacements for party vacancies as needed; but, did they deal with the possibility of a tie in the case of a delegate slot that spanned two counties?


Was it anticipated that two voting members of the Frederick County group could – at least theoretically – benefit from an opening in the county commissioners if Charles Jenkins were to win out?


And in that event, what elected local body would fill THAT seat? You’ve got it!!


It was known in advance that although 96 percent of the population of the delegate 3-B slot resided in Frederick as opposed to Washington counties in an overlap, that each could offer up a separate candidate to Gov. Martin O’Malley with a split and unresolved decision.


Well, it was split, and it has stayed unresolved.


I’ve been told that it’s a “done deal,” and two names are headed for Annapolis now.


Each county’s central committee is an elected body voted upon each four years during the primary season. Contender Michael Hough is a sitting, elected member of this central committee for Frederick County. He is also a past chairman.


Each county’s central committee operates by its own separate bylaws, as their rules state.


The Frederick County Republican Central Committee has as its stated mission to recruit, support, and to promote worthy Republicans into office.


There was much discussion during regular meetings about the wisdom, appearance, and conflicts inherent in having sitting members also perform as candidates for upcoming office. I got this first hand from sitting-in.


A point of fact is that our highly popular sheriff, Chuck Jenkins, ran for his current position while he was the chairman slot of the Republican Central Committee, and did so successfully.


Granted, the central committee is itself a breeding ground and stepping-stone for future Republican candidates by design.


Mr. Hough chose to vote for himself, and stated so well in advance, partly as there were no rules against it, and also as there were at least three precedents within Maryland of central committee members voting for themselves.


Had Michael Hough recused himself voluntarily from his statutory right to vote for himself, he would still have won in Frederick County by one vote, and could possibly have swayed Washington County, which went to currently sitting County Commissioner Charles Jenkins.


We will never know for sure.


Internal animosity about Mr. Hough grew from an episode – still tabled and unresolved – where he claimed a blanket endorsement for his (long) campaign for this delegate seat with the names of several willing committee members on official central committee stationary.


His opponents never forgot, and by the time debates ended Mr. Hough had been accused of everything except kicking columnist Roy Meachum’s dog, Pushkin!


Some cried “integrity lapse!” But he still won the vote any way you cut it.


But successful politicians and candidates – as do corporations – operate clearly within the sphere of their own self-interest. This is a function of the competitiveness of the game, and is a survival tool to be used once in office to the betterment of the constituency.


Me, I endorsed Mr. Hough, but not because I’m against Charles Jenkins, who I have met several times, always with positive impact. Mr. Jenkins has helped further my positions on the negative impact of illegal-immigration, now more important than ever.


Michael Hough, and his mentor, State Sen. Alex Mooney, have supported my pro NRA positions, and currently support the back to The Constitution movement of “We Surround Them Frederick,” as well as the work of “The Tenth Amendment Center.”


Mr. Jenkins’ supporters do so mainly because they harbor animosity for Mr. Hough and his relationship with mentor Mooney. They are missing the point. I believe that votes should be in the affirmative, and be issue driven.


And those discounting the benefit of learning under the tutelage of a sitting state senator are discounting the value of the experience in learning the ropes first hand.


We will need a highly functional delegate in 3-B, well prepared, a fighter, and ready to go from the start.


For me, the difference outweighing two good solid Republican choices was the tentativeness on the part of Mr. Jenkins to jump in to the contest, as compared to the “all-in” dedication very early on by Mr. Hough.


My guess is that the county commissioners will continue to need the services of one Charles Jenkins, especially as he has spent time learning the budget issues, and I feel that this is where his heart is.


Will the very fact that radically left leaning Democratic Maryland governor selecting endorses the ultimate delegate winner in the current process thereby taint a leading Republican in the process? Too many convolutions there for an answer.


You’d need all of the “Global Warming” simulation computers tied together to forecast that one!


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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