New Episode of “As Republicans Burn”

Over the last two days we have received 3 emails about a recent event so today’s post is a new episode in a series we have affectionately titled “As Republicans Burn.”

In last week’s episode, we reported about legislative leaders rejecting Pelura’s fake olive branch. Two weeks ago, the conversation was on “Will the RNC Bailout the MDGOP.” This week the saga continues. (Nothing would bring more joy than for this soap opera to end, but sadly Republicans keep doing blogworthy things.)

See, Minority Leader Delegate Tony O’Donnell (who represents Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties) showed up unannounced to a St. Mary’s County GOP Central Committee meeting and proceeded to chew out the group for not voting to remove embattled GOP Chairman Jim Pelura.

That prompted this blast from Mike Phillips, a minister and potential candidate for delegate in district 28. Mike’s email was posted on the official Charles County Republican Central Committee Blog:

In a recent St. Mary’s GOP Central Committee meeting, Delegate Tony O’Donnell showed up unannounced in the public forum of their meeting and proceeded to berate the committee members for supporting their Party and its elected Chairman Jim Pelura. He stated the committee as much as “stabbed me in the eye” for supporting Jim Pelura. He was stated to be “red faced” and came across as angry. The St. Mary’s County Central Committee is in the process of formulating an official response to the Delegate’s inappropriate actions. These types of activities by our elected officials are continuing to drive the wedge of division within the MDGOP. Support Pelura or not, but focus on your own work and stay out of Party business, that is the MDGOP’s role and Jim was duly elected by the convention. My advice to Tony: Put up for Republican values or shut up, but work toward party unity not deepening the divide.

Mike Phillips

It is clear the House of Delegates Republican leadership has had enough.  Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell is passionate about increasing the number of Republicans in the General Assembly and it is no surprise the conversation over the MDGOP would get heated.

Minority Leader Tony O’Donnell has every right to berate the St. Mary’s GOP Central Committee who recently joined only 9 other members of the Executive Committee in supporting Jim Pelura during a 20-10 no confidence vote.

Delegate O’Donnell is in a tough position. He has the responsibility to not only lead the current Republican Delegates, but also to do everything he can to increase the number of Republican members in the next election. Not sure everyone on the opposite side of O’Donnell’s shares the same goal.

The state party is getting trounced in voter registration, still in debt with little signs of fundraising success on the horizon, and practically no presence in the media pushing any message.

Moral of the story is that Tony O’Donnell has had enough and he has decided that for the party to actually win something, he needs to fight. The fire in Tony’s belly to move the party forward is exactly what Republicans need right now.

The irony in Mike’s email is that Mike takes Delegate O’Donnell to task for deepening the wounds in the party and yet his email being posted on an official central committee blog only deepens the division. Is it appropriate for a Central Committee to criticize a sitting member of its own party publicly? No. A side note – Delegate O’Donnell does not even represent Charles County and this was a St.Mary’s GOP local issue so why is Charles County GOP getting involved?

Mike Phillips is a Lollar Loyalist. Charles Lollar is Chairman of the Charles County Central Committee whose official blog posted this email. Charles Lollar is running for Congress against Steny Hoyer. You would think he would need help from elected officials for his campaign especially ones like Delegate O’Donnell who represent parts of the district. Elected officials know party activists, donors, and the press – all crucial resources for a first time congressional candidate especially in a long shot race.

Instead of trying to bridge the deep wounds in the state party it appears as though Lollar and his loyalists are deepening the wounds in the party. This is no way to win an election and this is definitely not a sign of leadership.

Democrats are laughing at the Republican Party in Maryland. 2010 is shaping up to be a year where Republicans have a strong wind at their back and could make gains equal to 1994. With all of the divisions in the Republican Party in Maryland, Republicans will not be able to maximize their potential in 2010.

As a side note, GA Harrison of Delmarva Dealings and RedMaryland, finally called for Jim Pelura to be fired. GA makes a solid case “How about a contract on Jim Pelura?

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3 Responses

  1. A couple of things wrong with your statement sir.

    My blog in now should have any reflection on the Charles County Central Committee, although they wholeheartedly and unanimously (as I understand) support the elected chairman. The Charles Co. Sentral committee always requests entries, my comments were just an entry, and I might add, I was brave enough to put my real name to it as opposed to this blog.

    My agenda is simple and pure (possibly naïve) unity is not won by the actions of Tony O’Donnell with St. Mary’s Co. Especially in the tone in which he came. Unity is won by working with what you have – weather you like it or not, certainly, Jim isn’t going anywhere voluntarily, so the legislators need to work with what they have to work with.

    The only ones actively working to divide here are the elected officials. And where you are mistaken on the second part, what would ever make anyone would think that because Tony is an elected official, he has a Responsibility to be anything but congenial. Elected officials are to be held accountable to the voters, not the other way around. It was that central committee in St. Mary’s Co. Who elected McCain and Bailey – oh – Tony O’Donnell in 2006 when the rest of the state couldn’t pull it out of their six for a GOP win.

    And yes, I do support Charles Lollar. He is a true conservative, fiscally as well as socially. While all his supporters sank a bit when he couldn’t run for Governor, he is still what our party needs in MD as well as in Congress, should he run. He serves our country in the Marine Corp, as a businessman, and as a worthy politician of good Character, which we clearly need more of.

    • Mike,

      Let us respond to your comment paragraph by paragraph:

      1. The blog we cited http://rightcupoftea.wordpress.com/about/ has this on the bottom of the About page “By authority: Charles County Republican Central Committee, Stacy Dennis, Treasurer” thus implying the Charles County GOP endorses your comments. Does the Charles County GOP disagree with your statements?

      2. You make a good argument here about your thoughts on how unity can be achieved. The problem the legislators face is that Jim in leadership is unacceptable because of his complete failure as a chairman. They argue that sometimes you have to cut off the dead weight before you can become stronger. Cutting off the dead weight will not help with unity in the short-term, but could bring unity in the long-term. Unity here is probably not an option so the question is, how does the GOP position itself to be the strongest going into 2010.

      3. Think you are wrong that elected officials are the only ones doing the dividing here. Jim was the person who publicly criticized Republican elected officials, tried to impose his policy positions on them, and was inappropriate in his “fake olive branch” we talked about last week.

      4. Your comments on Charles is one persons opinion. He does have a very bright future if he makes good decisions. He possesses many strong qualities. The thoughts I tried to articulate is 1. that it was inappropriate for the Charles GOP he chairs to put an item critical of a Republican legislator on their blog especially one that doesn’t even represent their county and 2. that it probably isn’t in his own best interest to stand against legislators who help he will need to beat Hoyer.

      Thanks for reading and posting. You are free to email us at marylandpoliticsblog @ gmail . com if you want to continue this discussion off of the comments section.

  2. Thank you for the invitation to further this discussion privately, but I only debate with people that I know who I’m speaking to, not hiding in the shadows of psuedo-names.

    To the point on Unity: Unity can be attained between those who are supposed to be on the same team. Therein lies the rub and the question at hand – are we actually talking about players who are on the same team? If so, unity should be the goal, not “cut the dead weight” there is no dead weight when we are all pulling for the same end goal. Now, if seeing former Governor Ehrlic step back into a gubernatorial race is the end-goal for some, it’s certainly not for the entire party, as proven in 2006 when GOP’s couldn’t “pull the lever” for him. If that is the case here – and I’m merely postulating – then we will live with division for quite some time, at least until another Chairman is elected by the convention.

    In short, determine the goal and unite behind it if it is a goal that is worthy of unifying behind. The leadership issues can be resolved if both sides are willing to get behind the same goals.

    Also, If I may add to my comments in the former post, the Charles County Central Committee had nothing to do with my post, I stand on my own words. They have neither supported nor rejected the blog. A Republican volunteer in our county manages the blog for them and I seriously doubt any of the Central Committee Members had even read the post. So to say they agree or support my comments is simply an overreach or misunderstanding of how things operate in Charles County’s GOP Central Committee. I don’t know if they agree with me or not.

    As to needing Delegate O’Donnells assistance for my campaign, he has offered it early on when I first announced, but I have yet to see any fulfillment of his offer (prior to my comments). I do have other Delegates graciously offering their assistance. Thank you for your concern regarding my campaign.

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