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?

Pelura’s Fake Olive Branch

We told you about Jim Pelura going to the RNC, hat in hand, to beg for money. We told you about Maryland GOP Chairman Jim Pelura’s hack Andrew Langer leaking confidential information to the press. (Andrew Langer refutes it here) Now the Washington Post has Jim Pelura making an insincere offer to Republican legislators.

The Washington Post printed an e-mail/letter exchange between Pelura and House Republican leaders Tony O’Donnell and Chris Shank.

“In an e-mail last week, Pelura informed O’Donnell and Senate Minority Leader Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) that he had asked Mykel Harris, chairman of the Prince George’s GOP Central Committee, to head a commission to develop the contract. The commission, Pelura wrote, would include state and local Republican party officials, members of GOP clubs and other Republican activists.”

This is more than just a dumbfounded chairman on his last leg attempting to reach out to the people who could make or break him, this is a slippery PR ploy to make him look like Mr. Unity. How do we know? Because the legislative contract was already written by Charles Lollar – former MDGOP Tax Commission Chair and unqualified gubernatorial candidate and Pelura confidant – who posted it to his web site here:

So, Jim and Charles, and Prince George’s County Republican Chairman Mykel Harris, have already written the agenda. They just need to legitimize it thus giving inspiration to email the legislative leaders.

Their first mistake was attempting to play Del. Shank and Del. O’Donnell as a couple of novices (Tony’s taken his lumps going after bigger fish than Pelura.)

Tony and Chris wrote back that they need to take the lead, not some broken party apparatus:

” ‘The Contract with America, in 1994, was developed by experienced policymakers in the Congress under the leadership of the House Minority Whip at the time, Newt Gingrich, with assistance from many other members like Dick Armey of Texas,’ O’Donnell and Shank wrote. ‘The policymaking experience and political expertise for such an endeavor similarly exists within our joint caucus membership. … We know the policy, and we know how such policy relates to winning elections.'”

And they let Jim know they’re still not friends.

“‘We continue to have a lack of confidence in this chairman to prepare the party for statewide quadrennial elections just 15 months away. He seems to want to focus efforts into the policy arena while falling down on core fundamentals of party building activities. It is our political opinion that the state party chairman should excel at some very fundamental items before he delves into the realm of policy making. In our opinion, the chairman should be focused on improving the fundraising performance of our state party. He is still paying off debt that he has incurred years later, and we are less than five months away from being in a quadrennial statewide election year. … Maybe he hopes someone in Washington will magically send us a bailout for the Maryland GOP. How does the MDGOP criticize the Dem’s for out of control spending, a bailout mentality, or spending beyond their means, with this situation hanging out there?'”

Ouch.

*As a side note, it was this blog that first used the terms “bailout for the MDGOP” which was then picked up by Baltimore Sun and now used in an email from the GOP House Leadership.