Friday, December 2, 2011

MD GOP Chaos: Party Chair Alex Mooney Retiring to Challenge Bartlett, Leaves Party in Debt // Sen. Shank & MoCo GOP Chair Endorse Brinkley

The latest buzz in the Maryland political world has concerned a possible retirement from GOP Congressman Roscoe Bartlett. News of his Chief of Staff Bud Otis campaigning for the seat is causing a stampede of candidates into the race, including Maryland Republican Party Chair Alex Mooney. The Gazette's Sarah Breitenbach recently reported on what would happen to the State Party with Mooney's return to the campaign trail:
The GOP could see more turnover in leadership in the next few weeks if Chairman Alexander X. Mooney officially files to run for the 6th Congressional District seat....

It is against party bylaws for a chairman to actively campaign for political office, Ready said.

If Mooney officially files for the race, first Vice Chairwoman Diana Waterman would take over the party, and a special election for a new chairman would take place 60 days after that, he said.
Mooney's announcement of his exploratory committee stated a more clear departure date:
Mr. Mooney plans to officially file as a candidate for Congress in January, at which time he would step down from his position as Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party and take a leave of absence from his job running a non-profit organization which trains journalists.
Remember that Mooney only took over the Maryland GOP last year, so this is pretty soon for him to abandon his post. Not only that, when he campaigned for the position, Alex Mooney told Republican activists that he would raise $200,000 for candidates in 2011. Instead, he's leaving the party over $100,000 in debt. Breitenbach also noted:
In recent years, the state party has undergone turnovers in leadership as it struggled to overcome mounting debt.

The party has reported that it is $122,000 in the red...
Meanwhile, in another Gazette piece, the newspaper reports that Sen. Chris Shank is not running for the CD6 seat and has instead endorsed his colleague, Sen. David Brinkley:
"I am grateful for the outpouring of support for my candidacy from state elected leaders with whom I have worked over the years," Brinkley said in an emailed statement.

That list included state Sen. Chris Shank (R-Dist. 2) of Hagerstown, who was considered a potential candidate at one time, and Montgomery County Republican Central Committee Chairman Mark Uncapher, who said he supported Brinkley’s campaign as an individual but that the committee did not endorse in primaries.

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