Dear Fellow Maryland Republican:
Two years ago Maryland Republicans failed to run a candidate for Attorney General. This might be considered ancient history, except now Audrey Scott wants to become National Committeewoman on the strength of her performance as State Chairman.
So what happened? Here is the background: At the very last minute, on the candidate filing deadline of July 6 2010, the candidate the Republican State party had expected to enter the Attorney General race, failed to do so.
Having been chair of my own county’s Candidate Recruitment Committee, I know sometimes prospective candidates get cold feet at the last minute. Fortunately the state election laws give political parties a 15 day grace period to designate a candidate if none has filed.
While I had previously declined to run for Attorney General, I was willing to do so after no other candidate came forward. Before going to work in the Reagan Justice Department, I was one of the prosecutors in the “Son of Sam” case in New York City. Over the years I have run several times for Montgomery County State’s Attorney. I have also been a frequent contributor on CBS News on criminal justice issues. In 2007 and 2008 I was the chair of the Maryland McCain for President primary campaign and later in 2008 interim Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.
My availability was communicated to the State Party within 48 hours of the filing deadline.
At first nothing happened. Most importantly the State Party failed to issue the required ten day notice for an Executive Committee meeting to be held in order to designate a candidate. Then, news accounts began focusing on the state party’s failure to field a candidate.
Here is where the story begins to get murkier.
The State Party told the Gazette that “one” county chairman failed to waive the meeting notice requirement. Ryan Mahoney, the GOP’s political director told the Gazette. “As the state party is concerned, we did everything in our power to get somebody on the ballot.” He told the paper that party bylaws require executive committee meetings to be announced at least 10 days beforehand, but that the rule can be waived with the unanimous consent of all 24 local central committee chairs.
In the same story Audrey Scott said: “I very much wanted to have a candidate on the ballot, but I have to defer to the process and the procedure, and I understand entirely if someone did not think waiving the rules was appropriate. It’s their right. I’m not going to deny someone their opinion in that kind of situation.”
To the Baltimore Sun, Audrey called Gansler “one lucky guy.”  She said that party paperwork prevented her from being able to put his name forward. The Sun further commented that “The failure of the GOP to field a candidate was striking, given Gansler’s vocal support for gay marriage, a position which has put him to the left of many Maryland Democrats.”
Now the story gets even stranger.
No County Chairman has ever come forward to say they blocked or objected to the meeting. In fact, no County Chairman remembers even getting an email, phone call or other notice requesting a special Executive Committee meeting. At the next Executive Committee meeting, in August 2010, Audrey Scott was expressly asked to reveal who objected to holding the designation meeting. She declined to do so, citing the person’s “confidentiality.”
Audrey’s grant of “confidentiality” is extraordinary, since she was under no obligation to protect the person from public disclosure.
Since 2010, there has been no end of finger pointing. Some suggest, without any evidence, that the Ehrlich campaign “reached an accommodation” with Doug Gansler that he could run opposed. The Ehrlich campaign sources categorically deny this.
Some have even pointed the finger at then Baltimore County Chairman Chris Cavey, who at the time was also working for the Ehrlich campaign. In fairness to Chris, though, he says he was never even contacted by the state party about a possible designation meeting and I believe him.
Now that Audrey Scott wants to be National Committeewoman, she must finally end the mystery.
- If Audrey really wanted an Attorney General candidate to run, why didn’t she call a designation meeting in a timely manner?
- If a County Chair blocked the meeting, why didn’t she use the threat of public exposure to encourage the objector to relent and let the meeting go forward?
- And, if someone else really did block the designation meeting, shouldn’t Audrey reveal who they are now?
- If instead Audrey herself blocked an Attorney General candidate from running, shouldn’t she finally admit it and publicly explain her reasons?
Bottom line: No County Chairmen has ever said they were opposed to a meeting to designate a candidate. Audrey Scott either needs to say who it was or else take direct, personal responsibility for the failure of the Maryland Republican Party to field an Attorney General candidate in 2010. If she is will not do this, she should not be National Committeewoman.