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Steele Urges GOP to Get Back to Work

Former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele sought to rally the Republican troops at a party convention over the weekend, declaring that "the sulking, the moping, the wailing and gnashing of teeth is over."

Steele spoke to about 200 party activists gathered in Annapolis on Saturday about the party's future in the wake of his loss for U.S. Senate and the defeat of former Republican governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

Steele compared the "devastating election" to that of 1998, when GOP gubernatorial nominee Ellen R. Sauerbrey lost for the second time to then-Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D). Sauerbrey had been touted as the party's best hope in a generation to capture the governorship.

The party managed to pull itself together, Steele said, and four years later, he and Ehrlich were elected.
"This is a 1998 moment for us," Steele said. "Over the next four years, we went from a party in the desert to a party in power."

Steele said history could repeat itself if activists work hard enough.

"We have to roll up our sleeves. We have to work hard," Steele said. "We need to begin now to build this farm team and train and go back at it."

Those sentiments were shared by James Pelura, the new state GOP chairman, who acknowledged that the first months of his tenure has included "some bumps in the road."

The party's fundraising has fallen off dramatically compared to this time four years ago, he acknowledged, and it has taken out a $100,000 line of credit to continue operations. But Pelura cited several signs of hope, including an uptick in money coming in small donors.

"People were bummed out for a period of time, but now we've said the grieving period is over, and let's get back to work," Pelura said in an interview. With Ehrlich, he said, "we had a taste. We realized that Republican philosophy can sell in Maryland."

By John Wagner  |  May 21, 2007; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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Comments

"Dessert" is what comes after dinner. I think you meant "desert."

Posted by: Editor | May 21, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Raising state property taxes, flush taxes and car fees is not the way to go. Democrats are about to backhand the people who put them in office by raising the state income and sales taxes, giving every Marylander a tax increase eveery day. Making Maryland the first state ever to CUT the state sales tax would get the attention of entrepreneurs and would give our state a shot in the arm. Join our crusade to CUT the state sales tax!

Posted by: Robin Ficker | May 21, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Republicans will be lucky if they ever regain any traction in this state. The best they can do is haveposters on here complain about the Democrats. Keep on whinin!

Posted by: InMoCo | May 21, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, so many Republicans will be shifting to out of state addresses so that the Democrats can enjoy the fruits of all their tax increases directly that it will effect the voter balance for a while to come.

And who will the O'Malleites blame for the increasing deficits over the coming years? Bashing Bob Ehrlich is going to run out of steam right quick.

Posted by: Rufus | May 21, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"And who will the O'Malleites blame for the increasing deficits over the coming years?"

Dufus Rufus O'Malley has never blamed anyone for anything. He takes full responsibility for all of this successes all the time. And he takes none of the blame for any failures because those are all somebody else's fault. O'Malley is a saint doing God's work, just ask him.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"And who will the O'Malleites blame for the increasing deficits over the coming years?"

Dufus Rufus O'Malley has never blamed anyone for anything. He takes full responsibility for all of this successes all the time. And he takes none of the blame for any failures because those are all somebody else's fault. O'Malley is a saint doing God's work, just ask him.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 21, 2007 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I wish I had something relevant to say.

Posted by: Count Bobulescu | May 22, 2007 1:03 AM | Report abuse

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