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Tumult in the Md. GOP

Rosalind Helderman

A member of the House of Delegates' Republican caucus has confirmed that Del. Don Dwyer (R-Anne Arundel), one of the body's most conservative members, has told fellow party members that he no longer plans to caucus with the group.

Dwyer sent colleagues an email yesterday announcing his intentions, indicating he did not wish to discuss his decision or explain his reasoning. Dwyer has been busy: Yesterday, a house committee heard testimony about his proposal to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. Today, a hearing will be held on another constitutional amendment proposed by Dwyer, which would assert "personhood" rights starting at conception in the constitution. The amendment is an anti-abortion proposal.

Annapolis blogger Judd Legum, who first reported the defection, wrote that it was the caucus' failure to take a position in support of this latter amendment that pushed Dwyer out. The Republican source, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said Dwyer sent a second email yesterday reiterating his desire to keep his reasoning private but indicating the personhood amendment was not his motivation. He also stressed that he remained a member of the party but would not attend caucus meetings.

"I wouldn't expect Don to abandon conservative principles one iota," the Republican said.

As for Dwyer, he's not talking. "I'm not discussing this issue with anybody, at any time," he said late yesterday.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 13, 2009; 7:49 AM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Rosalind Helderman  
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