State GOP Chairman Says He's Staying Put
Maryland GOP Chairman James Pelura, who largely avoided the media as fellow party leaders considered ousting him last month, surfaced today, sounding feisty and determined to stay the course.
"I'm not resigning," Pelura said in an interview. "I'm not going to be distracted by this. People need to move on.
The "this" that Pelura referenced was a 20-10 no-confidence vote from the party's executive committee three Saturdays ago, and calls before and after for him to resign as chairman.
Pelura acknowledged that the party continues to struggle financially but said that
it is dealing with the same challenges as many nonprofit groups and other out-of-power political parties in a sour economy.
"It's tough when you don't have a lot of elected officials to offer your donors access to," he added.
Pelura also was unapologetic about one of the biggest complaints leveled at him by GOP legislators: that he is too focused on policy issues at the expense of the more fundamental tasks of raising money and registering voters.
"I don't have any regrets," Pelura said. "The party that is out of power has to constantly promote an alternative agenda. My view of the party is it should be the voice of Republicans in the state. ... When you don't have a governor, the chairman of the party is the spokesman."
Pelura said he has heard no recent talk of other party leaders calling a special convention, which would be necessary to vote him out of office. The Anne Arundel County veterinarian said he is confident that he will have the votes to hold the chairman post until November, when the next party convention is scheduled.
Pelura said he considers the party's prospects to be very good heading into next year's elections, suggesting voters are angry at Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Pelura also cited Charles Lollar, chairman of the Charles County GOP Executive Committee, as a particularly strong candidate against House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Lollar had been considering a bid for governor but shifted his focus.
August 4, 2009; 5:14 PM ET
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