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Rival blasts Md. GOP for backing Ehrlich

John Wagner

Brian Murphy, a long-shot Republican candidate for governor of Maryland, is crying foul over a procedural move that effectively throws the support of the state and national GOP behind former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) months before the primary takes place.

Under what is known as Rule No. 11, the Republican National Committee will not "contribute money or in-kind aid to any candidate" in a contested primary unless authorized by RNC members from that state. Maryland Republican Party Chairwoman Audrey Scott and the two other RNC members from Maryland recently approved such a move for Ehrlich.

"This is exactly the type of elitist behavior that is infuriating Americans from both parties," said Murphy, a business investor from Montgomery County, who has cast himself as more conservative alternative to the former governor. "Maryland Republicans should be allowed an honest primary between two very different Republican candidates. ... Ehrlich and I disagree on nearly everything, and all I'm asking for is an open debate on the issues."

Scott said the move was warranted, in part because of the proximity of Maryland's September primaries to the November general election.

"It is essential we begin building a comprehensive field program now in order to win in November," Scott said. "There is an overwhelming consensus among the party that Bob Ehrlich can win the governor's mansion in November, giving Maryland the best opportunity to get its fiscal house in order and return jobs to the state."

Scott and other Maryland party officials said any forthcoming money from the RNC would be used to benefit candidates up and down the GOP ticket -- and not Ehrlich alone.

Murphy took issue with Scott's assessment that Ehrlich would be best-positioned to defeat Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) in November.

"The national mood is anti-big government, anti-tax and spend, and anti-incumbent," Murphy said. "So what does the Maryland GOP do? They back someone who has a record of being pro-big government, pro-taxes and pro-spending. Are they tone deaf? Do they not sense the mood of the country? If there has ever been a time for a fiscal conservative to win in Maryland, this is it."

By John Wagner  |  May 19, 2010; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Elections , John Wagner , Republican Party  
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I was the Chair of the Maryland Delegation to the Republican National Convention where these rules were adopted. Rule 11 troubles me, because it concentrates so much power in the hands of so few, as does the nominating process, which gives too much of a roll in selecting our nominee to a few states with open primaries or caucuses. For those reasons, I voted against the adoption of the Rules Committee Report from the floor. I would also like to suggest that in the future, Rule 11 only be waived after consultation with,and approval of, the members of the party Central Committee at a regularly scheduled convention. I have attended party nominating conventions in neighboring states and believe the party would gain strength from a more open, inclusive and transparent process.

Posted by: DonMurphy | May 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

This brings a new light to my donations to RNC. I question Ms. Scotts comment "There is an overwhelming consensus among the party that Bob Ehrlich can win the governor's mansion in November.." That is not what I hear from my friends and collegues. Since Mr. Ehrlich lost to Mr. O'Malley why would we think he could win a second election.
If money is going to one canidate during the primary it should be going to both. I think Mr. Murphy has solid ideas and plans and deserves to be heard and that can only happen on a level playing field. That means the Maryland GOP treating each canidate equally and listening to the VOTERS not the Maryland Republican elite.

Listen up Maryland Republican "leaders"!!!

Posted by: GhostRider12 | May 21, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

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