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Posted at 5:59 PM ET, 01/18/2011

UPDATED: Md. GOP chair urges Kittleman not to resign as Senate minority leader

By John Wagner

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Kittleman.jpgMaryland Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Howard) announced Tuesday that will step down as minority leader because it has become apparent that his colleagues do not want a "social moderate" leading the caucus.

The move comes two weeks after Kittleman announced he will sponsor a bill allowing civil unions in Maryland for both heterosexual and same-sex partners.

"It is more important for me to stay true to my principles than it is for me to be the Minority Leader," Kittleman said in a statement.

He said he made his decision after meeting with the other 11 GOP senators in the 47-member Senate.

"It was apparent that the majority of the caucus members do not want a fiscal conservative who is also a social moderate as the leader of the caucus," Kittleman said.

Kittleman has been minority leader for two years. He was previously minority whip, the No. 2 position among Republicans. He will officially step down once a new leader is selected.

Hours after Kittleman's surprising announcement Tuesday, state Republican Party Chairman Alex X. Mooney urged him to reconsider.

Mooney, an outspoken conservative and former senator, said he had called Kittleman personally, and encouraged other senators and grass-roots party members to publicly show support for Kittleman's continued leadership.

In a media statement, Mooney praised Kittleman's record and campaign efforts on behalf of other candidates "without requiring any litmus test on issues."

"While Republicans in elected office and Republican voters at the grass-roots level will not agree on every issue," Mooney said in the statement, Kittleman's overall record fits "well within the values of the Republican Party."

This post has been updated since it was first published.

By John Wagner  | January 18, 2011; 5:59 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly, John Wagner  
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The teabaggers claim another decent man as a victim. How sad.

Posted by: Observer691 | January 18, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The more right wing they get, the less likely they'll ever capture the legislature or the executive office. If the Republicans had nominated moderate and practical Helen Bentley instead of the extremely conservative Ellen (sourgrapes) Sauerbrey, the Republicans would have beaten Paris Glendenning. Even my Republican dad voted for Paris instead of Sauerbrey! When will the Republicans learn?

Posted by: commonsense101 | January 18, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

The Stalinesque purges begin. The GOP eats their young, and keep shrinking the tent. It will be a pup-tent soon.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 18, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

can you hear the dueling banjos?

Posted by: SofaKingCool2009 | January 18, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This makes sense. What didn't make sense was having a Republican leader who was more in line with Democrats on some issues greatly important to most of the State's Republicans -- namely, abortion and gay marriage. (Or "civil unions," which is a wimpy way out of telling the public where you really stand on gay marriage.) Maryland is already pretty much a one-party state. Shouldn't the leaders of the minority party differentiate themselves from the majority party?

Posted by: Marylander11 | January 18, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Observer thinks he should have some say in who leads the other party.

How about if the democratic leaders get chosen by the Republicans?

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Go ahead, Republicans, move farther to the right. We can barely hear you anymore.

Posted by: pundito | January 18, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

This idiot illustrates why there is an evil party and a stupid party in Maryland.

Guess which one is the stupid party?

The problem I have with Kittleman is that he went door to door campaigning for that moron Brian Murphy this summer.

Obviously, he has little common sense and exercises pathetic choices when supporting causes or candidates.

Posted by: politicalregister | January 20, 2011 8:39 AM | Report abuse

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