The Maryland Republican Party is in a celebratory mood and with good reason after having won back the governor’s mansion after an 8-year run by Democrats and gains in the state house that gave them the highest number of state delegates in their history. They’re still in the minority by a large margin but their election showing has buoyed their hopes for the future.
That improved mood was evident at the state party convention this past weekend at the Turf Valley hotel and conference center in Howard County which was attended by approximately 300 delegates and guests as they basked in the November victories and elected party officers for a two-year term.
While there were a few contested races, there was a glitch in the voting during one of the contests when the complex formula used to calculate votes failed.
I say complex because three years ago delegates narrowly voted to approve a formula based on how the counties voted for the gubernatorial candidate. The net effect was to reward the more Republican areas of the state with more weighted votes at the expense of heavily Democratic counties. In essence they the out the one-man, one-vote principle and made it impossible for anyone trying to simply count votes to see how their candidate was doing.
There are 303 central committee members that are eligible to vote in a state party election. Thanks to the convoluted formula, there are 540 point something total possible votes.
When the formula failed state party chairman Diana Waterman was left in a lurch as the person who devised the formula had left the convention and another person who could have helped couldn’t be found. They eventually fixed the problem and voting continued, but if one-man, one vote (what a concept!) had been in place as it should have been , this problem never would have occurred.
Many of those running for office this past weekend professed their support of the return to this simpler and more logical method, but delegates have heard this before with no action being taken.
The Republican Party is on the upswing in Maryland, but this issue divides many central committees and creates rifts that will prevent the party from moving forward in a big way. It’s not easy being a Republican in a heavily Democratic state, but the ill will among various central committees threatens to stall further progress and the state party hierarchy needs to get their heads out of the sand an fix this if they want to move forward as a unified party.