The same forces of moderation within the Maryland Republican Party that brought us a humiliating defeast in the governor’s race in November tried and failed to continue that legacy on Saturday with the defeat of Mary Kane in her attempt to become the next GOP state chairman.

Kane was soundly defeated by former state Senator Alex Mooney who narrowly lost his reelection bid last month after 12 years in office.

Mooney whose candidacy was pushed by the conservatives within the party took a commanding lead on the first ballot and after the three lowest vote total candiadates dropped out won handily on the second ballot. 

As a first time delegate I knew Kane was in trouble when half of my county (Montgomery) which is home to Kane went for Mooney. 

The election of Mooney is a big win for conservatives who have felt that it was time to move on from the Ehrlich machine and get a fresh start for the 2012 and 2014 elections.  For Kane it kept her streak of having never won an election intact and may signal the demise of moderates at the state level.

One person who didn’ take Kane’s loss graciously was her husband John the former state party chairman under Gov. Ehrlich who told the Washington Post that the decision was “unfortunate” and a “step back to an uncompromising and uninviting environment that clearly didn’t work in the past and won’t work in the future.”

This is as opposed to the squishy middle that is willing to compromise with the liberals that control the state and sacrifice principle just to get ahead politically.

Mooney won’t have much time to rest on his laurels as a conservative state Senator that rattled the cages of the liberals for years making him a top target in every election since 1998 as he will need to find good candidates to run for Congress and Senate for 2012 and plan for statewide elections in 2014.

While the Republicans made some real gains in the eastern and western portions of the state the hard core liberal areas  still remain a serious stumbling block in the GOP’s efforts to put some balance into the state legislature.  If Mooney can make some progress in these areas he will set the party up for a much needed resurgence and mollify the moderates who eye him with suspicion.

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