Central Committee Selection Process, Part 2

Dear Central Committee Member or recent candidate,

I sent you an email on Jan 22nd warning of the pressure our central committee was under to alter our selection process and change the person we had selected for the D5 Senate seat opening in Carroll. This pressure was put directly on our Chairman who kept the source of the pressure from at least four of nine committee members.

At our Jan 22nd committee meeting the source of that pressure was revealed to be both Governor Hogan’s staff and the MDGOP. Attending our meeting were Chris Cavey, campaign staffer now Deputy Secretary of Appointments; Steven Crim, Hogan’s campaign manager now Director of Public Affairs for the Administration; and MDGOP Executive Director Joe Cluster. Chris Cavey told us that the administration was developing a process” and that they will be asking all committees to provide 3 names for each seat. We share the D4 Delegate seat with Frederick, so according to Chris Cavey they were expecting a total of 6 names for that seat (with potentially some overlap.) Chris Cavey told us that the administration would be vetting these candidates and then making the choice of which candidate the Governor wants to work with.

This is a clear violation of the intent of the Maryland Constitution. The Central Committee’s role is to be the vetting body, not the Governor. That is why providing the administration a single person’s name for a Senate or Delegate seat is important. It is our role as locals to pick a new legislator we believe will best represent local interests in the place of the locally elected member removed from the seat. The Governor cannot know each county’s best interests in the way that the central committees do.

So, on Jan 22nd , Carroll County’s Republican Central Committee relinquished its constitutional authority to the Governor. In a 5-4 vote our committee threw out the unanimously agreed upon process by which we conducted our selection and threw out the stipulations we gave to our applicants. We, in effect, threw out our by-laws which require we operate by Robert’s Rule of Order which strictly prohibits rescinding or amending decisions once they are acted upon. We threw out the selection process we had done for the D4 House seat we share with Frederick and gave 3 names, one of which did not even get a majority vote of the committee.

The four committee members who objected to this lawless behavior left the meeting as it went into closed session with Cavey, Crim and Cluster and five of the committee members to secretly make the deal to throw out our legitimate selection of Robin Frazier and give 3 names to the governor. We were never notified of the committee’s actions in that meeting and have received no minutes of the meeting to date. We received the press release that went out to our mass email list announcing our new selectees.

In response to this action, those of us who are concerned with the constitutional precedent being set for all central committees, filed a temporary restraining order against our committee and against either of the two extra names from being sworn into office, but the judge refused to act, and an hour after we filed the TRO Justin Ready was appointed to the Senate and later that evening was sworn in. Our intent was to temporarily halt the swearing in and bring this issue to court. It must be decided whether it is lawful for the central committees to send more than one name to the governor for a Senate or House seat when the Constitution clearly states a name; and if it is ruled a violation of the Constitution, then do those who are sworn in under these conditions have the lawful ability to serve.

Now we will be expected to provide the Governor with 3 names to fill the open seat vacated by Ready.

The same members who tried to bring the TRO are now asking our committee members to agree to a Consent Decree in which the Carroll County Central Committee will be bound to give one and only one name for all future Senate or House vacancies. It is a simple and honest move to bind ourselves to constitutionally correct action so that there is never any doubt about whether our representatives serve in a legitimate capacity.

On the main page of the RNC web site there are 11 Principles for American Renewal. The very first Principle states: Constitution- Our Constitution should be preserved, valued and honored.

YOUR Central Committee’s constitutional authority could be usurped in the next appointment made, and Carroll has created a troubling precedent. Central Committee members must stand together against gubernatorial overreach and support the clear language of the Constitution.

Please contact MDGOP Chairman Diana Waterman at chairman@mdgop.org and Exec. Dir. Joe Cluster at joe@mdgop.org and ask them to support local control and the constitutional role of the Central Committees. Remember, we all swore an oath to the Constitution. It is time to fulfill that oath.

Thank you,

Kathy Fuller

Carroll County Republican Central Committee

Maryland Constitution, (filling a vacancy) Article III, Legislative Department, Section 13 (a) (1) In case of death, disqualification, resignation, refusal to act, expulsion, or removal from the county or city for which he shall have been elected, of any person who shall have been chosen as a Delegate or Senator, or in case of a tie between two or more such qualified persons, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy from a person whose name shall be submitted to him in writing, within thirty days after the occurrence of the vacancy, by the Central Committee of the political party, if any, with which the Delegate or Senator, so vacating, had been affiliated, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Senator or Delegate, in the County or District from which he or she was appointed or elected, provided that the appointee shall be of the same political party, if any, as was that of the Delegate or Senator, whose office is to be filled, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Delegate or Senator, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to make said appointment within fifteen days after the submission thereof to him.

(b) In addition, and in submitting a name to the Governor to fill a vacancy in a Legislative or Delegate district, as the case may be, in any of the twenty–three counties of Maryland, the Central Committee or committees shall follow these provisions:

(1) If the vacancy occurs in a district having the same boundaries as a county, the Central Committee of the county shall submit the name of a resident of the district.

(2) If the vacancy occurs in a district which has boundaries comprising a portion of one county, the Central Committee of that county shall submit the name of a resident of the district.

Maryland Constitution, (oath of office) Article I, Elective Franchise, Section 9 Every person elected, or appointed, to any office of profit or trust, under this Constitution, or under the Laws, made pursuant thereto, shall, before he enters upon the duties of such office, take and subscribe the following oath, or affirmation: I, ……….., do swear, (or affirm, as the case may be,) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and Laws thereof; and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgment, diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of ………….., according to the Constitution and Laws of this State, (and, if a Governor, Senator, Member of the House of Delegates, or Judge,) that I will not directly or indirectly, receive the profits or any part of the profits of any other office during the term of my acting as ………………

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