Notes from the 2013 MD GOP Fall Convention, Part II


Be sure to read an important update on Ryan Miner from April 2014.

For more on the fall convention over the weekend, read Part I of my notes.

As the business of the convention started just after noon Saturday, there were several speakers. Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman told her personal story, which I had never heard before. She talked about growing up in Baltimore City, dropping out of high school, and dropping out of college. She then talked about starting her own business and being so successful at it that she was later asked to enter the MBA program at Loyola despite not having an undergraduate degree. Also speaking was Annapolis Mayor-Elect Mike Pantelides, who received a standing ovation.

Senator David Brinkley spoke on the situation in Annapolis and the business climate in Maryland. I tweeted one line that stood out to me from his speech:

National Committeewoman Nicolee Ambrose talked at length about Super Saturdays and the party’s training programs. Her remarks were well-received by convention-goers.

At his first convention on the job, Executive Director Joe Cluster gave a very detailed assessment of next year’s legislative and county council races county by county and district by district. It was a good overview of the situation on the ground. However, I did have someone point out to me that when it came to District 30, Cluster said that a good candidate would have to be found to defeat Sen. John Astle. I knew there was already a Republican candidate – Eric Knowles – in that race. I asked Cluster for clarification today on those remarks and received the following response:

Eric is a good candidate. I need to find the best people to run in every race. Eric will be a good candidate for the party if he is our nominee.

He went on to tell me that he didn’t mean to imply that Knowles wasn’t a good candidate – he was just saying that defeating Astle will require one.

The business of the meeting consisted of John Fiastro’s resolution (in a form amended from the one I originally reported Friday) and some other resolutions. Fiastro’s resolution failed, as did another one. There was an attempt by Frederick County to open the floor to new resolutions that failed and then there was a motion to adjourn that resulted in a roll call vote before the convention adjourned.

I heard from witnesses that things got heated in the hallway outside afterward between Don Murphy and Del. Mike Smigiel, apparently over Smigiel’s opposition to the Fiastro resolution. I also noticed things get heated multiple times during the day between Matthew Adams and Brian Griffiths of Red Maryland.

I also heard grumbling in the hall by a couple of people I didn’t know about Chairman Diana Waterman not being able to run a meeting well. Things had gotten heated and chaotic at times during the debate on resolutions. Of course, in my opinion there are some people who need a refresher on parliamentary procedure and some who apparently never had any instruction in it before. Del. Smigiel seemingly agreed with me on that sentiment and, as former House parliamentarian, said he could teach it.

I had a very nice conversation with Ryan Miner Saturday afternoon. Miner agreed based on a tweet he made today:

I also met Charles Lollar, his wife Rosha, and campaign manager Karen Winterling at breakfast Saturday morning. Pleasantries were exchanged. The Lollars were very nice while Winterling made a crack about introducing herself to me because of all I’d written about her (not as much as I could have, honestly.)

Other notes:

  • Multiple candidates were at the convention. As far as gubernatorial candidates go, Ron George was there Friday night and early Saturday morning. Charles Lollar was there for breakfast Saturday morning. William Campbell, candidate for Comptroller was there as well. Congressional candidate Dan Bongino was there later in the day Saturday.
  • Lollar’s campaign rented a table at the convention and they had people there Friday night as well as Saturday. Lollar himself didn’t make it until Saturday for breakfast because he was in Arizona. He did speak at the breakfast but he could have had a much bigger impact being there later in the day Saturday or being there Friday night. The Lollar campaign did not have a hospitality suite.
  • The Craig campaign had a hospitality suite that was pretty crowded when I was there. While David Craig was in Arizona, just like Lollar, he didn’t ever make it to the convention. His running mate, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, was there.
  • The George campaign had a hospitality suite as well.
  • I had nothing to compare it to since this was my first MD GOP convention but things seemed to be relatively well run. The Maryland GOP, especially new executive director Joe Cluster, was very blogger friendly – especially compared to the last convention. The only suggestion I have besides giving people in the counties some parliamentary procedure training would be to fix the resolutions process if possible.
  • Michael Swartz and Red Maryland both blogged about events at the convention.
  • Media members I recognized there throughout the weekend included Michael Dresser of the Sun, Len Lazarick of Maryland Reporter, and John Wagner of the Washington Post.
Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton