After I was the first to write about Delegate Rick Impallaria engineering HB 1513 – emergency legislation that would seemingly let him control the Harford County Central Committee no matter who wins the elections in June – there was swift reaction and response online, mainly from those who oppose it.
Delegate Kelly Schulz made this statement on a Frederick County GOP Facebook group:
It is a very late filed bill. I have a feeling it may be a bill to send a message as opposed to an expectation of passing. I am sure there is a story….but, as a former CC member, I would never support this.
Here’s an emailed response from Impallaria that seems to be just digging him into a deeper hole as far as those who oppose this bill are concerned:
Thank you for your concern about HB 1513. Unfortunately, someone has misinformed you about the purpose of the bill.
First, the bill does not make the Republican members of the House voting members of the Harford County Central Committee (HCCC). The bill provides that, if there is a vacancy on the HCCC for any reason, the Republican members of the Harford County Delegation will vote along with the HCCC members on the replacement. The last time a replacement was made on the HCCC, that replacement was made not by someone on the CC or the Delegation, but by someone who lived in West Virginia. That person was not a resident or a registered voter in Harford County. By making this change, that unacceptable action will never occur again in the HCCC.
Second, in past years there have been attempts to remove members of the HCCC. If the HCCC believes that a member should be removed, they’d better have clear and convincing evidence. By this bill, before removing a member they will have to have a majority vote of the HCCC members and the elected officials.
To speak of “stacking” the Committee is just silly. As it stands right now, if any of the elected officials wanted to run for both offices, they could. But we all believe that the CC should be a building block to allow new people to experience public service as it related to the Republican Party.
Finally, the reason this is an emergency bill is that the election date has been moved back to June, creating a lame-duck CC for as much as 7-8 months. Knowing that, after the primary, many people, feeling that their good work has been completed, will decide to leave the CC, it is vitally important that we fill those positions quickly to support and promote the Republican candidates for office.
Chair, Harford County Delegation
I also saw posts by people online who called Impallaria’s office yesterday and the responses (apparently from earlier yesterday) ranged from not knowing anything about the bill to (later in the day) blaming the opposition and criticism on “liberal” groups. Whoever was answering the phone must not have been a poli sci major or otherwise was ignorant of Republican party politics and “libertarian”-leaning groups in the MD GOP. Unless of course, the person knew better and the “liberal” label was meant intentionally as deception.
Also yesterday, Joe Steffen wrote about the bill:
One of my own sources also told me that Impallaria was trying to be a Kingmaker. Seriously, Rick? What the Hell, man? I remember when you first ran in your frumpy suits and even frumpier language – back when you used to stand for something other than your own self-aggrandizement and power. Remember those days, King Rick? Do you? Do you…? So, now you want to be a Delegate AND a Central Committee member?
What all this boils down to, ultimately is that, in the words of Conservative activist Tonya Watson Tiffany, “The Harford Co. Delegation put in an emergency bill to have themselves named the Republican Central Committee…. I looked up the candidate list thinking that maybe no one had filed….. 32 people have filed. A very strong showing of Campaign for Liberty people among them. I will let you make your own conclusions.”
Lastly, one of my sources from last night, Greg Johnson, a political activist and Harford County resident – not to mention one of the most principled men I’ve met in 30 plus years in this business had this to say about what took place last night:
“They are literally subverting the voters of Harford County and declaring themselves de facto members of the Central Committee with the full powers of removal from office members who were duly elected.”
That’s right, ladies and gents. Harford County’s delegation has reserved the right to remove from office central committee members who were duly elected and replace them with…themselves. How positively Obama-esque!
Michael Swartz, a Central Committee member in Wicomico County, also weighed in last night:
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t surprise me if this bill passes, even if it does so on just Democratic votes (which is very possible.) And I’m not sure what sort of legal challenge could be made to it, aside from perhaps the fact they would be adding non-residents to the Central Committee – but it could be argued as well that they were voted in by the people of Harford County, too. And if it does, look for a lot of copycat bills in the coming years as the legislative branch consolidates power.
To this I say not just no, but “hell no!” They won’t let us come vote in the General Assembly on bills, so why should they have the right to vote on our Central Committee?
Is this just an attempt to send a message, or does Impallaria really think this bill will pass?
Either way, I would not be surprised if this results in a more robust campaign against Impallaria in June, since there are five Republicans running in his House District (including him and his colleagues Pat McDonough and Kathy Szeliga who apparently assented to this bill also.)
It could make for an interesting primary for the House of Delegates in District 7.