Maryland GOP prepares to elect new chairman as Cavey drops out and Scott becomes frontrunner
The race to replace outgoing Maryland GOP Chairman James Pelura narrowed Tuesday when Chris Cavey of Baltimore County, the party's first vice chairman, announced that he is withdrawing his name.
The beleaguered party plans to select a new chairman at its convention next month. With Cavey dropping out, that paves the way for Audrey Scott, a member of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich's cabinet. Scott and Cavey had been travelling around the state to talk to local GOP groups, said Mark Uncapher, who is chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party and heading the chairman nominating committee.
Cavey said in an e-mail that quickly bounced around the blogosphere that he felt party unity was paramount as Republicans see a major opportunity to make gains in next year’s election.
“Roughly fifty-three weeks from today is the 2010 General Election, we need to be unified, in full blown campaign mode and not bickering about the past,” Cavey wrote. “The current race for Chairman is very close and I fear the effects of a close race will only further serve to divide us as a party.
The GOP has been beset by infighting and financial problems that culminated with Pelura’s resignation. State lawmakers have clashed with Pelura, saying he fell short on party-building activities including voter registration and that he hurt party morale by criticizing elected Republicans. Separately, under an agreement with the State Board of Elections, the party must repay $75,000 owed to former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's campaign account. That makes a dent in any fundraising.
Meanwhile, another candidate for party chairman, Daniel Vovak, remains in the race, though party insiders say Scott is the top choice. And Vovak, who calls himself "The Whig Man" doesn’t appear to shy away from making waves. He called Tuesday for Uncapher's resignation from the nominating committee, saying he should remain neutral but is backing Scott.
Scott has had a long political career, serving as mayor of Bowie for six years until 1982 before working at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for a decade. She then won a seat on the Prince George’s County Council where she served until 2002.