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August 11, 2011

Conservative flank of House GOP caucus might challenge leadership

Maryland delegates Nic Kipke and Michael Smigiel may take on the current House GOP leadership, a shift that would move the caucus to the right.

Kipke said in an interview that he's been approached by several House Republicans and asked to challenge current Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell. However, Kipke said that he -- and other members of the GOP -- are now "evaluating" what the next steps could be. The news was first reported on the blog Red Maryland.

Kipke said that he's keen to avoid a nasty leadership fight, and believes that some arrangement will be made with O'Donnell. O'Donnell could not be reached immediately.
Maryland's Republicans picked up at net of six new seats in House of Delegates last year. There are 43 members in the House GOP caucus and 16 of them are freshman.

"There is a lot of young blood in the caucus," Kipke said, adding that many members are finding innovate new ways of communicating with the diaspora of Republicans in Maryland, a deep blue state.

Exhibit A is Del. Neil Parrott, a freshman GOP lawmaker who spearheaded a challenge to the MD Dream Act. Parrott used his own money to launch a repeal effort and he created signature-gathering campaign that drew over 100,000. The law is poised to be the first in a generation to be put on the ballot.

His efforts drew no financial contributions from the GOP leadership.

Kipke said the success of Parrott's efforts has energized the GOP base, who want to be more involved in the party. Kipke believes he can find ways of bringing their voices into the debate.

Smigiel, who founded the House Tea Party Caucus, said in an interview that he wants to see the party focus more on fiscal discipline. He noted that current Minority Whip, Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, asked the House Speaker for money to fund pet projects even though she publicly criticized the practice of making such requests.

"You lose the message in the hypocrisy," Smigiel said.
Posted by Annie Linskey at 3:42 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Republicans
        

Comments

Just what we need.
When we have a serious chance to possibly make some progress in the legislature, we will start some stupid new in-fighting. I hope these clowns don't wonder why they are the minority party.

If the GOP wants to contribute in a meaningful way to the political scene in MD, they need to get their act together and stop all this in-fighting.

Either that, or admit that there are now two types of conservatives: those that pretend to be but still spend like they're liberals, and those that actually care about cutting spending, increasing personal/business freedom, and lowering taxes.

When you are totally irrelevant, who cares how far to the fringe you go? They could all dress up as Musolini and be taken just as seriously as they are today. Sad but true. Hillbilly conservatism is going nowhere in Maryland.

The only reason that Del. Smigiel is going after Del. Haddaway-Riccio is because she beat him this year for minority whip. The rest of the party thought she would be-- and she is-- a more rational spokesperson for Republicans. The last thing the party needs is the ego-centric, full of hot air blathering of Smigiel to represent Republicans. If he wants to shoot his big mouth off, as he always does, let him do it as his own spokesman, not a representative of all Republicans. We have enough problems as it is without a fool like Smigiel making the rest of us look as foolish as he does.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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