Governor's Board of Elections Picks Rankle County GOP
County party chairman says central committee is "amazed, but not surprised, by this action of a governor who would put party over fair play."
The selection of two Republicans to serve on the Baltimore County Board of Elections has rankled county Republican Party officials who say Gov. Martin O'Malley ignored the wishes of the local party.
“Unfortunately, this was not an April Fools prank, it is business as usual in the State of Maryland,” Tony Campbell, county Republican Central Committee chairman, wrote in a statement released Friday. “The unbridled partisanship of this decision is a clear example of the folly of one party government in Maryland. The fact that Governor O’Malley made this explicit decision of a board that is two to one Democrat shows the level of contempt he has for the voters in Baltimore County. We on the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee are amazed, but not surprised, by this action of a Governor who would put party over fair play.”
The county Republican Party voted in November to oust Marge Neuman, a long-time board member, and replace her with Bruce Robinson, who was at the time a board alternate.
Neuman, long respected inside the county party, was the apparent victim of some intra-party squabbling in which central committee members turned against her in favor of another candidate.
The party was required to submit three names for O'Malley to consider. GOP party officials submitted Robinson as its top pick for the one regular board slot. Joseph Karey, who was the attorney to the election board, was the second name. The central committee rounded out its recommendations with Neuman, thinking that she would not be picked.
Campbell said past governors typically take the top two names on the list.
"That's the way it usually works," Campbell said in an interview. "The governor defers to the local jurisdiction, to the local party selection."
But O'Malley did not defer.
Instead, he jumped over Robinson and named Karey to fill the Republican party spot on the three-member board. Neuman was named as the Republican's alternate.
Campbell said he believes Robinson was passed over for political reasons.
"They know he would have questioned some things going on at the Board of Elections," Campbell said.
"The purpose of the statute is to allow the central committees to provide a list of candidates," said Shaun Adamec, an O'Malley spokesman. "Implicit in that direction is the Governor’s ability to choose from the members on that list. That is what he has done in this case, and that is what he has done many times before."
Adamec added that Karey's appointment was confirmed by the Senate.
"He got Republican Party votes," Adamec said. "It was bipartisan."