Posted by: Ann Corcoran | July 20, 2010

Rule 11 fiasco: An example of the “Ruling class” at work in Maryland

Update July 22nd: Response to commenter “College Republican” here.

Editor: Below is a guest column written by someone in attendance at the meeting when  it was made clear that certain members of the Maryland GOP disgracefully, and behind closed doors, waived a rule that normally seeks to allow for some neutrality on the part of the Republican Party until after the voters have spoken in the primary.

I urge readers to visit my previous post, Some Republicans disrespect Tea Partiers, demonstrate they are firmly in the “ruling class,” and note that this thoughtful report below demonstrates the disdain that the Maryland Republican “ruling class” has for us, the Conservative “country class.”

New readers, see my earlier post on this issue for background.  Here is an eyewitness account from a trusted source of the MD GOP convention on April 30th of this year:  Pelosi-ites in the Maryland GOP?

“I had the opportunity to attend the GOP Convention this year. I expected to learn much about the GOP and I did. The first thing I learned is that the public can attend these conventions for free, even though they are not members of a Central Committee, and can attend the workshops if they pay the fee. This is not generally known, but needs to be. As the saying goes, sunshine is the best disinfectant.

I started out lukewarm toward Bob Ehrlich. He hadn’t been the Governor many had hoped for but I was unhappy because he took forever to commit to running, insisting on the “maybe, if you beg enough” approach. It didn’t speak well of him. While I hadn’t decided whom to support before the convention, by the end I had become a solid Murphy activist.

The bias toward Ehrlich was apparent from the first moment. As people checked into the convention the registration people were handing blue lanyards imprinted all over with “Ehrlich” to every registrant. These were to hang their name cards with their County Central Committee position. You didn’t have to take one, but you did have to refuse it. Nearly every person at the convention was wearing one. Few wore the elastic band the name tags came with. It was obviously inappropriate.

The Executive meeting of the Central Committee was the first evening of the convention. One of the Central Committee members asked Audrey Scott, MDGOP Chairwoman, to clarify what he was able to do for a governor’s campaign as a Central Committee member since he’d been asked to help with both campaigns. Audrey stated very clearly that he could support any campaign as long as he didn’t do it in the name of his Central Committee. He went on to question the lanyards and their appropriateness since people were attending the convention in their official capacity. Kim Jorns, Maryland Executive Director, explained that the lanyards were donated by the Ehrlich campaign and no money from the GOP was spent on them. The MDGOP lawyer stated that these lanyards were not an endorsement and that no one had to take them if they didn’t want them. Apparently if the GOP didn’t spend money on it and then demand you take it, it wasn’t an endorsement.

At lunch the next day the guest speaker was Bob Ehrlich. Surprise. Audrey Scott introduced Ehrlich as the next governor of Maryland and espoused how great he was. Brian Murphy was in attendance at this luncheon and his name was not mentioned once, not even in passing. There were Ehrlich signs all over, inside the room and around the convention area. There were no Murphy signs. None.

During the convention itself MDGOP’s National Committeewoman, Joyce Terhes, told how great Ehrlich was and how we needed to get him back into office. In her speech she said that every single Republican who would vote for Bob Ehrlich needs to get to the polls during the election. Then, Louis Pope, MDGOP’s National Committeeman, gave his speech. Pope said that one of the governors the Republicans are going to pick up is Bob Ehrlich. He said if you aren’t on board you better GET on board because Ehrlich will be elected. Funny thing is, when he talked about the US Senate race he said how he couldn’t endorse one candidate over another since it was a contested race. Some double standard. Pope talked about how the Tea Party needs to be embraced by the Republicans, but he showed a basic misunderstanding of what much of the Tea Party outrage is about: abuse of power by the political elites. That abuse of power was on full display at the convention.

When the GOP, or rather Scott, Terhes and Pope, recently invoked Rule 11, they showed contempt for Central Committee members across the state by not calling for a vote on this issue at the convention. Rule 11 was already being discussed in whispers by those who could see the writing on the wall. Could it be that these three “big shots” didn’t trust the vote of the Central Committee members to come out as they desired? Can this set well with many Central Committee members across the state? I hope not.

Worse than that, these three showed contempt for Maryland Republican voters as a whole, regardless of whether it was voted on at the convention. They are usurping the voter’s freedom to choose by trying to silence Murphy’s campaign, therefore forcing us to choose Ehrlich because of our likely ignorance of Murphy. “They” know best who should be the one to run against O’Malley. Ehrlich is the only person who can beat O’Malley. Ehrlich’s own track record, however, belies that. Many do not realize, but in 2006 Ehrlich was the only incumbent governor who lost his seat to a Democrat. That was the last Ehrlich-O’Malley show down and it didn’t go so well.

In these days of Tea Parties and anti-incumbency fervor one would think that Ehrlich, who lost his base and therefore his last election, would not be the choice of a party looking to win. It would, however, be a logical choice for a party looking to give political paybacks. Having the ruling elite do end runs around the rules should not set well with Tea Party activists. That is what we are fighting Pelosi, Reid and the liberal elites over. And now we find our own Pelosi-ites right here in Maryland.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop with the MDGOP. The College Republicans changed their rules so that they can endorse Bob Ehrlich in the primary. At a Bel Air Tea Party, Mike Esteve, now Chairman of the College Republicans, spoke publicly about how Brian Murphy needs to get out of the race because he is just in the way of Ehrlich vs. O’Malley. Funny thing, the Special Advisor to the Executive Board of the College Republicans is James Kane. Could that be husband to candidate Lt. Governor Mary Kane, and former GOP head? No conflict of interest there.

[Correction: A reader, College Republican (see comments), has reported that James Kane is not the husband of Mary Kane.  We should have known that since we have written about John Kane, Mary Kane’s husband, a couple of times.   We told you about the federal lawsuit against the Kane Co. regarding a labor dispute here and we told you that he supported the highly controversial Obama appointment of Thomas Perez, friend of the Kanes, for the civil rights division at the Justice Department here.   Apologies for not catching the name differences.  So to College Republican, James Kane is no relation to John Kane?]

Now that the MDGOP has appointed Bob Ehrlich as our candidate, apparently we are all supposed to sit quietly by and dutifully fall in behind ‘our candidate’. I was campaigning at a local carnival and was loudly, verbally attacked because I dared to support Murphy and did not fall in line behind Ehrlich. This was from a woman with close ties to the Ehrlich administration. How dare I exert my freedom to choose!

On the other hand, Brian Murphy, Mrs Murphy and every member of their campaign has been gracious, adult, and professional in their behavior everywhere I have come across them, despite the underhanded and abusive treatment they have received. They have not only my vote, but my greatest respect.

My thanks to Ms. Beiber for her letter.

No REAL Tea Party activist will condone what the GOP has tried to do. Anyone who only cares about the outcome and not the process better look at themselves very closely and realize that is EXACTLY the stance the liberals have taken. The Republican Party has to do better if they are going to win the trust of the voters. The Party has to trust the voters first by allowing candidates an even playing field so the voters can pick the candidate they feel is the right one to represent them. Following our own rules and values is a basic necessity as a party and cannot be overlooked for convenience sake, ever.”

Readers, this isn’t just about Robert Ehrlich and the ruling class in-crowd or Brian Murphy and Tea Partiers (or indeed whether we will have another four years of O’Malley), it is bigger than just this Maryland campaign.  It is about a principle.  What happened at the MD GOP convention has been going on far too long at all levels of government.  All who care about our state and our Nation must be steadfast and brave (just as our correspondent has been here) and speak up or there is no saving us.


  1. Amen to that!

    As a member of the Dorchester County Central Committee and thereby MDGOP, I am infuriated by Audry Scott, who used to work for Bob Erhlich prior to her election as GOP chair, and her cohorts. How dare the MDGOP commit the state party loyalties to a specific candidate, particularly a moderate, dare I say RINO, member of the party. What has happened to the party who adhered to morals, values and principals? What ever happened to the GOP that placed principals over personalities? O’Malley scores an easy victory here and rather than being to his credit, it’s to our blame.

  2. I just came across this article and need to clarify two things:

    1. James Kane has no relation to Mary Kane. Minimal research would have clarified that quickly.

    2. While the conspiracy theories are fascinating, the real reason everyone supports Bob Ehrlich? He’s a Republican who can win. That simple. He is a pragmatic conservative who can defeat the Democrats in the nation’s fourth most liberal state. An Ehrlich Maryland beats an O’Malley Maryland any day.

    Brian has a future in Maryland politics, but it is not now. If you believe in your principles, then you owe it to them to win. Letting the perfect become the enemy of the good will cost conservatism dearly.

  3. […] College Republican: We support Ehrlich because he can win Yesterday we had a comment from a reader calling himself/herself “College Republican” that deserves further attention.   We thank “College Republican” for the correction on the issue of James Kane and John Kane (John is Lt. Governor candidate Mary Kane’s husband, not James).  You can see our original post with the correction here. […]

  4. I’m going to be very interested to see just how well Murphy does in the primary.

    You might be interested to know as well that there is a “Tell Brian whatshisname to drop out” group on Facebook (but it boasts a whole 23 members.)

    I’m not completely sold on Murphy; hopefully he’ll do a lot to satisfy my doubts tomorrow when he speaks to us in Wicomico County. But it’s tricks like this that we as a party need to address when the new Central Committees are elected in September (and reorganize after November’s election.) Not sure how much of the “old guard” will be gone but if Ehrlich loses I’m sure they’ll be the first in line to blame Brian.

    By the way, at that same meeting we will get a new Chair.

  5. […] gotta love it, the Erhlich campaign did everything in their power to keep their primary challenger (Brian Murphy) locked out of the campaign for governor, but […]

  6. […] I’ve been researching the MD GOP leadership ever since I learned of the Rule 11 scandal with the Bob Ehrlich in-crowd and the only hope for the MD GOP is a complete house cleaning by […]

  7. […] way, maybe the problem with the MDGOP was not simply who was the chairman.  [Read about the Rule 11 fiasco to help you understand what is […]

  8. […] their convention in April at a time when Murphy had filed to run for the office and Ehrlich had not (see Rule 11 fiasco here).   As for why Ehrlich waited so long to file (in the last few days to do so in July), the story […]

  9. […] as that of the Attorney General. Ann Corcoran of the Potomac Tea Party Report in her illuminating Rule 11 fiasco: An example of the ‘Ruling class’ at work in Maryland urged – – ” . . . readers to visit my previous post, Some Republicans disrespect Tea […]

  10. I was at the convention and the lanyards weren’t handed out, they were on a separate table and you had to walk over and pick them up if you wanted them.
    Also, you didn’t cover what Rule 11 was….that is the important part of all this, somebody needs to check it out before you all start throwing darts.
    This sounds like a hatefest without all the facts.
    Print out Rule 11 and let people decide before all the innuendo.
    I think you have a good candidate in Brian Murphy but leave all the hate at home, it only looks ugly.

    • Hi Conservative Sister, I am always happy to report differing opinions, so I urge you to write us a column and tell us where we are wrong and how you see the facts. Thanks in advance!

    • I was at the convention and the lanyards WERE handed out RIGHT AT THE REGISTRATION TABLE as people were receiving their packets of convention materials. They were ALSO available at another table. EVERY person who checked in was asked if they wanted a lanyard and handed one. If you didn’t want one you had to refuse.

      And stop with the ‘hate’ garbage. What a misuse of that word! Maybe you should look up the definition of ‘hate’….it does NOT mean having differing opinions. If it did, then you’d be considered hateful here.

  11. […] are any longer sending our donations to the MD GOP as long as the cronyism on display with the Rule 11 fiasco […]

  12. Thanks for the intel with this article. I was unable to attend the convention. I would have been sitting next to Brian Murphy steaming.

    Some say the Rule 11 brought money into the state from the RNC that wouldn’t otherwise have been allowed without it. We have been told to thank the party for that decision so that the victory centers could be established.

    Rule 11 was never intended for Gubernatorial elections – only Federal, is my understanding. I would appreciate clarification if I’m incorrect.

    At what point do 3 people have the authority to make decisions for the entire party? THAT needs to change and those people need replacing. That is UN-Republican and UN-American.

    • Thanks John for your comment….I’ll see if I can get clarification on your question …

    • John, you mentioned money brought in for the ‘victory centers’.

      I attended the GOP convention and a workshop by a lady from the RNC who told us that ‘victory centers’ were going to be put up in Maryland. She told about the hightech phones that could record polling data as the questions were asked. I asked her if these centers would actually be coming to Maryland since McCain’s campaign didn’t spend any money in MD, considering us a lost cause, and was assured that they would be here. THAT WAS BEFORE RULE 11 WAS USED. We are told by the MDGOP that it was shortly after the convention that the MDGOP messed with Rule 11, so victory centers were already coming to Maryland according to the RNC workshop leader!

      I was recently told by a member of a Central Committee that Murphy is not allowed to utilize the victory center facilities, but Ehrlich can, because the RNC is backing Ehrlich.

      And people wonder why it’s hard to get Murphy’s name out? There is a concerted effort of campaign suppression going on, far beyond the normal politicking.

  13. […] from both O’Malley and Ehrlich.  And, besides if the Ehrlich camp hadn’t pulled that Rule 11 dirty trick, maybe Ehrlich wouldn’t be rolling in bucks […]

  14. […] larger controversy: take a moment now to read this post from July 20th in which a guest commenter who was present tells us about the ‘Rule 11 fiasco’ where […]

  15. I will be surprised to see what is left of the Maryland Grand Old Party after September 14th. Many don’t want to be republicans anymore after all the corruption that has gone on. We need to clean out the central committees of the old guard and put in new, but make sure where the new people stand on the issue of what Audrey Scott has done and the current central committees have allowed concerning this primary season. That is the only way we will have “change” in the GOP for the future and keep a base after the obvious fracture that we currently have. I do not see us coming together after the 14th because of the treatment of Brian Murphy if he doesn’t win the primary because of these fiascoes. But for future election years there is still hope if we can bring in new central committee members and GET RID OF AUDREY SCOTT!!!!!

  16. […] of the Dorchester County Republican Central Committee, gives us further information about how the Rule 11 fiasco happened and how it continues to hurt the MD […]

  17. […] account of her day (dated September 2) to MD GOP members she confirmed she was asked about the controversial Rule 11 waiver the night […]

  18. […] Republicans have been led to believe since way back when the Rule 11 dirty tricks occurred that only former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich could beat the incumbent Governor Martin […]

  19. […] same old political shenanigans just to get an R in the Governor’s mansion?   Remember that Rule 11 fiasco and the MD […]

  20. […] this point over and over.  What happened here in Maryland and likely elsewhere as well when the party establishment (the so-called smart people) chose a candidate for governor in advance of a contested primary (it happened on the local level too) was a diminshment of our […]

  21. […] believed it could be an Ehrlich camp/Murphy camp re-run of the primary battle that exposed a lot of dirty dealings by the establishment Republican crowd (the birthplace of Michael Steele’s political career, […]

  22. […] readers know that the MDGOP waived Rule 11 back in April (we are still waiting to see the waiver request letter) which allowed Steele’s […]

  23. […] a review, here is one of my earliest posts last summer on the Rule 11 controversy that tore the MD GOP apart and frankly, in my view, kept the […]

  24. […] Maryland center-right voters were upset last year that the state GOP took sides in the contested Republican gubernatorial primary. On the other hand, […]

  25. […] you count the four counties to the West) when you and the MD GOP establishment cooked up that special (Rule 11) deal with Steele for endorsement by the GOP BEFORE THE PRIMARY—and effectively tore the already struggling MD […]

  26. […] new readers who wish to review what happened.  Here is a post from someone who was present at the MD GOP convention where Scott introduced Ehrlich as “the […]

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