Not quite (but almost!) on the same level of interest as the recent 6th District Republican Congressional primary brawl where a whole host of contenders tried to wipe out Roscoe Bartlett (the elder conservative statesman), newcomer Nicolee Ambrose yesterday beat out the representative of the old guard (Audrey Scott) in the MD GOP by winning a National Committeewoman seat. Did that 6th District contest have ramifications for the Committeewoman race?
Here is what Michael Dresser of the Baltimore Sun says about the vote yesterday (emphasis mine):
SOLOMONS — A conservative activist running an insurgent candidacy against the Maryland Republican establishment seized the post of national committeewoman at the state GOP convention Saturday, beating longtime party stalwart Audrey E. Scott.
The victory by Nicolee Ambrose of Baltimore represents a generational changing of the guard for Maryland Republicans. Her win came after a bitterly fought internal struggle that played out in blogs and on Facebook.
The race pitted Scott, a 76-year-old pillar of Maryland Republican politics for decades, against a 37-year-old activist with experience in national presidential campaigns. Ambrose defeated Scott by a vote of 286-247.
Showdown between Ehrlich loyalists and others who want the GOP to win some in Maryland
Ambrose’s campaign focused less on what she had done than what she intended to do. The former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation promised to be a “hands-on” committeewoman who would use her contacts at the national level to help build a competitive two-party system in Maryland.
“We need to play to win,” Ambrose told delegates. “We must win.”
In some ways, the contest shaped up as a showdown between Ehrlich loyalists and other Republicans — including some tea party activists — who are eager to move the party out of the shadow of the former governor, who led the GOP to defeat in the last two statewide elections.
Donald Murphy, a former Republican state delegate who said the Solomons gathering was his 20th state GOP convention, said he had never before seen such a bitterly contested battle for a national committee position. He said that in some cases, Republicans were lining up behind Ambrose as “payback” for actions Scott took as party chair, including her decision to openly favor Ehrlich in 2010 before the Republican primary. [Brian Murphy was Ehrlich’s challenger in the primary, but Scott helped the GOP send money to the Ehrlich campaign prior to the voters having their say—ed]
Scott attracted support from a who’s who of the GOP establishment in Maryland, including former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele. Ambrose lined up some big endorsements of her own, including that of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett,* the longtime Western Maryland congressman who is fighting to hold a 6th District seat that has been redrawn to favor his Democratic challenger.
Murphy, who said he was neutral in the race, said Ambrose’s election represents a change in the party. “People do want to move on. They want to get past Ehrlich and go to the next chapter,” he said.
It will be interesting to see if the “old guard” will allow the party to move forward with some new blood or do what they did to one former Chairman with new ideas (Jim Pelura) and undercut her at every turn.
* Just a reminder, Scott was responsible for a very underhanded robocall slamming Rep. Roscoe Bartlett just days before the Republican primary earlier this month.