Following the defeat of two top state senators by more conservative opponents and Ellen Sauerbrey's loss in the gubernatorial race, Maryland Republicans are regrouping to try to respond to the same old challenge - how to work with the Democratic majority without losing sight of their own party's agenda.
The dilemma the GOP faces was illustrated by the reaction of Senate President Thomas V. "Mike" Miller, D-Prince George's, to the news that the new leaders of the senate GOP caucus plan to give the group a stronger voice in state politics.
That's fine, Miller said, as long as individual Republican senators aren't barred from voting in opposition to caucus positions. If Democrats started voting as a caucus, "the Republican senate members would be relegated to oblivion."
Sen. Martin Madden, the new minority leader and Sen. Lowell Stoltzfus, were quick to say that they're not proposing a confrontational approach, just a stronger statement of the party's core issues, like lowering taxes, improving schools and the economy.