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Del. Weldon rejects call to resign

October 13, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. said last week that most feedback from his decision to leave the Republican Party was positive, but a few people were upset.

Weldon said during an interview Oct. 6 that he received seven negative e-mails, including one from Washington County and four from Frederick County, Md.

The Washington County comment was from John B. Dunlap, a former Washington County Republican Central Committee chairman, who blasted Weldon and urged him to resign.

The Herald-Mail obtained copies of e-mails exchanged between the two men.

Weldon announced on Sept. 30 that he was leaving the GOP and changing his registration to "unaffiliated" because of divisive party politics in Annapolis.

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Seven months earlier, he said he wasn't running for a third four-year term in 2010.

Together, those decisions will free him from partisan pressures and let him focus on issues he cares about, he said.

In an e-mail, Dunlap said Weldon's departure from the GOP four weeks before the presidential election aids the Democrats' push toward higher taxes and hurts Republican John McCain's chances to win.

"It is (a) shame that your decision, in even the smallest way, could harm this patriot and good man's efforts at becoming our nation's leader," Dunlap wrote.

Dunlap, who resigned from the Republican Central Committee in March, wrote that he was "deeply disappointed" Weldon didn't wait until after the general election.

He said people in Washington and Frederick counties, "who thought they were electing a conservative Republican," deserved better.

Suggesting that resigning would be the "honorable thing," Dunlap also called on Weldon to return campaign contributions.

Weldon wrote back, "I'm very sorry you feel that way," but rejected the request to resign.

Weldon noted that Dunlap apparently didn't contribute to his campaign.

"I have received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls, some reflecting disappointment, but the largest majority fully supportive," Weldon wrote. "Among that number, a majority come from registered Republicans who support my decision and live and vote in my legislative district."

Asked last Monday about Dunlap's e-mail, Weldon said, "This kind of hyperpartisanship makes the point better than I could."

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