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Mooney steps down as GOP chair

Myers might seek House leadership post

February 13, 2013|By KAUSTUV BASU | kaustuv.basu@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS — Change is coming to the Republican Party in Maryland.

Alex X. Mooney, Maryland Republican Party chairman, announced that he will be resigning his position beginning March 1 to write a book about door-to-door campaigning and to spend more time with his family.

And at the Maryland General Assembly, Del. LeRoy E. Myers, R-Allegany/Washington, said Wednesday that he had been approached by some Republican legislators to run for the position of minority leader representing the House of Delegates. A vote among the Republican delegates will take place on April 30.

Mooney, a former state senator representing Frederick and Washington counties from 1999 to 2011, has been the party chairman for two years. Mooney said most chairs of the party held the position for about a year or slightly more.

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“I will never find time to write my book if I continue to remain chairman. It has been a good two years,” he said.

Mooney said he was proud of his work on the petition drives that put three issues on the referendum in the November elections.

“We showed that if you wanted ... you could put issues to the vote of the people,” he said.

The Republican Party in the state was in better financial shape compared to when he took charge, Mooney said.

Last year, the party raised $1.1 million in the state.

“We paid our bills. You know, before, there was a great struggle to do that,” Mooney said.

The book he was writing would be part autobiographical and a part how-to guide on door-to-door campaigning, he said.

Mooney said he wasn’t sure if he would run for office again but he was “open to opportunities.”

When asked if he would run in 2014 against John Delaney, the Democratic congressman who now represents the 6th District that includes Washington County, Mooney said he would not.

“The Republican Party had a lot of debt. We had an office in downtown Annapolis that cost a fortune. He got rid of that and got us into a much better financial footing than we were,” said Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington. “He helped to move forward conservative ideals in Maryland. I’m sorry to see him go.”

Diana Waterman, the first vice chairman of the party, will be the interim chair until a new leader is elected on April 20.

A leadership change might also be in the offing among Republicans in the state’s House of Delegates.

Myers said Wednesday that there had been some talk about dissatisfaction with the current leadership of the Republican Party when it comes to the House.

Anthony J. O’Donnell, R-Calvert, is the current House Minority Leader.

“Many … freshmen [legislators] have indicated they want to see a change of leadership,” said Myers, adding that his name has come up as a possible replacement.

However, at a Republican Caucus meeting Tuesday, the legislators decided that they would tackle the leadership issue on April 30 through an election, he said.

There are currently 43 delegates from the Republican Party elected to the House.

“We have decided to put this on hold and focus on local and critical issues (at the Maryland General Assembly),” Myers said.

He said the 2014 state elections could be a challenge because of the new district maps.

“The redistricting is going to make difficult for eight of our members, they are going to be in a much tougher election,” Myers said. “As a Republican caucus — our goal is to bring back new members.”

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