Skip to comments.New GOP leaders sought in [Maryland] House
Posted on 05/30/2003 1:31:31 AM PDT by ForOurFuture
New GOP leaders sought in House
Kach, Edwards compete for minority leadership after 2 delegates leave
By Tim Craig
Originally published May 30, 2003
Republicans in the House of Delegates are scrambling to rebuild their leadership after Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. announced yesterday that the House minority whip will become the next chairman of the Public Service Commission.
Del. Kenneth D. Schisler's appointment as chairman occurs one day after Ehrlich nominated House Minority Leader Alfred W. Redmer Jr. to be Maryland's new insurance commissioner.
The loss of the top two House GOP leaders has touched off an intraparty squabble over who will lead 43 Republican delegates. Del. A. Wade Kach, a retired teacher from Baltimore County, is running against Del. George C. Edwards, a business owner from Garrett County, for the minority leader position.
(Excerpt) Read more at sunspot.net ...
No argument here. Since Kach has the support of both of my GOP delegates, one of whom is without a doubt the most conservative member of the House, I guess he'd be preferable, but I really don't know. It's interesting that the leadership was so quick to leave the legislature and jump to the Executive branch. I guess new blood can't hurt.
Eckardt targets House GOP leadership role
Tapped as minority whip candidate by Baltimore County delegate
By: JOHN GRIEP, Staff Writer
DEL. ADDIE ECKARDT
EASTON - Del. Adelaide C. "Addie" Eckardt is in the running for a House Republican leadership post soon to be vacant with the appointment of Del. Kenneth Schisler as chairman of a state commission.
Delegate A. Wade Kach, a candidate to become House minority leader, has chosen Eckardt, R-37B-Dorchester, to be his whip as they seek the top House Republican positions.
Kach, of Baltimore County, is the longest-serving GOP member of the House of Delegates.
GOP members will meet June 17 to pick a leadership team to succeed House Minority Leader Alfred W. Redmer Jr. and Minority Whip Kenneth D. Schisler, whom Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich has appointed to state jobs.
Also running is the team of George Edwards of Garrett County as minority leader and Anthony O'Donnell of Calvert County as minority whip.
House Republican caucus rules require the top two party leaders to run and be elected as a team. Eckardt and O'Donnell both currently serve as deputy minority whips.
Eckardt, who will retire this month as a nurse at the Eastern Shore Hospital Center, said she is excited about being named to Kach's team.
"I'm really grateful for the opportunity to serve the caucus that way," she said Tuesday.
Although she has served as a deputy whip, Eckardt said she had not thought about running for the post until the offer was made, largely due to her full-time job as a nurse.
She will officially retire from ESHC on June 30.
Eckardt said the more she spoke with Kach about the team they would build, the more she thought about the skills she could bring to the post, including her organizational and people skills.
She also would bring the rural perspective and her health care expertise to the leadership team, Eckardt said.
Asked about a characterization of the minority whip as a partisan attack dog, Eckardt agreed that has been the way the position has functioned in the past. However, she said that model would change if she obtains the position.
"I do not operate that way," Eckardt said. "I think the role of the minority whip is to organize the floor work."
She said she would bring a new model to the post and other delegates among the Republican caucus could serve in the more partisan role.
"It doesn't always have to be the minority whip who has to stand up and do that," Eckardt said. "I'm not in to getting up and being real extreme on House floor."
She said she would rather present healthy, clear, convincing information to present the minority party view of an issue.
Eckardt, who also serves as vice chairman of the Eastern Shore Delegation, said she would decide whether to run for Schisler's post as delegation chairman after the GOP leadership vote.
"I think on everybody's mind right now is getting the leadership for the caucus," she said.
Schisler, R-37B-Talbot, has been appointed chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
©The Star Democrat 2003
Abortion debate works its way into GOP House leadership race
by Thomas Dennison
June 6, 2003
ANNAPOLIS -- The leadership race in the House Republican caucus took an ideological turn this week when Del. A. Wade Kach's support from conservatives started to crumble after he selected pro-choice Del. Adelaide "Addie" Eckardt to be his running mate.
The vacuum at the top of the Republican caucus created by the departures of Minority Leader Alfred W. Redmer (R-Dist. 8) of Perry Hall and Minority Whip Kenneth D. Schisler (R-Dist. 37B) of Easton has set the stage for a bona fide leadership race.
On one side is the team of Del. George C. Edwards (R-Dist. 1C) of Grantsville and Del. Anthony J. O'Donnell (R-Dist. 29C) of Lusby. On the other is Kach (R-Dist. 5A) of Cockeysville and Eckardt (R-Dist. 37) of Cambridge.
Both teams say they have the votes, but the race took on a new dimension this week when some Republicans began to publicly question Eckardt's votes on abortion rights. A retired nurse and a moderate Republican, Eckardt said that she understands some of her votes on abortion ruffled feathers in the conservative wing of the caucus but she should not be painted on either side of the issue.
"I have been known to lean toward the pro-choice direction, but I look at each issue individually and, frankly, both sides get a little distressed with me," Eckardt said. "We have always had members of our caucus who have taken positions a little different from the mainstream. I don't see that as a hindrance for someone in leadership."
Kach said in an interview Tuesday that he has smoothed over any tensions about Eckhardt's voting record among his supporters and "the race is basically over -- I have enough votes to win, there's no doubt about it." Kach said he talked to Eckardt about her pro-choice positions and he wants to assure his fellow caucus members that she supports parental notification for abortion and a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions.
"She is basically on our side on the two [abortion] issues we care about the most," Kach said.
The degree of smoothing over abortion-related tensions in the caucus remains unclear, however, with Republican members of the Anne Arundel County delegation beginning to question whether they can support Kach.
"I have to evaluate that whole scenario," said Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Dist. 31) of Glen Burnie, who describes himself as "to the right of the far right." Dwyer is founder of the Maryland Liberty Committee, which has a mission statement to promote "success ... in rolling back the socialists' agenda" and to fiercely protect gun rights and vigorously push a pro-life agenda. Some other members of the committee include Baltimore-area delegates such as Richard K. Impallaria (R-Dist. 7) of Middle River, Joseph C. Boteler III (R-Dist. 8) of Carney and Warren E. Miller (R-Dist. 9A) of Woodbine, who were presumed Kach supporters.
Dwyer is one of seven Anne Arundel County Republicans who said they endorsed Kach's candidacy for minority leader, but that support was given before he had selected his running mate. The Anne Arundel Republicans -- four of whom are freshmen -- are considered some of the most conservative in the House.
"I went along with the Anne Arundel County delegation [in supporting Kach], but the pro-life position, as far as Addie is concerned, would probably cause me to reconsider my position," Dwyer said.
As in other leadership races, the 43-member House Republican caucus will vote by secret ballot, making it virtually impossible to guess who has the strongest commitments. The race thus far has centered on classic urban versus rural grounds, with Edwards and O'Donnell considered the front-runners.
Edwards is a 20-year House veteran known for his down-home Western Maryland drawl who has earned rare Republican success on the House Appropriations Committee. O'Donnell is an unabashed conservative who is known for his presence on the House floor and his outspoken advocacy for social and fiscal conservatism.
Kach and Eckardt are equally respected and experienced, several Republicans said, but some wonder about their leadership style. O'Donnell would embrace the traditional role of the minority whip, which is known as the GOP's attack dog and bomb thrower, and Eckardt said this week that she would be a "consensus builder."
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) has said he is staying neutral in the leadership race, but former Carroll County delegate Joseph M. Getty, the governor's policy director and a close advisor, said last week that he considered Edwards and O'Donnell the front-runners. He said they "balance each other philosophically" and "bring stability" to the caucus.
The vote is set for June 17. ____________________________________________________________
Props for Mr. Dwyer, who represents me....well. I helped get him elected. I'm not sure how much impact this race will really have on anything, but it's interesting.
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