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Dirk Haire, campaign counsel to Gov. Larry Hogan, elected to chair Md. state GOP

Dirk Haire, longtime counsel to the Maryland Republican Party and to the campaign of Gov. Larry Hogan, will be the state GOP's chairman for the next two years.

Haire beat runner-up William Campbell by a 4-1 margin in the leadership election Saturday, said Joe Cluster, the state party's executive director. Campbell is a former Amtrak official who has run for state comptroller.

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Cluster said Haire is a good choice for the role because he has worked closely with party leaders for a decade.

"It keeps continuity," Cluster said. "There's been a lot of efforts to build up the party, and he's been part of those efforts."

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Haire was supported by state Del. Kathy Szeliga, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in the election last month. Hogan opted not to make an endorsement in the party leadership contest.

Haire is a construction law attorney with Fox Rothschild LLP in Washington.

The state GOP is focused on 2018, when Gov. Larry Hogan tries to become the first two-term Republican governor in Maryland since Theodore McKeldin, who served from 1951 to 1959.

A Hogan win in 2018 would give Republicans a role in the next round of legislative and congressional redistricting in 2021. Democrats have dominated that process, turning a state that sent four Democrats and four Republicans to the House in 2001 to one that now sends seven Democrats and one Republican.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in Maryland by more than two to one.

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