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Editorial: Unity needed in GOP

Republican attempts to grow representation in the state legislature in the 2014 elections has grown more difficult with recent departures, increasing the urgency for the party to come together in a unified vision and identify strong candidates capable of accomplishing the mission of giving the party a legitimate voice on state government.
Cecil County Republican and Maryland Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin was the latest departure. Pipkin said he was resigning to pursue a degree in sports management in Texas.
Calvert County Democrat and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said "Senator Pipkin had a strong work ethic, was knowledgeable on the issues and served his constituents well."
Another recent loss was Sen. Allan Kittleman, who is running for Howard County Executive. On his website, Kittleman says, "Throughout my time in elected service my priorities have always been increasing the quality of our children's education, having a more efficient government, encouraging private sector job creation and fighting on behalf of those who often cannot fight for themselves."
Add in the redistricting pushed through by the Democratic majority, and squabbles over leadership and direction within the Republican Party, and it is clear that the GOP has a long, uphill battle to gain some momentum and inspire voters ahead of the 2014 election.
Alex Mooney resigned as party chairman in February. First Vice Chair Diana Waterman took over but almost immediately a controversy arose between factions. After winning the chairmanship, Waterman said she wanted to mend fences and work with her former opponents for the chairmanship in order to move the party forward and gain seats in the 2014 elections.
At the beginning, Waterman said a goal would be to gain enough seats in the Senate to achieve the ability to filibuster Democratic legislation. That was a tall order even before the party needed to focus on defending seats that the recent departures are leaving open but will be even more difficult now.
Key to the success or failure of the party's ability to gain seats will be whether the various factions can come together and put up strong, electable candidates.
Divisions within the party on the national level have been well-documented. Republicans in Maryland need to avoid falling into that trap and, instead, elect representatives who can hold true to conservative values while at the same time work with the opposing party on proposals that can help move all Marylanders forward.

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