Advertisement
Politics

Former Maryland Lt. Gov. candidate Gordana Schifanelli’s bid for GOP state chair is rebuffed in flare-up over filing deadline

Gordana Schifanelli, who lost a bid to become Maryland’s lieutenant governor, has been rebuffed in an attempt to become the new state Republican Party chair in a heated dispute over the filing deadline.

Dirk Haire, the current state GOP chairman who isn’t seeking reelection next month, said Schifanelli and a handful of candidates she is backing for various state party positions missed the filing deadline of Nov. 9 at 5 p.m.

Advertisement

“I don’t recall this ever happening in the 20+ years I’ve been involved,” Haire said in a text message in response to Baltimore Sun questions. “I also wonder how individuals who can’t even submit basic paperwork on time could run the party effectively.”

Schifanelli, who was Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox’s running mate on Nov. 8, wrote on Twitter that she “was blocked from running. I was blocked from competing. I did not quit. I never quit. And I did not ‘withdraw’ my nomination. We were simply blocked from consideration.”

Advertisement

The Queen Anne’s County lawyer tweeted that she was “disappointed to learn that MD GOP leadership has no brain power to think or read. I’m sad that they will destroy our party and our country even further.”

Other candidates hoping to chair the party include Nicole Beus Harris, a political consultant and the wife of Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris; and Baltimore County business owner Tim Fazenbaker, a former congressional candidate.

The filing issue is the latest flare-up within the leadership of the state GOP. Maryland Republicans have been split between loyalists to Donald Trump, the former president, and the more moderate Larry Hogan, the outgoing two-term governor. Hogan declined to endorse Cox, a Trump loyalist who lost the election overwhelmingly to Democrat Wes Moore.

Schifanelli could not be reached for comment through calls to her law firm.

But Baltimore County Republican Kate Sullivan, who planned to run for 3rd vice chair on a “GOP Unity Team” slate with Schifanelli, said in an interview that the nominating process was “poorly executed.”

Maryland Policy & Politics

Maryland Policy & Politics

Weekly

Keep up to date with Maryland politics, elections and important decisions made by federal, state and local government officials.

She said the state party doesn’t act like a “serious organization” and is rather “a little club where they pick out napkins for their Lincoln Day dinners.”

Sullivan said notice of the filing deadline is not in the organization’s bylaws, but rather appeared in a packet she received because she is an incoming member of the central committee, which oversees the state party.

“There was a convention packet and — on page 3 — there was a small paragraph and it said ‘Please have nominations in by 5 p.m. on Nov. 9.,’” Sullivan said.

Advertisement

Sullivan said that directive was confusing because there were also instructions that the nominating forms must be received 30 days before the state party meeting. Under that timeline, she said Schifanelli and her slate’s entry would have been on time when it arrived at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9. The state party meeting is Dec. 10 at Live! Casino & Hotel in Hanover.

But Haire said in an email to state party leaders earlier this week that “we have followed the same process as we have for decades.”

He said Schifanelli and the five members of her slate could still seek election through a floor nomination at the meeting. A floor nomination requires a 2/3 vote instead of a simple majority.

Sullivan said her group remained hopeful that the original forms would be accepted. “We are absolutely waiting to hear from Dirk,” she said.


Advertisement