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Maryland Republican Party to host Vice President Mike Pence at annual fundraising dinner

Maryland Republican Party to host Vice President Mike Pence at annual fundraising dinner
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend the Maryland Republican Party’s annual “Red, White and Blue” dinner Monday night. (Kevin Richardson / The Baltimore Sun)

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend the Maryland Republican Party’s annual “Red, White and Blue” dinner Monday night.

But don’t count on buying tickets or sponsorships. The event has been sold out for a month.

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“There was so much enthusiasm, we actually had to stop most of our physical invitations from going out because we didn’t have any more tickets available,” said Patrick O’Keefe, executive director of the state party.

Pence is scheduled to speak to more than 500 guests at the BWI Airport Marriott, O’Keefe said.

The tickets to dine with the former Republican governor of Indiana started at $150 for general admission to the 7:30 p.m. dinner and $1,000 for a private reception and photo opportunity at a cocktail reception starting an hour earlier.

Other dinner tickets sold for $1,000 to host a table, $6,000 to be a “Chesapeake Sponsor,” $10,000 to be a “Capitol Sponsor” and $25,000 to be a “Chairman’s Circle Sponsor.”

Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, also Republicans, are not planning to attend as both will be in Ocean City for the Maryland Municipal League conference.

“As they do each year, the governor and lieutenant governor will be taking part in the Maryland Municipal League’s summer conference in Ocean City, a gathering of the state’s local leaders,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said. “We welcome the vice president to Maryland, and hope that he has a great visit.”

Hogan has previously said Pence — along with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — was one of his closest associates among Republican governors, despite Hogan’s public disagreements with the policies of Pence’s boss, President Donald Trump.

When Hogan declared a state of emergency in 2017 over the opiate overdose epidemic, he met with Pence and other Trump administration officials in Washington to discuss federal support for the crisis.

Previous GOP luminaries who have spoken at the Maryland event include: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina last year, Hogan in 2017, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in 2016 and Trump in 2015 — a year before he became president.

Maryland Democrats criticized Pence’s planned appearance, saying the state Republican Party’s invitation to the vice president shows it is aligned with Trump.

“Maryland’s GOP members are demonstrating clear support for Trump’s racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, and Islamophobia by inviting the vice president as their guest,” said Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party. “[Pence] has a laundry list of problematic positions, and it is instructive that they are embracing his reprehensible record in public service.”

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