Paul Craney to leave D.C. GOP

January 18, 2012

Craney, in 2009 (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Craney, who has helmed the local GOP since 2007, leaves Feb. 10 to take a job he is not yet ready to publicly discuss.

During Craney’s tenure, the D.C. GOP has punched above its weight — while Republicans make up not quite 7 percent of the District’s registered voters, the party has run vigorous campaigns and has established themselves as watchdogs of the Wilson Building’s Democratic majority.

Among other things, it was a Republican candidate, Timothy Day, who first raised questions with the party’s backing about former D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr., which led to the investigations that ended in his felony pleas and resignation.

“That never would have happened if the D.C. GOP hadn’t pushed for it,” Craney said Wednesday. “Unless we were actually in existence, Harry Thomas Jr. would still be playing golf in Florida or Las Vegas.”

Craney, 30, lists among his proudest achievements running four energetic ward D.C. Council races in 2010 and helping get a registered Republican, Patrick Mara, elected to a nonpartisan State Board of Education seat that year.

The party is now searching for a new executive director; Craney says the ideal candidate will be “someone who can do significant fundraising and handle the D.C. press, which is not the easiest thing to do.”

Also note that, according to a posted job listing, “Candidates should have a blemish free record of integrity. Behavior or appearance of behavior that is unethical will not be tolerated.”

The party has largely finished recruiting candidates for this year’s elections, Craney said, but his successor will be coming on board as the local party looks to see turnover in several other leadership positions. He or she will also have to find new real estate for the party, which is losing its storefront digs at 13th and K streets NW next year.

Craney says he’ll miss the rough-and-tumble of city politicking. “I’ve met a lot of really nice people,” he said. “The city is a great city. It’s easy to fall in love with.”

Mike DeBonis covers Congress and national politics for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015.
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