Ehrlich official Audrey E. Scott to lead Md. Republicans

Audrey E. Scott pledged to make fundraising a priority.
Audrey E. Scott pledged to make fundraising a priority. (Courtesy Of Audrey E. Scott)
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By john Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maryland Republicans on Saturday overwhelmingly elected Audrey E. Scott, a Cabinet secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., as their new party chairwoman.

Scott, a former member of the Prince George's County Council who later served as planning secretary for Ehrlich (R), promised to bring "renewed vigor and excitement to our party" during an address to more than 200 delegates at a state party convention held in Bowie.

Scott takes over as Maryland Republicans face serious financial problems and other hurdles heading into an election year in a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-to-1 advantage in party registration.

As of Saturday morning, the state party had less than $6,000 in the bank and more than $100,000 in outstanding bills and loans, according to a report delivered to convention delegates. "The Republican Party in Maryland is not on life support, and it is not second class," said Scott as she pledged to make fundraising a priority.

Scott succeeds James Pelura, an Anne Arundel County veterinarian, whose three-year tenure was marked by anemic fundraising, a slippage in party registration and infighting among state GOP leaders. In a farewell speech, Pelura urged GOP candidates to reject appeals to move toward the center, saying: "Moderation gets you nowhere."

Scott faced only nominal opposition from Daniel "the Whig Man" Vovak, a party eccentric who often appears at events in a white wig. Under a weighted balloting, Scott won more than 600 votes, and Vovak tallied fewer than 50.

Another candidate, Chris Cavey of Baltimore County, dropped out of the race recently, saying he wanted to avoid a divisive vote. Cavey will remain the party's first vice chairman.

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