Matthew R. Newman: What made you decide to run for Maryland Republican Party Chairman?
Sam Hale: Being involved in the Murphy Campaign, I have learned what a powerful position the MDGOP Chair is, and how important it is to have the right person in that position. The Maryland Society of Patriots has been closely monitoring the race since rumors of Audrey’s resignation started. After seeing our hopeful candidates drop out one by one, we decided it was the right thing to do to make sure our voice was heard. It is vital that Maryland have a strong GOP in order for it to remain a livable environment for freedom-loving Americans. If the GOP does not begin to embrace the conservative movement that swept Republicans into power across the country on November 2nd, it will inevitably fail. I am running to try to make sure that does not happen.
MRN: How do you feel that the State Party performed during the 2010 election-cycle?
SH: I was happy to see Andy Harris elected and disappointed but not surprised by the other results. My complete commentary is available at our blog here.
MRN: How do you feel your experiences, including those with founding the Maryland Society of Patriots, helps qualify you for the role of State Party Chairman?
SH: My role with the Maryland Society of Patriots has already given me a vast knowledge of grassroots activism and community organizing. I feel this is what the party needs to restore in order to be successful. MSOP has allowed me to gain an extensive knowledge of how to effectively spread a message within a neighborhood, town or county. I hope to not only bring this knowledge and enthusiasm to the GOP but also MSOP itself and every other conservative grassroots group in the state.
MRN: What are your thoughts on outgoing Chair Audrey Scott?
SH: Audrey Scott has been a successful fundraiser and has fulfilled her role as chairman. Several of her decisions, however, alienated a sizable part of the Republican base and allowed the most passionate wing of the party to become detached. Her focus on incumbency protection and decision to over-ride rule 11 stifled debate and new ideas and made conservatives feel like they were not on the same side as the GOP.
While Audrey’s brief chairmanship has several measurable successes. It did not translate into election results. If the Maryland Republican Party hopes to overcome the incredible obstacles in front of us, we need to not only build on Audrey’s successes but also take the party in a new direction. That direction needs to be to the right, toward traditional Republican principles.
MRN: What do you feel is the most important role of the GOP State Central Committee?
SH: The most important role and responsibility of everyone from the RNC to the central committees is to win elections. The MDGOP needs to figure out how to win elections and move the party forward. While fundraising is important, it is simply a tool to achieve the ultimate goal. When we judge the state central committee we need to judge it on how many Republicans have been elected in proportion to the rest of the country.
MRN: What would be your top priority if selected as the next Chair of the State Central Committee?
SH: My top priority will be installing a Republican grassroots network across Maryland. I believe my biggest contribution to the party will be my ability to involve and relate to the increasing number of conservative grassroots groups in Maryland that are not currently working with the GOP. This will allow the party to continue to work to grow its enthusiasm, base and register new Republicans even in off election years. In order to be competitive in Maryland again we must change the political landscape against us. We cannot rely on the media to spread our ideas, we must begin to use the grassroots that already exist to make our elections winnable.
This is not achievable simply by reaching out. The party must gain the trust of the tea party and commit to their values. Electing a conservative chairman, like myself, will send that message.
MRN: As a younger Republican, what do you feel that the party can do to reach out to younger voters?
SH: The party needs to set a clear ideological separation from the democrats and present meaningful contrast. History has proven that the ideas of the left have consistently failed and are failing now. Our young people are well educated and generally intelligent for the most part. We need to enable the young Republicans to say “This is wrong, this is why, and this is how we fix it.” Let’s present a clear choice and let them make the decision. My 20 year old sister recently wrote a brilliant blog on the problems with welfare reform and the hypocrisy of the left’s ideology (marylandpatriots.org). She is a product of the public school system, but was presented a clear choice between right and left. Clearly, she made the right one.
MRN: What is your opinion on Rule 11 and its role in the 2010 election cycle?
SH: I am a former Murphy staffer. I felt if was ridiculous. Not only was it a clear violation of the rules but a completely unnecessary procedure that alienated the entire conservative grassroots network. I think it played a significant role in the margin of Ehrlich’s defeat.
MRN: What do you think the Republican Party should do to help make inroads / grow the party in traditionally heavily Democratic areas like Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore City?
SH: I was inspired that Brian Murphy received more votes in Montgomery County than in any other in the September primaries. I was even more inspired that Jim Rutledge won Montgomery County in the Senate primary. Despite party opposition (toward Murphy) and a very liberal county central committee, two conservatives made significant inroads in the county. The reason being the incredible grassroots networks both campaigns installed in the region.
The conservative message is a winner. We are right and they are wrong. We need to enable our people to present clear contrast with the left and install a grassroots network to spread the message. The ideas are an easy sell, we just need to get the word out. The media will not help us. Fundraising will only go so far. The only way to make inroads in these incredibly entrenched areas is to involve, empower and focus the grassroots conservative network in Maryland.
MRN: As someone relatively new to the political scene in terms of organizing / running campaigns, how do you plan to raise the funds necessary to keep the party operating?
SH: I feel we (MSOP) have been very successful in our previous ventures with the Maryland Society of Patriots, what we were able to accomplish with the Murphy/Rutledge campaigns and our work with AFP. I believe this was possible because we are eager to learn, energetic, passionate and innovative. I hope to bring this energy to all aspects of the party, including fundraising. I plan on learning from Audrey, surrounding myself with the state’s most adept fundraisers and using that knowledge to continue and build on our recent successes.
Electing a conservative chairman will also dramatically increase the overall number of donors to the party. There are thousands of people in this state, who only donate directly to candidates because they do not trust the party to support the right candidates. Grassroots enthusiasm does not only apply to campaign activities and people are eager to donate money to a cause they believe can make a positive impact.
I believe I will not only be able to effectively fundraise but am capable of expanding our current efforts.
MRN: In closing, what is one thing you want to ensure that Central Committee members and general party members know about you and your campaign?
SH: There are thousands of people across Maryland who want to work for the MDGOP but will not support it in its current state. We need to take advantage of the nation’s conservative upheaval while it is still at full swing.
I will be able to bring in all aspects of this movement quickly if elected. I firmly believe the GOP can have the message and the grassroots support to become competitive again in Maryland. The structure and message, however, need to be changed.
I thank Mr. Hale for his time to answer my questions and wish him luck in his bid for MD GOP Party Chair. Again, I welcome any candidate for MD GOP Chair who is willing to answer my questions.