Montgomery County GOP Chair Mark Uncapher recently announced a bid for Treasurer of the Maryland GOP. He sent me an email to me detailing the reasons he decided to run. I asked if he was willing to answer some of my questions in an email-based interview. What follows are his answers:
Matthew R. Newman: What made you decide to run for MD GOP Treasurer?
Mark Uncapher: I have been frustrated by the in-fighting among the State Party leadership during the past four years that has spilled in the press, including the contentious relationship for the Republican legislative leadership. While I had hoped that the party had finally "turned the corner" in the past year, I was disappointed by the failure of State Leadership to complete the necessary procedural steps that would have allowed us to designate a candidate for Attorney General.
MRN: How do you feel that the state party performed in the 2010 election cycle?
MU: We need to be honest with ourselves that Maryland Republicans did not perform as well as Republicans have done in other "Blue States" given the 2010 political environment. While we regained a House seat, the losses in the State Senate balanced by the gains in the House are essentially a push.
MRN: What are your thoughts on incumbent Treasurer Chris Rosenthal?
MU: Chris is a competent professional who unfortunately sees his “client” as being the immediate leadership of the party, rather than the Central Committee has a whole.
MRN: How do you feel your background will help qualify you for the position of MD GOP Treasurer?
MU: In addition to having held a variety of party offices, in both government and in the private sector, I have held a number of positions with financial management responsibility.
Over the course of my professional career, I have served in a variety of financial management positions in both the public and private sector. My past work includes:
Being responsible for providing staff review of New York City's financial plan for the state's Financial Control Board as Assistant Counsel to the New York State Comptroller,
Managing the technical accounting staff responsible for contractor financial reporting; compliance and financial audits for a $500 million entity, and
Serving as the principal staff member for Congressional oversight of the federal Inspectors General as Counsel to the House Subcommittee on Government Management.
MRN: What would be your top priority if selected as the next Treasurer of the State Central Committee?
MU: Increased transparency and better communication with Central Committee members.
MRN: What do you feel are the challenges that are facing the State Central Committee financially?
MU: We need too follow the example of more effective “Blue State” parties that win elections despite a challenging political environment. This includes developing and maintaining a base from like-minded supporters.
MRN: You mentioned that you "...found the financial reporting by the current Treasurer to be deficient at an especially critical time..." in your experience as a Montgomery County GOP Chair. Would you mind explaining that further?
MU: In July 2009 prior to a critical Executive Committee meeting Chris Cavey encouraged State Executive Committee members to contact Chris Rosenthal to learn more about the party's financial position. Yet when I tried to do so, Chris Rosenthal effectively contradicted Chris Cavey. At a time when the party leadership needed unvarnished information about our finances, as an Executive Committee member, I could not get the specific detail requested from the Treasurer.
Yet just a few weeks later I learned that Chris Rosenthal was actively contemplating in the making a recommendation that the Maryland State Republican Party consider seek bankruptcy "protection."
MRN: What do you feel is the most important visible role of the State Party Treasurer?
MRN: Do you have some specific ideas to improve upon the office of MD GOP Treasurer / to benefit the MD GOP's finances?
MU: Combined response for #8 & #9: A successful political party requires a team effort. I look forward to working with the other committee members whose names have been circulated as running for the other offices. But we need more transparency and openness.
MRN: What's the one thing you want to ensure Central Committee members know about your campaign / bid for Treasurer?
MU: I know that Conservatives and Republicans can win in a “Blue State” because I have been involved in multiple successful efforts to do it.
For example, from 1978 through 1990 I was a senior political operative for with the only person who has ever won four statewide elections in New York running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines. In 1993 and 1994 as Finance Chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party, I was actively involved with the successful election of a Republican Mayor and Governor in New York.
I thank Chairman Uncapher for his time and I wish him luck in his bid for MD GOP Treasurer. He is a highly qualified candidate and again, I thank him.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant.