William Campbell was the GOP candidate for Comptroller of Maryland in 2010. Campbell has 2 decades of Chief Financial Officer experience, including stints as CFO for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). He has decided to throw his name in the ring as a candidate for MD GOP Chair. Below are his answers to some of my questions about the direction of the State GOP and the issues facing the party.
Matthew R. Newman: What made you decide to run for the Maryland Republican Party Chairman?
William H. Campbell: The Maryland Republican Party is in a precarious position. We are outnumbered by a two to one ratio for voter registration by the Democrats, have been pummeled in the recent general election, and are split into several factions. These are perilous times for us. We need to reform our party in a manner that will unite us into a cohesive and competitive team. If we fail Maryland will continue its downward economic spiral.We will need a Chair that can unite the disparate factions, formulate a comprehensive plan for the next five years, and be an effective administrator of a volunteer organization. I believe that I am well qualified to fill that role.
MRN: How do you feel that the State Party performed during the 2010 election?
WHC: As I stated previously, we were pummeled. We lost every statewide contest by wide margins in spite of having excellent candidates. Andy Harris’ victory for the U.S. House of Representatives was an exception. Although we made gains in local elections this cannot take the sting out of the 2010 election results. We continue to be a marginal entity in Maryland politics.
MRN: How do you feel your experiences in the private sector help you for the role of State Party Chairman?
WHC: I am an excellent administrator, and I will be able to organize, plan and execute our rebuilding and prepare us for the 2012 election cycle. I have been the National President of the 18,000 member American Society of Military Comptrollers (ASMC) twice, a volunteer member organization that has many similarities with the MDGOP. I transformed ASMC from an organization that was financially challenged into a well funded one with substantial financial reserves.
MRN: What are your thoughts on outgoing Chair Audrey Scott?
WHC: I like and respect Audrey, and believe that she did a great job under very trying circumstances.
MRN: What do you feel is the most important role of the GOP State Central Committee?
WHC: The MDGOP must provide the infrastructure and resources to train, develop, and support a full slate of highly qualified Republican candidates and win elections. We cannot continue to leave Democrats unopposed, or faced by inadequately funded Republican candidates.
MRN: What would be your top priority if selected as the next Chair of the State Central Committee?
WHC: My top priority will be to unify the various factions of our party into an effective and successful political movement. Party unity and cohesion are absolutely crucial for us to win the Offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General, and control of the General Assembly.
MRN: What is your opinion on Rule 11s role in the 2010 election cycle?
WHC: I cannot think of any good reason to ever waive Rule 11. The recent instance where we did so was a disaster. It caused a deep wound that lingers still. Every Republican candidate should receive their nomination as a result of a competitive contest. This allows for complete vetting of both the candidates and their positions.
MRN: What do you think the Republican Party should do to make inroads/grow the party in traditionally heavily Democratic areas like Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, and Baltimore City?
WHC: We have to do a comprehensive outreach and education effort to reach unaffiliated voters, and soft Democrats in these three jurisdictions. We need an approach that highlights how responsible management of the State’s finances and economy will benefit them. Merely reciting our values and policy positions will not gain their attention and support. We must start immediately and be persistent.
We cannot be successful if we only visit these jurisdictions during the election cycle. This will be the most difficult task that we will undertake, but it is crucial to our future success. We will remain a minority, marginalized party if we do not move our voter registration toward parity with the Democrats.
MRN: As someone relatively new to the political scene, how do you plan to raise the funds necessary to keep the party operating?
WHC: Fund raising is always difficult, particularly between election cycles and when your party is not in power. That said, I have the ability to concentrate a significant amount of time to fundraising. In partnership with the State Central Committee, I would develop a comprehensive budget to determine what our financing needs will be, and use those annual figures to focus our fundraising campaign. I would make early courtesy calls on our traditional donors, and explore the use of social media to reach small donors and expand our donor base.
MRN: In closing, what is one thing you want to ensure the Central Committee members and general party members know about you and your campaign?
WHC: Although the MDGOP is in a difficult position, we have the opportunity to rebuild our party and have a successful and sustainable future. This will require us to harmonize the activities of the various MDGOP factions. We need a Chair to lead the effort, who is not viewed as an advocate for any faction, and who has the respect of all parties. I traveled across the State and received over 691,000 votes. I believe that I will have the support of all Maryland Republicans to be a successful MDGOP Chair.
I thank Mr. Campbell for his time and wish him luck in his bid for MD GOP Chair. If you'd like to learn more, check out his other interview at RedMaryland.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant.