Republicans Kick Up Their Heels, Raise $400,000 for State GOP|
By Kathleen Cullinan
Capital News Service
Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005
It's a good week to be a Republican in Maryland.
President Bush is being sworn in to his second term today, one day after his
re-election campaign manager, Baltimore County native Ken Mehlman, was
officially named chairman of the Republican National Committee.
And the state
party raised $400,000 at a glittery gala Tuesday in Washington --
marred only briefly by an unrelated police standoff a few blocks away
and Gov. Robert Ehrlich's continuing standoff with The (Baltimore) Sun
at the party.
"Tonight's a fun night," Ehrlich said, as 1,000 party-goers clad in
sparkling gowns and crisp black tuxedos mingled in the ornate halls of
the 80-year-old U.S. Chamber of Commerce building.
The governor, sporting a Maryland-flag patterned bowtie, called the
fund-raising party "just a short break from the reality of our jobs."
There was no break, however, from Ehrlich's feud with The Sun.
After briskly walking past three reporters on his way in -- two from
Capital News Service and one from The Sun -- Ehrlich invited the two
CNS reporters back for a private interview. Sun reporter David Nitkin
was not invited.
The governor in November said he would no longer speak to Nitkin or
Sun columnist Michael Olesker, and issued a memo ordering workers in
his administration to do likewise.
"I'm disappointed that the governor continues to refuse to speak
with me," Nitkin said Wednesday. "I'm going to continue to try to do
Nitkin was eventually invited back for a brief interview with Doro
Bush Koch, the president's sister, in whose honor the gala was thrown.
Her father, former President George H.W. Bush, was invited Tuesday
but did not show up. But that did not appear to put a damper on the
spirits of the party -- or its fund-raising.
Invitations to the event touted tickets for $300 and VIP tickets
for $1,250. State party Chairman John Kane said all but 30 of the
tickets had been sold by Tuesday morning.
"We're very happy with the results," Kane said.
Party officials said they raised about $400,000 at the event, their
second-biggest yearly event, and the money will go toward the party's
operating costs, such as rent and salaries.
A state Democratic Party official said the results only pointed to
the fact that Maryland Republicans are "enjoying the fact they have a
fund-raiser-in-chief who really should be governing the state" instead
of focusing his efforts on party finances.
"The governor's going to have a rude awakening in two years," said
Josh White, executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party.
But GOP party-goers proved their mettle Tuesday, walking through
swirling winds to reach the event after a police stand-off outside
between a disgruntled van driver and police prompted street closures
and snarled traffic throughout the downtown area.
Besides honoring the first baby sister, state Republicans were also
celebrating Mehlman's selection to run the national party. Mehlman
made an appearance for about an hour, but left the party at 8:30 p.m.
2005 University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of
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