Harris Botches First Major MDGOP Decision
Instead of Hiring Somebody With Extensive Maryland Experience, the new State Party Chair made the mistake of hiring an outsider.
Nicole Beus Harris has barely been on the job as Maryland Republican Party Chairman for a week and she has already dropped the ball.
Adam Wood was announced as Harris’s choice for Maryland GOP Executive Director today in a press release from the party:
Annapolis, Maryland ̶ Newly-elected Maryland Republican Party Chairman Nicole Beus Harris announced the hiring of a new Executive Director on Monday.
“Adam Wood has a wealth of political knowledge and an extensive background in campaigns, activism, and policy, both on the national and state levels. Furthermore, Mr. Wood’s past work with both the Tea Party/House Freedom Caucus conservatives and the Republican Governance Group/Tuesday Group moderate Republicans will bolster communication and unification within the party. He will be a key resource in our efforts to build a robust and effective party structure in the State of Maryland,” said Chairman Harris.
Wood has previously managed campaigns across the country, both at the Congressional and state-wide levels. He has also worked on Capitol Hill for nearly a decade, as well as with numerous activist groups on both policy and advocacy. During this time he has worked with the Freedom Caucus, the Tuesday Group, and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, making him uniquely qualified to work in harmony with the entire MDGOP.
Harris conveniently left out one minor fact: that Wood was the campaign manager for Nicolee Ambrose’s failed Congressional campaign this year. Something easily discernible on Wood’s Twitter page.
That Harris decided to hire somebody with such a connection to Nicolee Ambrose, who has been the biggest impediment to the Republican Party getting its act together, is something likely to concern a great number of Republican activists and party officials.
On top of it, Harris apparently made the hire and submitted the press release before key players in the Maryland Republican Party were notified. That Republican leadership found out about Wood’s hire from a press release instead of being notified by the Chair is the definition of dysfunction.
Prior to working for Ambrose, Wood was working in campaigns in North Carolina, including a campaign loss for Sandy Roberson earlier in 2022.
The big issue with Wood’s hire is not Wood himself, but Wood’s complete lack of experience in Maryland beyond working a few months from a candidate bound to blow whatever chance she had.
Maryland is a unique state with a unique political environment. The different regions, the different factions that exist within the state part. The political geography is very challenging even for seasoned leaders with experience in Maryland.
Now, airdrop somebody into that situation with no knowledge of any of that, right after an embarrassing election, a nearly wiped-out bench, no money, no power, and little influence? That’s like picking somebody off the street and asking them to diffuse a nuclear bomb. It’s just setting someone up to fail.
Maryland isn’t Raleigh, it isn’t August, Georgia, and it isn’t Kalispell, Montana. It’s a weird state with weird problems, many of which are self-inflicted. That lack of knowledge spells doom for any outsider.
Some of you are probably thinking to yourself “no, it’s a good thing to bring in an outsider after this kind of election.” Well, it is not a coincidence that the greatest success that the Maryland Republican Party has had in the last three decades is when a Marylander is serving as the Executive Director of the State Party. And it isn’t a coincidence that some of the greatest snafus in Maryland Republican Party history have come when outsiders come into Maryland, think they know what works, and then it blows up in their faces.
The big difference? The Marylanders have to live here and live with the consequences of their successes or failures. The out-of-staters just bail to the next gig.
You may also be thinking that “well, maybe nobody in Maryland wanted the job”. Well, multiple sources have told The Duckpin that there were several interested candidates with Maryland connections and a track record of success who were seeking the job, but none of them heard back regarding the vacancy.
Maybe I am wrong. Maybe Wood will be the first out-of-state success story in the history of the position. Or maybe this is the start of the last act of the Maryland GOP, as the Harris-Ambrose Clique burns the remnants of the party to the ground. Time will tell, but it is an auspicious start that is leaving a lot of what’s left of the Maryland Republican Party with a bad taste in their mouth.