Updated: Oct 19
The Maryland Federation of Republican Women (MFRW) recently conducted its bi-annual Board of Directors elections on Sunday, October 15, at the picturesque WISP Resort in Western Maryland. This event, traditionally marked by the smooth ratification of a carefully curated slate of candidates, unfolded differently this year, marked by opposition and spirited floor nominations.
The source of the controversy that loomed over this election was a MFRW Pride Month post that triggered a significant dissent among Maryland members. The post, while stirring emotions, remained on the MFRW's Facebook page, serving as a catalyst for escalating tensions. In a stance that drew an unmistakable line in the sand, the MFRW Board of Directors staunchly defended their June Pride Month post, provoking a noteworthy revolt among members. This insurrection put the Board of Director's slated candidates in a precarious position.
Who are the members of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women? The membership base encompasses 26 clubs strategically scattered across the State of Maryland, as delineated on the MFRW's official website. The Board of Directors reflects this geographical diversity, presenting a snapshot of the various clubs across the state.
The pivotal vote occurred on Sunday, October 15, in the afternoon, significantly later than anticipated. The tardiness was attributable to a candidate's flight delay from Texas, which, combined with existing grievances, fostered a less than harmonious atmosphere. Of the nine available positions, six board seats were subjected to floor nominations.
The original slate of candidates was as follows:
- President Sharon Carrick (Contested)
- Luanne Ruddell – First Vice President (Uncontested)
- Maria Sofia – Second Vice President (Contested)
- Tracey Longo – Third Vice President (Contested)
- Liliana Norkaitis – Fourth Vice President (Contested)
- Ann White – Treasurer (Uncontested)
- Diana Waterman – Assistant Treasurer (Contested)
- Melissa Brown – Recording Secretary (Uncontested)
- Corresponding Secretary - Open seat (Contested)
The election results divulged a divided mandate, with three of the contested seats emerging victorious, while the remaining three claimed their positions by narrow margins. This electoral outcome conveyed a message, loud and clear, to the incumbent Board of Directors - the membership's support for the current leadership was far from unanimous.
MFRW Facebook post October 16, 2023
Congratulations to those candidates who were nominated from the floor and won their candidacy, Second VP Vikki Birkett, Third VP Jana Hobbs and Corresponding Secretary Rebecca Tittermary. Congratulations to those who maintained their positions, President Sharon Carrick, First Vice President Luanne Ruddell, Fourth Vice President Liliana Norkaitis, Treasurer Ann White, Assistant Treasurer Diana Waterman and Recording Secretary Melissa Brown.
Remarkably, a parallel scenario unfolded two weeks prior at the National Federation of Republican Women, where a group of women orchestrated a slate from the floor, ultimately clinching victory. The central point of contention on the national stage revolved around the definition of "woman" and the preservation of female membership within the Republican Women's organization. The establishment slate was not willing to stand for female members. (More here) The newly elected #4fromthefloor made “Vote for XX” (meaning XX chromosomes) as their campaign slogan. Since the vote tally was not released, we will never know by what margin this issue won. (Full story here) Either way, just like Maryland it appears the conservative wing of the Republican party has wrestled control from the establishment Republicans…momentum is changing. This is big news.
The incoming MFRW officers are set to face a formidable task. The membership's collective voice has called for greater transparency, more effective communication channels with MFRW, and solid leadership support. The new officers will officially assume their roles at the Leadership Meeting scheduled for January 6, 2024. It is a pivotal juncture, fraught with expectations and aspirations for a more united and responsive Maryland Federation of Republican Women.