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Maryland GOP Group Cuts Ties to Latino Caucus

September 14, 2003|From Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland Republican Party moved Saturday to sever its ties with the Maryland Hispanic Republican Caucus after the caucus chairman criticized Gov. Robert Ehrlich for not appointing Latinos to high-level jobs.

The party's executive committee voted 20-1 with two abstentions to recommend that the state central committee rescind a resolution recognizing the caucus as an affiliate of the state party. It also voted to create a new organization to reach out to Latino voters.

"We got sidetracked. We are back on track," said party Chairman John Kane.

Kane had threatened to strip the caucus of its designation as a party affiliate unless caucus chairman Jorge Ribas stepped down, but Ribas refused to resign and on Thursday the caucus executive committee voted overwhelmingly to retain him.

Ribas said Kane's actions to strip the recognition from his organization "creates serious problems for the credibility for the Republican Party in Maryland."

But Ribas said his organization will continue to work to build support for the GOP among Latino voters and welcomed plans for the new group.

Ribas angered Kane and Ehrlich when he released copies of a letter his organization sent to the governor asking him to appoint Latinos to high-level administration jobs.

"We have ways to voice our opinions ... but it should never become a circus," Kane said.

Two-thirds of the members of the state central committee, which meets in November, will have to approve the executive committee's recommendations for them to become effective.

If they are approved, the caucus will not be able to use the elephant as a symbol or use the word "Republican" in its title, Kane said.

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