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Chair Questionnaire

Nov 21, 2019

On December 7th we will hold a special election to elect a new Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, to replace Dr. Maya Rockeymore Cummings, who stepped down as Chair to run for Congress. In discussions with past Chairs on critical characteristics for the Chair of the Party to demonstrate, at this critical juncture of the political cycle, two characteristics came up repeatedly: 

  1. Availability: Recent Chairs have found this to be a nearly full time role, with considerable commitments on weekends and evenings across the state.
  2. Fundraising ability: In the next 12 months, the MDP must prepare to take a delegation to the 2020 Democratic National Convention, oversee the delegate selection process and the 2020 primary election, as well as execute a general election campaign. The incoming MDP Chair MUST be able to raise at least $1.5 Million each year for regular Party expenses, as well as another $1-2 million for election year expenses.

Because of the tight deadline, and to help the Candidates that may wish to run for this position, as well as to help inform the DSCC members, the Maryland Democratic Party’s Executive Committee officers have prepared a set of questions for all candidates for Chair in order to help inform DSCC members on the candidates, their qualifications, and their vision for the job. Though candidate participation in responding to these questions is optional, we highly encourage candidates to respond, in order to ensure members are proactively informed on relevant criteria for the position of Chair in advance of the vote at 10AM on December 7, 2019. 

For participating candidates, please submit your responses to the Maryland Democratic Party by the close of business on November 29, 2019. Responses can be emailed to Executive Director Ben Smith at [email protected]. All responses will be distributed simultaneously to the full DSCC membership on December 2, 2019, and made available in hard copy at the DSCC meeting on December 7, 2019. 

  1. Are you prepared to regularly devote 30+ hours per week to your duties as Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party?
  2. Do you have experience raising very large amounts of money on a sustained basis? Can you raise at least $1.5 million per year, on average, for the Maryland Democratic Party’s operations? Keep in mind, election year fundraising totals can require up to $3 million raised. Please give examples of your past fundraising activities and total amounts raised by those activities.
  3. Do you have a strong understanding of political campaigns? Please give examples of  your past campaign involvement, including titles, responsibilities, and outcomes.
  4. As Chair of the MDP, you must stay neutral in contested primaries– does this present an issue for you?
  5. The Maryland Democratic Party Chair is required to build consensus and maintain collegiality amongst a diverse set of voting constituencies, elected officials, advocacy organizations, and donors. What strong relationships within these spheres do you bring to the table? Please describe any experience you have building and/or managing coalitions within these spheres.
  6. What is your vision for the programming at the Maryland Democratic Party? 
  7. Are you able to travel to Democratic National Committee meetings and Association of State Democratic Committee meetings around the country on a regular basis? These meetings may occur as often as every 5 to 6 weeks. 
  8. Are you available to travel in your official capacity as MD Democratic Party Chair to the DNC Convention for at least a week in July 2020?
  9. Do you have experience with the Democratic National Convention, or relevant experience planning and managing large scale events that would be germane to the Maryland Democratic Party’s participation in the 2020 Convention? Keep in mind, Convention planning includes planning and funding 15+ events in one week, with attendance at each event numbering 300+ attendees, and planning requirements including travel, food, guest speakers, and a fundraising profit of $25,000+ per event. If so, please describe.
  10. Do you have experience managing a staff of 10 or more employees? If so, please describe this experience.