Maryland GOP hires executive director

Eric Sutton, 26, served as a party official in Del.

January 09, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The Maryland Republican Party has hired former Delaware GOP official Eric Sutton as executive director, directing him to capitalize on the win of Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to build a competitive two-party system.

Sutton, 26, was introduced to Republican leaders this week, and accompanied new party Chairman John M. Kane in the State House yesterday during the General Assembly's opening day. His most recent experience is as Delaware Republican State Committee executive director.

"He comes from an environment that I said I was looking for: running a state party when the governor has control," Kane said. "He has a strong background in legislative races, grass roots and party-building."

But Delaware's governor, Ruth Ann Minner, is a Democrat. Delaware's last Republican governor left office in 1993.

Despite Sutton's age, "when you sit down after about 10 minutes with him, you realize he gets it," Kane said.

Sutton was a field director for the Ray Clatworthy campaign for Senate in Delaware, and was a field director for Texas Sen. Phil Gramm's presidential campaign in 1996.

He replaces Paul Ellington, whom Kane chose not to retain after taking over for former chairman and Lt. Gov.-elect Michael S. Steele. Ellington will become Steele's deputy chief of staff.

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