PHILADELPHIA – Maryland’s Republican delegation broke with tradition Tuesday night and let the sister of presumptive presidential nominee George W. Bush deliver the delegation’s 31 votes.
Delegation chairman Ellen Sauerbrey, who would normally announce the vote, said she decided to hand the job to Bush’s baby sister, Dorothy “Doro” Bush Koch, of Bethesda, in an attempt to have a more personal announcement. Koch delivered, avoiding the overt political statements of some other delegations in favor of the personal.
“My name is Doro Bush Koch. I’m proud to be the sister of George W. Bush. As a parent, I value our state’s unique and rich way of life. Our scientists, doctors, farmers, fishermen, educators and our serving men and women are just a few of Maryland’s unique contributions to our great nation,” she said.
“On behalf of the Maryland delegation, I proudly cast all 31 votes for my brother, the next president of the United States, George W. Bush.” Koch concluded.
The honor of announcing the Maryland delegation’s votes, typically broadcast nationwide as part of the coverage of the convention, typically went to the chairman of the delegation. At the 1996 convention, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville, spoke of great men and landmarks of Maryland before casting Maryland’s votes.
But Sauerbrey said she thought it would be appropriate to invite Bush’s sister to make the announcement.
“She’s a warm, down-to-Earth person. She’s lovely. and we’re proud to have her as part of Maryland,” Sauerbrey said. “At first we weren’t sure if it was permissible under the rules, but we checked and it was fine.”
Most members of the delegation said there was no controversy involving the decision.
“This is a non-issue because the group is so much in harmony,” said Harford County Executive Jim Harkins, a delegate to the convention. “Doro Bush will be great for Maryland because she gives us a connection to the candidate.”
The original plan was to have Sauerbrey introduce Koch, but they both agreed it would be distracting and would cut into the 60 seconds the state was given to speak. Sauerbrey decided to forgo the introduction and gave Koch the full time.
Although not as politically active as her siblings, delegates said Koch has done a lot of fund raising and campaigning for her brother in Maryland. Koch participated in fund raisers in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Baltimore City both during and after the primaries.
Although she said it would be difficult, Koch has said her brother could win Maryland.
“I work locally in Maryland, which is not the most Republican-friendly state, but I think we can win it,” Koch said on Monday’s “Larry King Live.”