Saturday, September 24, 2011

District 14 Democratic Central Committee Vacancy // Plus, A Brief History of Central Committees in MD

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) currently has a vacancy for state legislative District 14. We reprint details below, but Maryland Juice thinks this is also a good opportunity to provide a quick background on political party central committees in Maryland.

The Maryland State Archives provide a brief history that I excerpt below:
Each political party in Maryland functions under its own constitution and bylaws, and is governed by a state central committee (Code Election Law Article, secs. 4-201 through 4-205). Today, the state central committee is composed of the members of the party's local central committees for the counties and Baltimore City.

State central committees evolved at the end of the nineteenth century as progressive reforms transformed the electoral process, and the procedure for voting came to be more closely regulated. When primary elections developed at the end of the nineteenth century, state central committees formed to oversee their conduct....
Notably, it is not inconceivable that District 14 may face a state legislative vacancy sometime in the not too distant future. This is of interest because one of the most important functions a Central Committee member serves today, is to vote on replacements to fill legislative vacancies. As MSA further notes:
In recent times, an important function of state central committees has been to name those who will replace General Assembly members who have died, resigned, refused to act, or been disqualified, expelled, or removed from office (Chapter 584, Acts of 1935, ratified Nov. 3, 1936). Although the Governor makes the appointment to fill a vacancy in the General Assembly, the Governor must select the person nominated by the state central committee of the party with which the vacating legislator had been affiliated (Const., Art III, sec. 13).
The topic of vacancies being filled by Central Committee members has been controversial in the past. Adam Pagnucco of Maryland Politics Watch (MPW) had numerous entries relating to issues with legislative vacancy appointments, including in Maryland Districts 2A, 16, 18 and 39. More importantly, MPW in the past discussed proposals to reform Maryland legislative appointments, such as by replacing them with special elections. The issue seems to have died down after a spurt of activity a few years ago, though.

In any case, here is the MCDCC's vacancy announcement. Note that applications are due MON 10/10 by 5 pm:
The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will hold an election at its next regularly scheduled meeting -- Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 7:30 p.m., 3720 Farragut Ave., #303, Kensington -- to fill a District 14 voting position on the Committee. Maryland’s 14th Legislative District is in northern Montgomery County and comprises the communities of: Ashton, Brinklow, Brookeville, Burtonsville, Calverton, Cloverly, Colesville, Damascus, Fairland, Goshen, Laytonsville, Montgomery Village, Olney, Sandy Spring, Silver Spring, Spencerville and Sunshine.
Anyone who is a registered Democrat and resides in Legislative District 14 may apply for the position by e-mailing or faxing a cover letter and their resume to the Central Committee no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, October 10. (We encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible.) Email:; Fax: 301-946-1002.


  1. It is never inconceivable that there be a legislative vacancy. That said, the all of the council seats and legislature seats are on the ballot in 2014. If Delegate Luedtke were to run for the Council and win, it would be at the same time as others running for the House of Delegates on the ballot. There would be no legislative vacancy. Unless there is a chance of a council vacancy prior to 2014 you are aware of?


  2. Man, you guys are a tough crowd. You're the second person to mention this. I'll admit, I was looking for a hypothetical to highlight the vacancy/appointment process delegated to the Central Committee. Granted, a D14 appointment is very unlikely, but my hypothetical scenario would involve Councilmember Ervin or one of the D14 members being drafted into a new role. Stranger things have happened. :)