Wednesday, June 5, 2013

WHOA: Sen. Rob Garagiola to Resign from Office // PLUS: The Coming Battle for Majority Leader & An Open D15 Delegate Seat

Maryland Juice's Internet terminal started buzzing this evening with news that State Senator Rob Garagiola is resigning from his District 15 Seat and job as Majority Leader! The Washington Post's John Wagner has the scoop (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Senate Majority Leader Robert A. Garagiola (D-Montgomery), once among the state’s brightest young political stars, said Wednesday he plans to resign his seat this fall and has no plans to seek elected office....

Garagiola said he planned to leave the Senate when his term expires in January 2015 and more recently began thinking about stepping down sooner. His resignation will take effect Sept. 1.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will be tasked with recommending a replacement for Garagiola to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). Several lawmakers and legislative aides suggested Del. Brian J. Feldman (D-Montgomery) would be the leading contender....

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? //  A SENATE BATTLE AND OPEN DELEGATE SEAT IN 2014 - The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) will nominate a replacement for the District 15 State Senate seat, subject to approval by Gov. O'Malley. Note that there is still one legislation session remaining in Garagiola's term, so his successor will need to be able to hit the ground running. The question then raised is whether the MCDCC will appoint a caretaker who promises not to run in 2014, or whether they appoint a sitting elected who then has a leg up on competition in 2014.

Another interesting dynamic here is that people of color, women and immigrant-based communities have been clamoring for greater representation in Democratic politics, and so that may be a factor in the appointment process. At some points in the past, the MCDCC has faced scrutiny for not recommending the appointment of women and racial/ethnic minorities for past high-profile vacancies. Either way, it is near certain that one of the sitting Delegates will either be appointed to the D15 Senate seat or will seek the office in 2014. That means we will not only have a Senate battle on our hands, but we can likely look forward to an open Delegate seat in District 15.

A NEW SENATE MAJORITY LEADER IS COMING SOON - The resignation of State Senator Garagiola also means that his post as Majority Leader will now be vacant. This too could lead to a showdown, as a large amount of pent up ambition in the Senate now has a rung on the ladder to fight for. Maryland Juice will be keeping his eyes on the coming showdown!

MEANWHILE IN BALTIMORE COUNTY //  SEN. BOBBY ZIRKIN RUNNING FOR RE-ELECTION - This is old news by now, but since the make-up of the Senate Democratic Caucus will be changing, I thought it was worth printing that State Senator Bobby Zirkin is running for re-election. We previously printed rumors that he was thinking of retiring at the end of his term, but Catonsville reported that he decided to stay put (excerpt below):
PATCH: Democratic State Sen. Bobby Zirkin is running for re-election in 2014 after all. Zirkin, in a text message to a reporter late Friday, write that he "officially filed for Senate today." The decision to run for a third term in the Maryland Senate comes a month after an interview in which he said he was considering leaving public office....


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