CENTREVILLE, MD – Maryland Senator E. J. Pipkin (R-36) has resigned to enjoy graduate school and no state income tax at Southern Methodist University. The feeding frenzy to replace the center / right Republican has begun with thirteen men and one woman applying for his seat:
Steven J. Arentz Queen Anne’s County
R. Scott Bramble Cecil County
Frank W. Frohn Queen Anne’s County
John L. Graham Queen Anne’s County
Stephen S. Hershey, Jr. Queen Anne’s County
Andrew Langer Queen Anne’s County
Timothy McCluskey Queen Anne’s County
Audrey E. Scott Queen Anne’s County
Michael D. Smigiel, Sr. Cecil County
Richard A. Sossi Queen Anne’s County
Robert A. Thornton, Jr. Caroline County
John L. Walter Queen Anne’s County
John J. Walton, Jr. Caroline County
Eric S. Wargotz Queen Anne’s County
Two incumbent delegates (Smigiel and Hershey) and one former delegate (Sossi) have thrown their names in the pot along with former MDGOP chairwoman Audrey Scott and the Eastern Shore version of Harold Stassen – Dr. Eric Wargotz. Probably the most interesting name on the list is Andrew Langer.
Langer is a strong, libertarian leaning, conservative. Langer is principled but not an ideologue. This would allow the 36th district to have a strong conservative senator who could also get thing done. (While I agree with much of his analysis, Monoblogue’s Michael Swartz characterizes Langer as a “bomb thrower”. I have to respectfully disagree.)
While Scott was an excellent party chairman, another moderate senator is NOT what Maryland (or the MDGOP) needs.
What about Smigiel and Hershey? Maryland is one of the few states where delegates serve the same term lengths as senators. Why give up seniority in the House?
The coming weeks will be interesting. Each county central committee (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s) gets one vote. However, most of the district’s population is in Queen Anne’s. Given the breadth of candidates, Pipkin’s successor should come from QAC. The question is who.