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Friday, December 18, 2009

Who Will Replace MD Delegate Weldon in District 3-B?

George Wenschhof

The not so unexpected announcement today that Rick Weldon has accepted the position of Executive Assistant to new City of Frederick Mayor Randy McClement and submitted his resignation as delegate starts the wheels moving on who will replace him in district 3-b.

The well liked Brunswick resident served in a similar position during Mayor James S. Grimes's administration. Mr. Weldon would then go on to be named to replace Frederick County Commissioner Illona Hogan (R) who had resigned. He would later successfully run as a Republican for the delegate seat in district 3-b.

A year ago, after falling from favor with some state Republicans over his vote in support for a "Maryland Slots Referendum", he changed his political party registration to "Unaffiliated" and announced he would not be seeking reelection in 2010.

Mr. Weldon's choice for this city position was rumored for some time as he had supported McClement's candidacy and also served on the transition team for the incoming mayor. He will bring experience to an all new mayor and board.

As was the case when Mr. Weldon was appointed to the vacant county commissioner seat, the process to fill his vacant delegate seat now begins. Adding some drama to this process is the state elections are held next year, giving the person named to fill this position an advantage. The appointed person will receive the attention of having been named to fill the open slot and have the benefit of being in office for almost a year before the September 2010 primary election.

One of the few powers a local central committee of a political party has is the submission of a name(s) to the Governor for appointment to fill seats which become vacant. In this local case, the question for the Frederick and Washington County Republican Central Committees will be who do they forward to the Governor?

Michael Hough, a member of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee has already announced he is running for this seat. In addition, Frederick County Commissioner Charles Jenkins has indicated his intent to run for the position. This will create an interesting decision for the local central committees as you can be assured neither announced candidate will favor the other being chosen. Of course, a selection by the committee of Charles Jenkins would then lead to another process of filling what would then be an open county commissioner seat which is also up for election next year. This makes the latter an unlikely choice.

Whispers have been heard however, that Commissioner Jenkins is having second thoughts in regard to running for delegate in district 3-b, in part due to the fund raising advantage Mr. Hough is believed to have over him. In addition, Jenkins may well decide he wants to continue his work as county commissioner, making the job of selecting the replacement for delegate by the Republican central committees a little easier.

The two Republican Central Committees are likely to advertise they will be interviewing for the position and probably choose at least three of the applicants who they will interview so it is also possible another name will surface who would be submitted to Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley for approval. The central committees could also hope for an applicant who only wants to serve the remaining year of the term and who would not run for election in 2010. This selection would avoid any unpleasant circumstances arising from the announced Republican candidates.

Another strange wrinkle would be if the local Democratic central committees would claim they have the right to also submit a name(s) to the Governor due to the fact Mr. Weldon was a "Unaffiliated" delegate and not a Republican delegate.

Stay Tuned....


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