A September 18 MarylandReporter.com article reports that Governor Martin O’Malley has selected Delegate Stephen Hershey to fill the seat vacated by Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Senator Pipkin surprised many by announcing his intent to resign effective August 12 to pursue a career in sports management. His resignation created a vacuum in District 36 on the upper and middle Eastern Shore and led to some controversy as the GOP central committees of Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s Counties were left to nominate a replacement. Ultimately, the central committees split on two candidates: Delegates Mike Smigiel and Steve Hershey. Their names were forwarded to Governor O’Malley for confirmation. Traditionally, a Governor will confirm the person who is nominated but in a case where multiple names are submitted, the Governor will choose between them. From the article:
O’Malley said his decision was based on recognition of broader support for Hershey in District 36. He also said the choice should not have been his to make.
“I respect both Delegate Smigiel and Delegate Hershey,” O’Malley said in a press release Wednesday morning. “Filling a Republican vacancy is a matter that should have been resolved by the Republican Central Committees of the District. Rather than resolving their differences, the Republican Central Committee has forwarded two names to my desk.
“In discharging my Constitutional duty of selecting just one of these candidates, I am guided not by which candidate I would prefer, but rather by which candidate has demonstrated the broadest electoral support in the district. In both the Central Committee balloting and the last general election, Del. Hershey has demonstrated a broader base of support, and therefore, I have decided to appoint Delegate Hershey to fill this Senate vacancy.”
Del. Mike Smigiel left with Del. Steve Hershey with Gov. Martin O’Malley, seated, at a May 2 bill signing. (Source: MarylandReporter.com)
A September 18 Easton Star Democrat article reports on the reactions of the two nominees:
Hershey said he received word of his selection around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, from Jeanne Hitchcock, the governor’s appointments secretary.
“I had a big smile on my face and my wife had a few tears,” after the call, Hershey said in an interview. “It was a moment of relief and happiness. It’s been a long 45 days.”
“I’m thrilled and humbled by the support I received during the nomination process. It’s been a very humbling experience,” he added. …
Smigiel said in an interview that he was disappointed but not surprised.
“I mean, I’ve sued the governor three times. In the last session I called him a tyrant and said that while the Liberty Tree is not being watered yet, she’s parched. Either he had to have a bad memory or a good sense of humor if I was going to get appointed. Apparently, he has neither,” Smigiel said. …
Hershey and Smigiel both said they believe there will continue to be harmony in the delegation following the hard-fought campaign to succeed Pipkin.
Both Delegates Hershey and Smigiel have announced that they will run for the Senate seat in 2014.
September 18 Washington Post Coverage