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Lines of succession, part 2

Yesterday I speculated about some of the possible scenarios across the Mason-Dixon Line from me in Delaware should Sen. Joe Biden be elevated to the office of Vice-President. In going through some of my older e-mail I found that the same musical chairs game is already being played should State Senator Andy Harris win election this November and become one of the freshman class of 2008 in the hallowed halls of Congress.

Three candidates have made it known that they’d like the free pass to the Senate chamber that would come should Harris win. One of them, J.B. Jennings, already serves as a District 7 Delegate, while another is a former Delegate, Al Redmer. The third man in the unofficial race is Baltimore County restaurant owner Sergio Vitale, who held a recent fundraiser in West Ocean City that raised both $28,000 and probably the eyebrows of his two prospective opponents. (All three links are from the PolitickerMD website and writer Danny Reiter.)

Since Article 3 of the Maryland Constitution places the decision in the hands of each county’s Republican Central Committee, both counties involved would have to come to some sort of an agreement on a candidate – otherwise, Governor O’Malley will get to select whichever Republican he wants to serve, and it’s doubtful he’d pick anything close to the conservative which Andy Harris is.

Certainly none of the three aspirants are completely in the mold of Harris, but Jennings currently ranks #8 among all House members on my monoblogue Accountability Project for this term. While Redmer was a Delegate for 12 years – serving a portion of that time as Minority Leader – his term in office concluded prior to the Maryland Accountability rankings so there’s no clear indication of how he’d succeed Harris as far as voting pattern goes. Meanwhile, comments on the post announcing Vitale’s fundraiser noted that Vitale has also given money to Democrats as well as Republicans, but no context was provided for the contributions.

In any case, Harris’s successor would have two sessions of the General Assembly to prove his (or her, if a woman throws her hat into the ring) mettle prior to facing voters in 2010. Naturally the Democrats would see this as a vulnerable seat and throw plenty of resources into the fight, which bolsters Vitale’s case based on fundraising prowess. But the power of incumbency would benefit both Jennings’ and Redmer’s chances of future success.

Obviously if Jennings succeeds in replacing Harris, the two other officeseekers could revive their efforts to securing the District 7 Delegate seat. This and many other “what if?” scenarios based on who wins elections and who succeeds those who vacate their previous office drive the parlor game to which modern-day politics has devolved.

Crossposted on monoblogue.






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