Carroll County GOP Central Committee Surprises in Selection of Robin Bartlett Frazier to Fill District 5 Senate Seat

In what comes as a shock to many, on Friday, January 9, the Carroll County Republican Central Committee selected outgoing Carroll County Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier as its recommendation to replace Senator Joe Getty who gave up his District 5 seat in the Maryland Senate to serve as Larry Hogan’s Policy and Legislative Director.

Many in Carroll County were stunned at the selection given that Frazier was soundly beaten in her reelection bid for County Commissioner for District 1 in the primary, where she received little more than 38% of the vote, and then was trounced in the general election where she mounted a write-in campaign against the Republican nominee and received less than 9% of the vote.

Even more surprising is the manner in which the pick was made – the Central Committee conducted the entire process behind a shroud of secrecy, refusing to name candidates under consideration publicly, not allowing public input, and then choosing their candidate in a secret ballot.

When contacted via telephone on Saturday, January 10, Carroll Central Committee spokesman and Vice-Chair Larry Helminiak declined to disclose how many members voted in favor of Frazier, nor would he disclose how each member voted. Helminiak did confirm that all members where present and voted, which means that Committee Member Amy Gilford, recently employed as a Research Assistant to Commission Frazier, took part in the vote.

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Before her election losses, Frazier was widely criticized as engaging in grandstanding on issues having nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of running county government, and ensnarling Carroll County in costly litigation in connection with those issues.

Policy issues aside, the manner in which Frazier was picked coupled with her rejection twice at the polls and with her party disloyalty in waging a write-in campaign against her own party’s nominee is considered by many in the Carroll GOP as an affront to the democratic process and voters of Carroll County, and might be considered as a sign that the views members of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee are out of step with the majority of GOP voters in Carroll.

The only other candidate who publicly declared his desire to replace Getty and reported that he had officially applied for consideration by the Central Committee was one-term incumbent Delegate Justin Ready, who represents the newly formed District 5, which encompasses most of Carroll County. In last year’s vote-for-three primary Ready earned the most votes, and in the general election he garnered nearly 35,000 votes, finishing only a couple hundred votes behind Delegate Susan Krebs, who was fist elected in 2002 in District 9B. Robin Bartlett Frazier was able to muster just less than 3,000 votes between the primary and general elections.

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