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Cecil Business Leaders PAC Endorses Tari Moore in GOP Primary for Cecil County Executive

February 22, 2012
By Nancy Schwerzler

A business political action committee, organized last year in dissatisfaction with the current leadership of Cecil County government, Tuesday endorsed Tari Moore in the Republican primary for county executive.

The board of the group, Cecil Business Leaders for Better Government, voted unanimously to endorse Moore, a first-term County Commissioner from District 2, in her bid in the April 3 GOP primary. Six other candidates are competing with her in that primary.

Mario Gangemi, vice-chairman of the PAC, told Cecil Times that the group “may” endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary as well but no decision has yet been made. He said the group has interviewed all three Democratic candidates in that party’s primary.

David Williams, chairman of the PAC, said in a statement that the board members
“feel confident that Tari possesses the knowledge and required skill to successfully implement charter government next December, 2012. Her past experiences including those acquired in her current position of County Commissioner have prepared her for this position.”

Williams added that Board members “noted her work in Annapolis as the Cecil County representative to the Maryland Association of Counties as one of many factors that influenced their decision.”

Gangemi said the group felt Moore had “been a voice for Cecil County in Annapolis” and it was important to “let Annapolis know how we feel in Cecil County” on important issues. He said that most members of the PAC board were present for Tuesday’s vote and they were “excited” to support her candidacy in the GOP primary.

The Moore endorsement came after the PAC sidestepped taking a stand in the county executive contest recently when it announced its endorsements of two sitting Circuit Court judges—Keith Baynes and Jane Cairns Murray—and two County Council candidates: incumbent Robert Hodge (R-5) and Dr. Alan McCarthy, who is challenging incumbent James Mullin (R-1) in the GOP primary.

[SEE previous Cecil Times report here: http://ceciltimes.com/2012/02/cecil-county-business-pac-backs-hodge-mccarthy-for-council-sidesteps-endorsement-for-county-executive/ ]

One of the concerns among some members of the group was the impact of Moore giving up her commissioner/County Council seat if she were elected as County Executive, since her replacement would be made from a list of three candidates selected by the Republican Central Committee, which is dominated by allies of the Smipkin political organization aligned with Del. Michael Smigiel and Sen. E.J. Pipkin, both R-36.

Moore and Hodge have been a minority voting duo on the current commissioners’ board, with Mullin and Commissioners Michael Dunn (R-3) and Diana Broomell (R-4) voting together most of the time. Especially on appointments to various boards and advisory panels, the Smipkin leadership has directed the board’s choices.

In recent days, sources said, Moore has been promoting scenarios under which she suggested that the new County Council could become deadlocked on a choice of her successor, and in that case, she would get to pick her own successor—albeit, from the list of names submitted by the GOP central committee.

So far, the business leaders PAC has held a meet the candidates event for its previously announced endorsees. Gangemi said he expected the PAC would hold a fundraising event soon and that there had been no decision made yet on whether the group would directly donate money to candidates’ campaign funds.

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