BULLETIN: Audrey Scott, ex- State GOP Chair, Wins Key Support in Race to fill Pipkin Senate Seat
Audrey Scott, the former Maryland Republican Party chairwoman, has won key support from two countiesâ€™ GOP party committees in her quest to fill the state Senate seat vacated recently by E.J. Pipkin in the four-county 36th Districtâ€”leaving her the current leader in the crowded field of candidates for the post.
The district covers four countiesâ€”Cecil, Queen Anneâ€™s, Kent and Carolineâ€”and each local GOP committee gets one vote in the selection process to fill the vacant seat. Under the state Constitution, in a multi-county legislative district, “if there is a tie vote between or among the central committees the list of names there proposed shall be submitted to the Governor and he shall make the appointment from the list.”
Scott, who also served as state Secretary of Planning in the former Ehrlich administration, is a relatively new resident of Queen Anneâ€™s County and she won the endorsement of that countyâ€™s Republican Central Committee Tuesday night. That decision was announced on an internet radio broadcast Wednesday night by the local committeeâ€™s chairwoman, Andi Moronyâ€”who is also chief of staff to a rival candidate, Cecil County Del. Michael Smigiel.
As expected, Smigiel won the support Wednesday of the Cecil County GOP committee, which he and Pipkin have controlled since the 2010 election, when they ran a â€śslateâ€ť of candidates loyal to their â€śSmipkinâ€ť political organization.
Meanwhile, Kent County also supported Scott at what sources described as a â€ścaucusâ€ť on Wednesday. It was not immediately certain if that constituted a formal, binding vote but the panelâ€™s preference was clear.
The last remaining county, Caroline, has not yet weighed in. But Caroline County Republicans have a pressing local agenda: finding a way to get their county a resident representative after nearly two decades of being the only county in the state without a local Delegate sent to Annapolis.
For Caroline to achieve its goal of having a potential local voice in the General Assembly, that means freeing up an existing Delegate seatâ€”either Smigielâ€™s from Cecil or the Queen Anneâ€™s County seat now held by freshman Del. Steve Hersheyâ€”that would then be filled via a similar county GOP committee process. Hershey also threw his hat into the ring for the appointment to the Pipkin Senate seat.
But from a practical standpoint, with a potential tie in local committee choices, the final decision is likely to be made by Gov. Martin Oâ€™Malley, a Democrat. Smigiel has sued the state government and officials on several occasions and frequently attacks the governor, in personal terms.
Scott, the former mayor of Bowie, has had a long political and government career and is well-known in Annapolis. She is also the only woman candidate among the 14 people who applied for consideration for the Senate seat appointment.