Campaign 2014: Wayne Norman Files in Redrawn Dist. 35 Senate; Reilly, Cassilly File for 35B House in Cecil County, Harford
The 2014 campaign for state legislative seats in western Cecil County will bring new names and faces in re-drawn Senate and House of Delegates districts, and two new Republican contenders declared their candidacy on Tuesday in Cecil County: Del. Wayne Norman, a Bel Air lawyer, seeking the new Senate 35th Dist. seat, and his ticket-mate Teresa Reilly, running for the 35B House seat.
Western Cecil is currently represented by Sen. Nancy Jacobs, but her old district was dramatically overhauled to delete Cecil County—which was crucial to her victory four years ago in that Harford-Cecil district. Jacobs decided to retire rather than run again in an all-Harford district, although she did briefly consider moving to Cecil County and running in the new 35th district.
But now Jacobs is endorsing Norman, and she introduced him warmly to a gathering of about 100 people, primarily from Harford County, at a campaign kick-off event at the Dove Valley vineyards and winery in Rising Sun. Jacobs described Norman as “a good friend” and “a faithful Republican” who is “strong for all the things we believe in.”
Norman currently holds a Harford-only delegate seat, to which he was appointed to fill a vacancy when then-Del. Barry Glassman was named to fill a Senate seat vacancy in 2008. Glassman is the incumbent in the 35th Senate district, but he has decided to run instead for Harford County Executive in 2014 and Norman is looking to move up to his Senate seat.
Norman, whose campaign signs bill him as a ‘common sense’ Republican, said he would “stand up for Republican principles” while also being a voice of “reason” and “moderation” who would work hard in Annapolis to represent the two counties in the district. Norman was a longtime member of the Harford GOP Central Committee and he won election to his House seat in 2010.
Outlining his key positions on issues, Norman said he was “pro-family and pro-life;” supported farmers and their concerns; was an advocate for small business; and “I’m a hunter…and I like guns.” He said he had 100 percent positive ratings from state groups representing right-to-life, farmers, small business and the National Rifle Association.
Even before formally filing his candidacy in Annapolis Tuesday, Norman has been working for several months to meet Cecil County voters and was a fixture at this summer’s county fair. Cecil County officials attending his announcement event included County Executive Tari Moore; County Council President Robert Hodge (R-5) and Councilor Alan McCarthy (R-1); and Perryville mayor James Eberhardt. Also attending was Harford County Executive David Craig, who has declared his candidacy for Governor in 2014.
Norman already has an opponent in the GOP primary: Michael A. Dawson, a former Perryville town commissioner who created a whirlwind of local controversy in his brief one-term stint on the panel.[ SEE previous Cecil Times report on Dawson’s Senate candidacy here:
Dawson– known locally as MAD Mike Dawson to differentiate him from Michael W. Dawson, a candidate for Cecil County Council in 2014—is linked to the “Campaign for Liberty” group that has been active in Harford and Cecil Counties and which has already targeted Norman.
Patrick McGrady, leader of the Harford chapter, is also a member of that county’s Republican Central Committee, which is currently split between C4L factions and more mainstream GOP members.
Norman is running on a ticket with Teresa Reilly, his longtime chief of staff and legislative aide in Annapolis, who is seeking to move up to the House seat Norman is giving up to run for Senate. She is also a member of the Harford GOP Central Committee.
Reilly, who said her family owned a restaurant in Baltimore for many years, said she was an advocate for small business and would bring that experience to her work if elected Delegate in Dist. 35B. She said the “liberals in Annapolis” were imposing unreasonable burdens of taxes and regulations on small business. “I’m a Republican, through and through,” she said.
Reilly already has a GOP primary opponent: Andrew Cassilly, of Havre de Grace, who filed his candidacy on 8/22/13. Cassilly is the assistant supervisor of resource conservation for the Harford County public schools, where he has been employed as a teacher and in various administrative positions for 24 years. His brother, Joseph Cassilly, is the Harford County State’s Attorney.
In an interview with Cecil Times, Cassilly said he had experience dealing with legislative issues in Annapolis and that he hoped to bring his background in cost-cutting for school facilities to broader government operations. He said a key part of his platform would be to reduce the “waste and dysfunction that currently exists in our in state government” so that taxes could be reduced.
“I think we are evenly matched,” he said of his rival, Reilly.
For Cecil County residents, the redistricting brings a host of questions, and confusion. Many western Cecil residents previously represented by Del. David Rudolph, a Democrat, now find themselves in the new 35B while Rudolph’s district (the new 35A) shifted eastward toward Elkton, to include more Democrat-friendly territory, courtesy of the Democratic governor and General Assembly’s approval of the new maps.
According to the state Planning Department, the new 35B is still a majority Harford County District, with a voting-age population of 46,684 Harford residents and 16,928 Cecil residents.
And the new district will have a second delegate, with current Harford County resident Del. Donna Stifler as an incumbent. She attended the Norman-Reilly event on Tuesday. She has not yet filed as a candidate in 2014, however.
In the Senate contest, Cecil County actually has a slim voting-age majority in the newly drawn district. State planning maps list a 48,949 Cecil County voting-age population and 46,684 for Harford County.
That means a Cecil County candidate with ties to Harford has a potentially strong shot at claiming the seat. Some local names have been mentioned in political circles but so far have not filed formal candidacy papers.
( For background information on the redistricting process and its effects on Cecil County legislative districts, see these past Cecil Times reports from 2011: Senate districts, read about it here:
And for House redistricting, read about it here: