This Is the Most Awkward Moment in Md. Politics Since the Last Time This Happened

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Left to Right: Del. Mike Smigiel, Gov. Martin O'Malley, Del. Steve Hershey
Left to Right: Del. Mike Smigiel, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Del. Steve Hershey

This can’t be how anyone wanted it go down, but after Republican central committees in the Upper Eastern Shore counties that comprise the 36th state Senate district — Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, and Cecil — could not reach an agreement on who would succeed former Sen. E.J. Pipkin, it fell to the very, very Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley to choose between the two likely candidates, Del. Mike Smigiel and Del. Steve Hershey.

After an interview with each of the delegates, O’Malley selected Hershey, a choice the governor claims was “guided not by which candidate I would prefer, but rather by which candidate has demonstrated the broadest electoral support in the district.” That may very well be hogwash. The Sun points out that Hershey is the “less confrontational legislator,” and Smigiel thinks the choice has something to do with the fact that he “sued the governor three times and called him a ‘tyrant’ on the floor of the House of Delegates.”

But of course, whether O’Malley acted politically or not, the lion’s share of the blame has to be claimed by the GOP central committees, unless you believe — as Smigiel does — that the whole gridlock thing was the doing of Maryland’s Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who apparently has some kind of grudge against Pipkin and Smigiel.

The saddest part is that this is not the first time that O’Malley has had to choose between two potential Republican legislators after a gridlock among central committees. It happened in 2010 over a delegate seat.


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