I’ve gotten a lot of interesting feedback on my post about who might be the next Majority Leader of the State State. Several things have been made clear to me by our very impassioned readers:
The first is that Paul Pinsky is not on Mike Miller’s short list, long list or any other list for this position. Considering what a progressive, reform minded individual he is, I doubt this bothers him very much.
The second is that Rich Madaleno and Catherine Pugh are the clear front runners in the estimation of pretty much everybody. The smart money appears to be on Pugh, but the broad conventional wisdom leans towards Madaleno.
Both would be history making in their own way. As far as I can tell, Catherine Pugh would be the first female Majority Leader, and the first African American to serve in this role since Clarence Blount. Madaleno would be the first LGBT Individual to serve in the role.
Third, If he is passed over the Chairmanship of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Jamie Raskin may find himself pressing for the Majority Leader post.
Fourth, Roger Manno, Nancy King and Bobby Zirkin may each have an outside shot but they probably aren’t near the top of this list.
Fifth, several legislators facing reelections with varying degrees of competitiveness may have a bank shot at the Majority Leader post – specifically Ron Young, Lisa Gladden and Doug Peters . . . if they survive campaign season.
So, I’ve updated my list and split it into a “long” and “short” version.
- Rich Madaleno (Montgomery County)
- Catherine Pugh (Baltimore City)
- Roger Manno (Montgomery County)
- Nancy King (Montgomery County)
- Lisa Gladden (Baltimore City)
- Ron Young (Frederick County)
- Doug Peters (Prince George’s County)
- Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County)
- Jamie Raskin (Montgomery County)
However, the most important factor in choosing the Majority Leader may well be who helps their colleagues with their campaigns. While not as high minded as the ability to eloquently defend the Democrats on the floor of the Senate, colleagues and the leadership really appreciate it. The reality is that campaigns cost money.
This handicaps Rich Madaleno who has historically shown little interest in fundraising. He also has a competitive primary where he needs to focus his resources until June 24th.
Lisa Gladden and Doug Peters both have historically been good fundraisers, but both have drawn opponents of substance in the primary to keep them busy. However, if they are victorious, they could certainly start laying the statewide ground work necessary to set themselves up as contenders to be Majority Leader.
Raskin doesn’t like to give campaign dollars that he raises to other campaigns and causes, though he is often generous with his own funds. That scruple undermines his ability to aid colleagues.
Ron Young will need to focus exclusively on his swingy Western Maryland District until November.
Zirkin, Manno and Pugh have the luxury to not have to fight in their home districts. Instead of catching up on Game of Thrones they should replicate the formidable efforts of Rob Garagiola during the 2010 election cycle. Rob spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting for leadership priorities around the state and was rewarded.
Am I still nuts? Missing a name? Let me know by dropping me a line directly at email@example.com.
UPDATE: Pugh wouldn’t be the first female Majority Leader. That distinction is held by Rosalie Abrams. And the last African-American Majority Leader was McFadden in 2003-07. h/t Brian Bailey.