Last week, Sen. Karen Montgomery and Dels. Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker expressed their support for the appointment of Zucker to replace Montgomery who will step down at the end of the year, and Pam Queen to fill Zucker’s seat.
Why Zucker for Senate instead of the more experienced Kaiser, or Luedtke who was elected at the same time as Zucker?
I imagine Del. Kaiser, who has served in the House since 2003, could have had the appointment easily if she wanted it. However, she has advanced too far in the House to want to start over the Senate. Besides chairing the Education Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, Kaiser is part of the leadership team as the House Majority Leader.
Zucker v. Luedtke would have been an interesting battle and I could well envision either having won. They’ve clearly worked it out among themselves and are comfortable with Zucker getting the seat. For what it’s worth, Zucker is six years older than Luedtke.
Why endorse Zucker and Queen simultaneously?
Democrats are very interested in racial and gender balance. When potential candidates differ little on issues, it is not surprising that people to focus on group representation. When the Senate vacancy occurred in District 15, the appointment of well-respected white Jewish Del. Brian Feldman encountered opposition due to the desire for greater non-white representation in the General Assembly.
In the end, MCDCC nonetheless appointed now Sen. Feldman and then appointed Latino David Fraser-Hidalgo to the House of Delegates. Recommending African-American Pam Queen for the House as the same time as Zucker for the Senate heads off backlash over the question of minority representation.
Why Pam Queen?
Queen brings qualifications to the job. She is a professor of Finance at Morgan State University has a Ph.D. from GWU in Business Administration–not a bad background for someone who will spend much time focused on the state budget. Queen also has a B.S. in Mathematics from Tuskegee and and an M.S. in Computer Science along with an M.S. in Management from Johns Hopkins.
She also has political experience, having been elected to the MCDCC. Support from within the delegation along with the MCDCC would make it very difficult for someone else, including any other MCDCC members eyeing the seat, to defeat Queen for the appointment.
Queen also possesses another virtue: she’s not former Del. Herman Taylor. He served two terms until he ran a lopsided losing race against Rep. Donna Edwards in 2010–Taylor won 9% of the vote. D14 has a solidly progressive delegation and my guess is they would prefer not to see the return of a pro-life moderate.