Trying to figure out who is the next person to obtain a particular leadership position in any legislature is often a pointless exercise in Kremlinology. However, pointless exercises in Kremlinology are great fun. So here we go.
After the 2010 elections, Senate Majority Leader Ed Kasemeyer was appointed Chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee. Senate President Mike Miller appointed Montgomery County Senator Rob Garagiola as his replacement. After the 2013 session, Senator Garagiola retired from the legislature. In his place, retiring Howard County Senator Jim Robey served as a placeholder Majority Leader for the 2014 Session.
Following the 2014 Elections, the position will be vacant and Mike Miller will need to appoint a new Majority Leader for the fourth time in four-ish years. I asked a panel of reporters at a forum on the 2014 session who they thought had the best shot at becoming Majority Leader. None had any idea who might be on the short list.
After consulting with my vast network of spies, the following would appear to be the short list –
- Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County)
- Rich Madelano (Montgomery County)
- Roger Manno (Montgomery County)
- Nancy King (Montgomery County)
- Paul Pinsky (Prince George’s County)
From 2011-2013, Montgomery County held to two leadership positions in the Senate (JPR Chair and Majority Leader). Montgomery County currently holds one (JPR Chair), but that is precarious as Frosh is running for Attorney General. For Maryland’s largest jurisdiction to hold no leadership positions in the upper chamber would be untenable, especially since all of Montgomery’s eight Senate seats are held by Democrats.
Most people I have talked to view Jamie Raskin as the heavy favorite for the JPR Chairmanship. However, if Raskin is not appointed–and considering how far to the left of Mike Miller he is, this does not seem unrealistic to me–it would seem to necessitate the appointment of Manno, Madaleno or King as Majority Leader.
However, Raskin’s main opponent for the JPR Chairmanship seems to be Bobby Zirkin of Baltimore County. If Raskin is appointed Chair, Zirkin could be appointed Majority Leader as a consolation prize. Conversely, if he is passed over for Chair, Raskin could find himself in contention to be Majority Leader
I personally think Manno (who would be entering his second term in the senate) probably lacks the requisite seniority to be Majority Leader. However, stranger things have happened.
Currently, Prince George’s County lacks a Committee Chairman, although Senate President Mike Miller represents a large chunk of the jurisdiction. This makes Pinsky somewhat more attractive.
Who am I missing? Who do you think has the edge? What’s your analysis? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know.