After the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates’ death, legislators are running to be his Successor. The Republican vote could be key.
SILVER SPRING, Md.– Since the end of the session on April 8, three delegates have entered the race to fill Busch’s seat: Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Maggie McIntosh and Chair of the Economic Matters Committee Dereck Davis. There’s still a chance, however, for other candidates to put their name in the running before the vote taking place next week.
House Republicans declared their intention to vote as a bloc but haven’t stated which candidate they’ll vote for.
“We’ve decided to stand together and back a candidate who projects themselves as a nonpartisan speaker; someone who will be a good speaker of the House for all of Maryland,” House Minority leader Republican Del. Nicholaus Kipke said.
“We’re keeping all of our options open,” said Baltimore County Del. Kathy Szeliga, the House Minority Whip. “42 votes don’t come without some kind of negotiation.”
Republicans are greatly outnumbered in the House, so they hope their bloc vote will influence the election enough to choose a speaker who will be representative of Democrats and Republicans alike.
Maryland’s previous speakers have all been white males, so all three of the candidates would be making history if they were elected. McIntosh is openly lesbian and Davis and Jones are both black.
Many Marylanders, including prominent figures in the Maryland government, took to Twitter to honor Speaker Mike Busch following his death April 7, one day before the end of the General Assembly session. The House didn’t make an announcement concerning a succession vote before adjourning at midnight April 8, instead choosing to focus on completing the passage of hundreds of bills and paying tribute to Busch throughout the day.
Lawmakers honored Busch with one last triumph when they voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of the Oyster Bill that Busch sponsored. In his last tweet on April 5, Busch announced the General Assembly was going to override the bill, but his death came before the official vote could take place.
Busch died at 72 following a bout of pneumonia.