Applications for Weldon's seat being accepted

December 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARYLAND -- Local Republicans are accepting applications for the Subdistrict 3B state delegate seat being vacated by Richard B. Weldon Jr.

The application deadline is Tuesday.

The Frederick and Washington county GOP committees plan to jointly recommend a replacement whom Gov. Martin O'Malley can appoint before the 2010 General Assembly session begins Jan. 13.

Almost all of Weldon's Subdistrict 3B is in Frederick County. Washington County has about 4 percent of the registered voters in the subdistrict, according to state election data.

Yet, Frederick County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Kelly Schulz said her "gut feeling" is that each county's committee will get equal say in the recommendation.


Washington County Republican Central Committee Chairwoman Paula Lampton said she's confident the process will be fair for both counties.

Weldon, who announced in February 2008 that he wouldn't run for a third term, is resigning to become an executive assistant for new Frederick Mayor Randy McClement.

Weldon has been unaffiliated with a political party for about 15 months, but was a Republican when he took his delegate seat in January 2003. Under the state constitution, the GOP central committees of the counties he represents recommend a replacement.

Each GOP committee could send a choice to the governor, so it makes sense for them to work together, Schulz said.

Weldon said his resignation last week was to take effect immediately. However, he'll stay in the position, without performing any official duties, until a replacement is named, he said.

Weldon is scheduled to start his Frederick job Monday, at a salary of $85,123, city spokeswoman Susan Harding said.

At the same time, he'll leave his job as president and CEO of United Way of Frederick County, which he has held since April 2008.

The state constitution doesn't specify how a political party should screen candidates for a vacant state office.

Washington County's GOP went through the process in early 2008.

Robert A. McKee resigned from the Subdistrict 2A seat as he was investigated for possession of child pornography. He later was convicted and sentenced to 37 months in a federal prison.

Washington County's GOP picked Andrew A. Serafini over 18 other applicants. O'Malley appointed him to the 2A seat.

At the time, there were mixed feelings within the party about the level of secrecy of the deliberations.

Weldon was a critic and advocated more transparency through press releases at the start, middle and end of the process.

On Wednesday, Weldon said Frederick County's replacement process appears well-organized and open, starting with a press release Schulz issued three days ago.

Schulz said Frederick County's GOP created a structured procedure after seeing what other counties did -- before Weldon resigned -- and is currently using it to fill an orphan's court vacancy.

Four Frederick County Republicans -- Michael Hough, Charles A. Jenkins, Katie Nash and John Lovell -- have declared interest in Weldon's seat, but Schulz said none had applied as of Wednesday afternoon.

How to apply for Subdistrict 3B state delegate seat vacancy

Applications and supporting documentation for the Subdistrict 3B state delegate seat vacancy must be sent by certified U.S. mail or hand delivered by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

They should be sent to Dick Cheney, 10613 Victorian Ave., New Market, MD 21774. Applicants should leave a message at 301-662-0550 to confirm their applications.

Former Washington County Central Committee Chairwoman Penny Pittman is one of five members of a nominating committee that will pick three finalists.

Finalists will be interviewed on or around Jan. 6. A final recommendation will be made then.

After the Republican central committees for Washington and Frederick counties recommend a replacement, Gov. Martin O'Malley will have up to 15 days to appoint someone.

However, Kelly Schulz, Frederick County's Republican chairwoman, said O'Malley probably will appoint someone before the 2010 General Assembly session starts Jan. 13.

An applicant must be a state resident, at least 21 years old, a district resident for at least one year and a registered Republican.

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