So a bar owner, an attorney, a couple of real estate developers, a farmer, a firefighter and the politically-active wife of a prominent elected official all want the same job – it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but the real joke is that one of these people will be handed an enormous amount of power and control over the northern end of Harford County.
The Harford County Republican Central Committee released Friday the list of eight candidates who are vying to fill the District 35A seat in the House of Delegates, which is set to be vacated Dec. 31 when Del. Barry Glassman moves into the seat held by the resigning state senator Bob Hooper.
Hooper, who is resigning for health reasons, handpicked Glassman to be his successor and no other candidates submitted names challenging Glassman’s appointment by Gov. Martin O’Malley to become a senator. Unlike Hooper, however, Glassman didn’t leave an heir to his delegation seat – leading eight contestants to submit letters of consideration by Friday’s deadline.
But who are these people?
As far as I can tell, among the eight candidates for the District 35A seat, only half of them ran for office in 2006 – three for the Republican Central Committee (a race where the top 12 vote-getters win a seat) and one for the northern District D seat on the Harford County Council.
And of those four candidates only two won their elections, both becoming members of the Republican Central Committee, which incidentally is tasked with picking Glassman’s District 35A successor.
The Republican Central Committee is expected to meet Saturday to pick a nominee, whose name will then be sent to O’Malley for official approval and appointment. The committee hopes the new delegate will take office by mid-January.
So without further ado, let’s see if you recognize any of these candidates. One of them is about to be handed quite a bit of power.
Marc McFaul of Forest Hill, a Baltimore tavern owner:
McFaul is owner of Ropewalk Tavern in Baltimore. He also owned and operated Ropewalk Tavern in Bel Air, which became something of an unofficial GOP watering hole before it closed down amidst a slew of liquor law infractions. Before it closed, the Main Street restaurant won the Harford County Republican Central Committee’s highest honor – the Virginia Scotten award, which is handed out for public service and was given to Ropewalk Tavern for the many fundraisers hosted at the bar.
McFaul has donated money locally to the campaigns of Del. Pat McDonough and Jim Welch, who ran unsuccessfully for the District 35B seat in the House of Delegates. I also found this nifty link, which apparently shows McFaul in a May 25, 2000 PBS story on fundraising for the 2000 Presidential Election.
Wayne Norman, a local attorney and member of the Republican Central Committee of Harford County:
Norman is one of only two candidates for the District 35A seat who have actually run for and been elected to office in Harford County. He came in 10th place, garnering about 5,500 votes in the 2006 election to win a spot on the Republican Central Committee.
Norman is well-known in the local Republican party and has donated money to the political campaigns of Harford County Executive David Craig, Glassman, failed sheriff candidate Joe Price and clerk of the court Jim Reilly. He may also be remembered as the Republican whose Fourth of July party in Bel Air was crashed by newly elected Gov. O’Malley.
Roger Lambie, Sr. of Bel Air owner of Operation Lambo:
What little I know about Lambie is that he’s a pro-2nd amendment and anti-illegal immigration, two issue guy-in-camo who I’m told probably knows more about those two issues than anyone else in the county. An excitable guy, from what I’ve heard, Lambie runs Operation Lambo, which sells all 2nd amendment things current law allows.
Joseph Swilka of Fallston, marketing and sales representative with WEIS Development Group:
I know slightly more about Swilka than I do Lambie, only because I found this helpful website for WEIS Development Group, which is definitely worth checking out.
I know also know Swilka ran former Gov. Ehrlich’s Baltimore County campaign in 2006 and even though his numbers dropped from 2002, the former governor doesn’t seem to have blamed Swilka, since I’m hearing Ehrlich is expected to be making calls this week on his behalf. But let’s not forget how influential the Ehrlich factor was in getting Bob Thomas appointed to the District 34A seat once former Del. Chuck Boutin vacated it…
Teresa Reilly of Whiteford, member of the Republican Central Committee of Harford County:
Reilly is the wife of Harford County Clerk of the Circuit Court Jim Reilly, who himself ascended to his position by kissing the ass of buddy and former county executive Jim Harkins.
A fixture at GOP and other political events, Reilly also holds the highest elected office of any of the candidates for the District 35A seat. She was the third leading vote-getter for Republican Central Committee in 2006 by collecting more than 7,000 votes and 6.65 percent of the total vote – just edging out fourth-highest vote-getter Chad Shrodes, who, incidentally, went on to win the District D seat on the Harford County Council in the General Election.
Tom Mottley of Forest Hill, co-owner of RKS Realty:
I don’t know very much about Mottley either, but for anyone that might find a conflict of interest in the owner of a commercial real estate services company being appointed to the Maryland General Assembly, take comfort in this statement I found on the RKS Realty web site.
“RKS Realty subscribes to the highest ethical conduct and takes every precaution to ensure that we represent all parties with honesty. Clients benefit from our adherence to strict standards of confidentiality and responsiveness.”
Mottley’s RKS Realty also gave money to Craig, Harford County Council President Billy Boniface and District 35B Del. Susan McComas.
Mottley has also been heavily involved in local charities and I understand the construction of the Abingdon YMCA has been chalked up to his efforts – although he apparently got into some sort of disagreement with Del. Donna Stifler and resigned from the board.
John Rigdon of Jarrettsville, president and co-owner of Rigdon Farms, Inc:
Ridgon is owner of the 500-acre Ridgon Farm on Ridgon Road. By way of Harford County’s Electronic Farm, I have gathered that Ridgon’s farm produces fruit, grain, round and square hay bales, hogs, vegetables and pick-your-own blueberries as well as Angus and crossbred beef cattle. The farm also offers hayrides, pumpkins and hand-crafted picnic tables.
As far as political experience, Ridgon ran for and came up just short of a position on the Republican Central Committee in 2006. He came in 13th place with 4,200 votes. Rigdon has donated money to the campaigns of District 7 Del. J.B. Jennings and unsuccessful county council District D candidate Amy Hopkins Daney.
Jason Gallion of Churchville, local civic activist and community volunteer:
Gallion, a chief in Level Volunteer Fire Company, may be the most bonafide candidate for the District 35A seat – at least in terms of political experience.
Gallion, who was linked closely to Glassman during the 2006 election season and was his treasurer for years, finished second to Shrodes in a crowded Republican Primary Election for the District D seat on the Harford County Council. He garnered about 1,100 votes to Shrodes’ roughly 1,900. He has donated money to the political campaigns of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, Craig, District 35A Del. Donna Stifler, failed sheriff candidate Dave Tritt and unsuccessful District C county council candidate Brian Young.
What follows is the complete press release from the Republican Central Committee regarding the candidates and process for filling the soon-to-be vacant District 35A seat:
Candidates Announced for Delegate Seat in District 35A
Central Committee to Make Recommendation to Governor
(Bel Air, MD – December 14, 2007) – – The Republican Central Committee of Harford County has announced the list of candidates who filed a letter of interest to be considered to fill the pending vacancy in the Maryland House of Delegates from District 35A in Harford County.
Barry Glassman who has been nominated by the Central Committee to replace Senator Bob Hooper who announced his resignation from office last month currently holds the seat. Senator Hooper’s resignation is effective December 31, 2007.
Those wishing to be considered to replace Delegate Glassman who will move to the Senate in January are Marc McFaul of Forest Hill, a Baltimore tavern owner; Wayne Norman, a local attorney and member of the Republican Central Committee of Harford County; Roger Lambie, Sr. of Bel Air owner of Operation Lambo; Joseph Swilka of Fallston, marketing and sales representative with WEIS Development Group; Teresa Reilly of Whiteford, member of the Republican Central Committee of Harford County, Tom Mottley of Forest Hill, co-owner of RKS Realty, John Rigdon of Jarrettsville, president and co-owner of Rigdon Farms, Inc.; Jason Gallion of Churchville, local civic activist and community volunteer.
The candidates will be interviewed on Saturday, December 22 at the Harford County Council Chambers in Bel Air during an executive session of the Central Committee. Norman and Reilly, who are candidates for the position, will not participate in the interviews of other candidates nor will vote during the selection process.
“We are pleased with the number and diversity of the applicants interested in serving the citizens of Harford County,” said Michael Geppi, Chairman of the Republican Central Committee.
“We look forward to a thorough review of each of the candidates and their qualifications. It is our intention to have a process that is fair to all who have applied for this position,” Geppi stated.
Each of the candidates will be questioned by members of the Central Committee with a vote and final decision by the Committee at the conclusion of the session. Immediately following the procedural appointment of Delegate Glassman by Governor Martin O’Malley to fill the unexpired term of Senator Hooper, the Republican Central Committee of Harford County will formally forward the name of the successor for Delegate Glassman’s seat to the governor for appointment.
The Committee anticipates the successful candidate will be appointed by mid-January at the latest.