By B.J. Darden
Del. Mary Beth Carozza (R) officially announced she would run for state Senate on Sunday, challenging incumbent Sen. Jim Mathias (D), the former mayor of Ocean City.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) introduced Carozza and offered his full-throated endorsement during her announcement, which took place at her alma mater, Ocean City Elementary School.
Hogan said he got to know Carozza when they both worked with former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) – Hogan as appointments secretary, Carozza as deputy chief of staff.
“I’ve known Mary Beth for a long time and she’s been working with us every step of the way,” Hogan said.
Carozza commended the governor for his first term record, and set her sights on helping secure a second term for the incumbent governor. Hogan is bidding to become the first Republican governor to win a second term in Maryland since Theodore McKeldin in 1954.
Hogan “needs more team players in the state Senate,” Carozza said.
Maryland Republicans are making a serious run at half a dozen Senate seats in 2018. They need to flip five Democratic-held seats to deny Democrats a veto-proof majority, which would make it easier for the governor to advance his agenda.
Hogan said that Maryland’s economic performance was ranked 49th in the country before he took office, while it now ranks seventh in the United States.
“Time and time again your senator votes with the bad guys, and Mary Beth votes with us,” Hogan said.
Mathias is a top Republican target in a lower Eastern Shore district that Hogan carried by more than 32 points in 2014.
Carozza, who was raised on the shore, reiterated her commitment to the region.
“I will always place the interests of the shore first,” Carozza said.
Butch Azbell, a Somerset County HVAC teacher said that if there’s anybody that will work for the people, it’s Carozza.
“She’s a big advocate for apprenticeships, and ways to get young trade students involved with local businesses,” Azbell said.
Carozza said she plans to support Hogan’s new budget, and would vote to uphold his vetoes, including that of the Democrats’ paid sick leave legislation. Carozza said she also intends to vote against any legislation that would make Maryland a sanctuary state.