By Josh Kurtz
Term-limited Howard County Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty has jumped into the race to replace retiring state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer (D), setting up a competitive Democratic primary with Del. Clarence K. Lam.
Sigaty filed candidate papers Monday afternoon – 2 ½ weeks after Kasemeyer stunned colleagues with his announcement that he would not seek an eighth Senate term. In the aftermath of Kasemeyer’s decision, the 12th District’s three delegates – Eric D. Ebersole, Terri L. Hill and Lam – coalesced around the idea of Lam seeking the Senate seat and running together as a team.
But after three terms on the Council and two on the Howard County Board of Education, Sigaty said she had unfinished business and saw the vacancy as an opportunity to continue her public service.
“I was looking around wondering what to do next,” she told Maryland Matters Monday. “This wasn’t in my ‘next’ until Ed presented the opportunity.”
During her 12 years on the Council, Sigaty, 67, has been associated with the redevelopment of Columbia and surrounding communities. She also serves on the Patuxent River Commission and was a steering committee member of the Arts Education in Maryland Schools Alliance.
“I think my record is pretty long and varied,” she said. [Lam’s] is a four-year record…When I look at the local, local work I’ve been doing, I can see an extension of that work on the state level.”
Lam, 37, said he was unfazed by the newly-surfaced primary opposition. He said that he, Ebersole and Hill – who were all elected together in 2014 – “have worked strongly as a team together for the past four years” and could boast of accomplishments in health care, the environment, infrastructure, and public school funding.
“We have a strong track record of serving the residents of the district,” Lam said.
The 12th District takes in parts of Howard and Baltimore counties. While Sigaty is well known in her Council district, which takes in Columbia, she will have to work to introduce herself to voters in the Baltimore County part of the district.
Through mid-January, Lam had $80,000 in his campaign account. Sigaty, who was unopposed in 2014 and has not done any significant fundraising since, reported $27,000 held over in the bank as of mid-January, and will have to ramp up fundraising quickly. Lam is banned from raising money through the duration of the General Assembly session, which ends on April 9.
Since Kasemeyer’s retirement announcement and Lam’s decision to seek his Senate seat, five non-incumbent Democrats have joined the House race. The candidates include Jessica Feldmark, the current administrator for the Howard County Council and former chief of staff to ex-County Executive Ken Ulman (D), and James Howard, the chairman of the Howard County Board of Appeals.