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Government & Politics

Special Session for Speaker Election Called for May 1

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan (R) and House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D) at an Annapolis bill-signing ceremony in April. Photo by Bruce DePuyt

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) has called a special session of the Maryland legislature for Wednesday, May 1, to give the House of Delegates the opportunity to choose a new speaker.

The date, which was chosen in consultation with the leaders of both chambers, gives the candidates seeking the post just less than two additional weeks to win the support of their colleagues.

House Appropriations Chair Maggie L. McIntosh

Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and Dels. Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore) and Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s) have launched bids to succeed Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel), who died April 7 after 17 years as speaker.

Busch was laid to rest on Tuesday.

Jones, 64, who has served as speaker pro tem since 2003, represented the House at a bill-signing ceremony Thursday, when Hogan signed nearly 200 pieces of legislation. She has served since 1997.

McIntosh, 71, chairs the Appropriations Committee. She has served since 1992.

Davis, 51, chairs the Economic Matters Committee. He was first elected in 1994.

It’s expected that the House Democratic Caucus will meet prior to the special session to give the three candidates a final opportunity to sway their colleagues.

The House has 98 Democrats, 42 Republicans and one vacancy.

If Democrats unite behind the winner of the caucus vote, that person will have more than enough support to become speaker, regardless of who Republicans vote for.

House Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s).

Maryland Matters reported this week on speculation that a second-place finisher could partner with GOP lawmakers on the House floor, thwarting the Democratic caucus.

Any measures that Hogan vetoes between now and April 30 must be taken up when the legislature reconvenes, but aides do not expect any vetoes in that period.

By law, both chambers will return to Annapolis, though the Senate session is expected to be pro forma and will only last a couple moments. It will not be a surprise if there are absences, particularly of lawmakers who live several hours from the State House.

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Special Session for Speaker Election Called for May 1