Hogan Fills 2 Vacancies in General Assembly — and Creates Another

Del. Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County) speaks at a rally for increased funding for Maryland's historically black colleges and universities in Annapolis this fall. Sydnor has been appointed to serve in the state Senate. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Monday appointed Del. Charles E. Sydnor III (D-Baltimore County) to fill a vacancy in the state Senate and Harford County Republican Chairman Mike Griffith to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates.

In each case, the central committees in the relevant jurisdictions offered Hogan two options to choose from to fill the vacancies.

Sydnor will replace former state Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D-Baltimore County), who resigned in the fall for health reasons, in the 44th District, which is anchored in the Catonsville area but takes in part of Baltimore City.

Sydnor is an attorney who was in his second term in the House of Delegates, serving on the Judiciary Committee. In the Senate, he’ll be assigned to the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

“Senator-Appointee Sydnor has been a dynamic leader surrounding issues of criminal justice and consumer protection, and we are excited to welcome him to the Senate,” incoming Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said in a statement.

Sydnor was the choice of the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee to replace Nathan-Pulliam, while Baltimore City Democrats forwarded the name of Del. Keith Haynes (D-Baltimore City), who had also applied for the job.

Sydnor’s imminent move up to the Senate means his House seat in District 44B is about to become vacant. Union organizer Alethia McCaskill, who unsuccessfully challenged Nathan-Pulliam in last year’s Democratic primary for Senate, said in a Facebook post Monday that she plans to apply for the job.

“It’s more than 1 way to skin that cat…and I’m not done yet!” she wrote.

Hogan also faced a choice between two candidates to replace former Del. Andrew Cassilly (R-Harford) in District 35B, which takes in parts of Harford and Cecil counties. Hogan opted for Griffith, a Marine Corps veteran who is the chief marketing officer overseeing all business development for HPS Management in Havre de Grace, over David Woodruff, a former Cecil County GOP chairman.

Woodruff had been the choice of his county’s Republican Central Committee, while Griffith was recommended by the Harford GOP. Cassilly resigned from the legislature to take a job as one of Hogan’s advisers.

“I am confident that Mr. Griffith and Delegate Sydnor will represent their constituencies admirably in their new respective roles,” Hogan said in a statement.

With Griffith’s appointment and Sydnor’s looming departure, there will be at least seven new delegates in the House in 2020 who weren’t serving during the 2019 session: Griffith and Dels. Shaneka Henson (D-Anne Arundel), Catherine Forbes (D-Baltimore County), Carl Jackson (D-Baltimore County), Nicole Williams (D-Prince George’s) and the yet-to-be selected replacements for Sydnor and former Del. Cheryl D. Glenn (D-Baltimore City), who resigned earlier this month ahead of a federal indictment.

Dels. Shelly L. Hettleman (D-Baltimore County) and Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County) are likely to apply for the Senate vacancy in District 11 — which could well open up another House seat if one of them is selected.

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