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Hogan Appoints Del. Ron Watson to Fill Senate Vacancy

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr (R) appointed Del. Ronald L. Watson Jr. (D-Prince George’s) to the state Senate Friday.

“I am confident that Delegate Watson will continue to represent his constituency admirably in his new role as senator,” Hogan said in a statement. “I offer him my sincere congratulations and look forward to working with him in the upcoming legislative session.”

Watson, a first-term legislator, was unanimously nominated by the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee to fill a seat left vacant by Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s) earlier this month.

In late June, Peters announced that he would not be seeking a fifth Senate term. Days later, Hogan appointed him to the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, prompting his resignation and Watson’s eventual Senate appointment.

A 15-year U.S. Army veteran, Watson owns a company that provides consulting services for the Department of Defense, among other agencies. He formerly served on the Prince George’s County School Board.

Watson is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Cyber-Security, IT and Biotechnology. He is leaving a seat after three years that his predecessor, former Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D) held for 42 years.

After Peters’ resignation, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) moved another Prince George’s senator, Michael A. Jackson (D) to fill Peters’ slot on the Budget and Taxation Committee. That means Watson is likely to be assigned to Jackson’s old committee, Judicial Proceedings.

The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee will now interview applicants to fill Watson’s vacancy in the House and make a recommendation to Hogan for his replacement. Two nonincumbents who are already running for the District 23B House seat in next year’s Democratic primary could apply: Kym Taylor, a marketing executive with a health care company, and Remi Duyile, a retired banker.

Watson will face businesswoman Sylvia L. Johnson, who announced her intention to run for Peters’ Senate seat earlier this summer, in the 2022 Senate race.

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Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that Johnson intends to run for the state Senate in 2022.