Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) announced Thursday that he is nominating state Del. Michael E. Malone (R-Anne Arundel) to a seat on the Anne Arundel Circuit Court.
Hogan also nominated Victoria Jeanne Lobley to serve on the Washington County District Court and Wendy Anne Zerwitz Schenker Epstein to serve on the Baltimore County Circuit Court.
“I have every confidence that Ms. Lobley, Magistrate Epstein, and Delegate Malone will continue to be strong advocates for the law and will continue to serve the citizens of their respective counties and Maryland honorably,” Hogan said in a statement.
Malone’s nomination creates yet another vacancy in the General Assembly.
There are currently two vacancies in the legislature, both in Prince George’s County: Former Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D) resigned recently to serve on the University System Board of Regents, while former Del. Erek L. Barron (D) has been nominated by President Biden to be U.S. attorney for Maryland.
The Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee last week nominated one of its own, Roxane Prettyman, to replace former Del. Keith Haynes (D) in the House of Delegates. Hogan has yet to make the formal appointment.
Malone has served in the House since 2015 and is the top-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. He was the top vote-getter in the 33rd District during the 2018 general election, garnering 18.1% of the vote in the seven-way race, which featured three Republicans, three Democrats and one Green Party candidate.
The district — which as currently drawn runs from the Chesapeake Bay to Crofton, mostly north of U.S. 50 — was once a Republican stronghold, but is now becoming more competitive. Now-Del. Heather Bagnall (D) ousted then-Del. Tony McConkey (R) in the 2018 general election to shift party control of one of the district’s three delegate seats. And in 2020, District 33 voters gave Biden 56.3% of the vote compared to 42.7% for former President Trump.
The district may see even more turnover next year, with Del. Sid A. Saab (R) contemplating a run for Anne Arundel County executive.
In his legal practice, Malone, who is 53, has been a sole practitioner based in Gambrills, focusing on family law, since 2007.
Lobley has been a sole practitioner since 2015, with a concentration on criminal defense and family law matters. She also served as an assistant public defender in Washington County.
Epstein has been a Family Law Magistrate at the Baltimore County Circuit Court since 2014, where she presides over family and juvenile cases, as well as the Family Recovery Support Program, which seeks protection for children whose parents have substance abuse problems.