House Republicans unanimously re-elected their top leaders on Wednesday — with a caveat.
Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke (R-Anne Arundel) will continue to serve as minority leader and Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) will continue to serve as minority whip. They’ve served side-by-side in those roles since 2013 — making them the longest serving Republican caucus leadership team in state history.
But Kipke and Szeliga told their colleagues that they plan to relinquish their leadership positions after the 2021 session. Kipke said he plans to focus on 2022 Anne Arundel elections and Szeliga said she plans to focus on recruiting and training Republican women to run for public office.
Throughout the summer and fall, there were occasional rumors that Kipke and Szeliga were planning to step down — or that they would be forced out by a restive GOP caucus. But then the rumors quieted down — and the leaders’ imminent departure seems to be have quelled any disquiet.
“We are honored to have the confidence of our colleagues to lead them during these troubling times,” Kipke said.
Del. Jason C. Buckel (R-Allegany) is seen as a possible contender for one of the leadership posts.
“Over the last seven years our members have amazed us with their talents and their commitment to make Maryland a better place to live, work, and raise a family,” Szeliga said. “We are excited to see what the future holds for our Caucus and believe it is time to give another team an opportunity to lead.”
Sen. Reilly gets leadership post
Meanwhile, the Senate Republican Caucus, under new management, has added a leadership position.
During floor votes on chamber rules Wednesday, the Senate codified the position of deputy minority leader. The role of deputy majority leader is already codified in Senate rules.
Sen. Edward R. Reilly (R-Anne Arundel) will fill the role, Senate GOP leaders said.
“It is an honor to be the first official Deputy Minority Leader, and it is good to have the leadership structure of both parties in alignment within the Senate Rules,” Reilly said.