Delegate Kathleen Dumais

Democrat, Maryland House of Delegates District 15

District 15 delegates dismiss possible Senate run – for now

Dumais states strong preference for House

The delegates who serve northwestern Montgomery County’s District 15 in the General Assembly say they aren’t focused on what a successful congressional run by a Senate colleague could mean for their own careers.

Many observers say a proposed congressional redistricting map paves the way for state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown to gain a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives held by longtime 6th District Republican Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett of Buckeystown.

But the delegates in Garagiola’s legislative district say it is too soon to determine whether they will seek the seat should the senator move on.

“I think if he decides to run, he’ll be a strong candidate,” said Del. Brian Feldman (D-Dist. 15) of Potomac. “There could be others who get into that race. He’s got to get through a primary and with the general election. Until then, I think it’s premature to talk about how other things may happen and present themselves.”

Should the General Assembly approve the proposed redistricting map, which pushes the 6th Congressional District farther into Montgomery County, picking up 80 percent of Garagiola’s constituents, the senator would be eligible to run for the seat, which also represents residents in the state’s western counties.

If Garagiola were to win a 2012 congressional race, a replacement senator would be appointed until the next General Assembly election in 2014.

Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Dist. 15) of Rockville, who has held a seat in the House since 2003, as long as Feldman, said she is not interested in moving the Senate. Dumais serves as vice chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee.

“For what it’s worth, I really like the House,” she said, adding the House is “where I want to be.”

Freshman Del. Aruna Miller (D-Dist. 15) of Darnestown said if Feldman chooses to seek the Senate seat, she would defer to him.

“If he decides to run, I wouldn’t throw my name in that hat,” Miller said.

All three said they think the proposed redistricting map, which will be reviewed and possibly altered by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) before a special legislative session that is slated to begin Monday, is a fair adjustment to the state’s eight congressional districts.

Opponents of the map, which was submitted by a redistricting committee appointed by the governor, have complained moving the 6th District farther into Montgomery County hurts rural voters in western Maryland who don’t have much in common with suburban Washington, D.C, residents.

Others have accused mapmakers of racial gerrymandering by splitting up communities of minorities in the central part of the state to break up enclaves of Republican voters.

by Sarah Breitenbach, Staff Writer, Gazette.Net

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