Saturday, September 23, 2006

Senate Minority Stepping Down, Troubles for Miller?

The Gazette reports that Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus (R-Somerset) plans to step down as Senate Minority Leader when the General Assembly reconvenes after the 2006 elections. Reelection was not a barrier to his serving as leader of the currently 14-member Republican Caucus as Stoltzfus is unopposed for reelection.

Meanwhile, Senate President Mike Miller (D-Calvert) may face more pressure from within the currently 33-member Democratic Caucus as "liberal insurgents" have won several primaries. Jamie Raskin defeated Ida Ruben in District 20 (Takoma Park). Former Del. Jim Rosapepe defeated John Gianetti in District 21 (Laurel). Miller supported both of the incumbents. Sen. Paula Hollinger, described as a Miller lieutenant, left the Senate to pursue an unsuccessful bid for Congress.

Miller is the longest serving legislative leader in the country with two decades of service as Maryland's Senate President so one underestimates this powerful and wily politician at their peril even if all political careers must come to an end sooner or later (and Miller is now closer to sooner). Read the Gazette article for more details about the challenges Miller will face when the dust settles after the election.