Ex-Sen. Kelly announces he's switching to GOPFormer...

Annapolis Watch '91

April 02, 1991

Ex-Sen. Kelly announces he's switching to GOP

Former Baltimore County state Sen. Francis X. Kelly, who lost his re-election bid last year in a bitter fight over the abortion issue, today announced that he is switching from the Democratic to the Republican Party.

Kelly said he has no current plans to seek elected office but is eager to work for party goals within the state.

"I'm not doing this for personal reasons," he told members of the House Republican Caucus meeting in Annapolis this morning. "I think it's the right thing to do."

Politically conservative, Kelly said he could no longer remain in the Democratic Party. He said he is grateful for the Republican Party's interest in him.

"I think it's a real testimony to the Republican Party that they want someone who lost his last election," he said.

Kelly, first elected to the Senate in 1979, lost the primary election last September to abortion-rights advocate Janice Piccinini. She went on to win the general election.

The 51-year-old insurance executive was a vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee. He was instrumental in leading a Senate filibuster against proposed abortion-rights legislation during the 1990 General Assembly session. He was one of a number of veteran lawmakers whose defeats were attributed to the abortion controversy.


In unusual action on the floor of the House of Delegates, lawmakers killed a House bill designed to shift money from a private-sector corporation to the state, but they allowed a Senate measure to be returned to committee for further work.

By 61-72 vote yesterday, the House defeated a bill that would have transferred about $750,000 from the interest law firms accrue on trust accounts set up for their clients to the state public defenders' office. Supporters said the transfer of funds from Maryland Legal Services Corp. is needed to help pay for the legal representation that public defenders offer poor parents.

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