Del. Diane DeCarlo, an Essex Democrat, was selected by a preliminary panel last night to fill the interim Baltimore County state Senate seat of departing state Sen. Michael J. Collins.
The 6th District Democratic State Central Committee took 25 minutes to deliberate and vote 5-2 in favor of DeCarlo over veteran lawmaker Michael H. Weir Sr., who also is retiring from the House of Delegates.
Weir took DeCarlo to task in his brief presentation to the committee, saying that she had worked with Republicans in past elections and during the issue of Senate Bill 509, the failed revitalization plan on the county's east side.
"I think the committee should pick me and not someone who played footsie with the Republicans," Weir said.
DeCarlo, a Middle River tavern owner, said that she represented her constituency and "always listened to their voices."
DeCarlo serves on the House Commerce and Government Matters Committee and is the House deputy majority whip. She takes credit for helping pass legislation to extend Route 43 in Middle River, strengthening the rights of crime victims and working against domestic abuse.
DeCarlo's name will be forwarded to the Baltimore County Democratic State Central Committee, whose members are expected to give pro forma approval of the Essex group's recommendation and send it to Gov. Parris N. Glendening by July 16.
But here it gets tricky.
This month, the Harford County Democratic State Central Committee recommended Weir for the interim post because the 6th District has several precincts in southern Harford County.
Political observers in Annapolis and on the county's east side say that Glendening will most likely reject DeCarlo and select Weir, a Democrat for 28 years.
Support for Weir will also come from legislative leaders like Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and Collins, who had a strong relationship with the governor.
Glendening will make his decision within three weeks of receiving the Baltimore County choice. The interim senator will serve until a newly elected lawmaker takes the seat in January.