Senate president declares that he won't run in 2010

Miller, 63, has held the powerful position longer than anyone else in state history

November 16, 2006|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,sun reporter

Thomas V. Mike Miller, the blunt-speaking president of the Maryland Senate for the past two decades, says he will not run for re-election in 2010 - closing his legislative career after four decades.

Miller, 63, has held the top spot in the Senate longer than anyone else in state history. If he is re-elected to that post in January, as expected, he will have served 24 years in that position - twice as long as the previous record-holder.

"I still have all the enthusiasm," Miller said last night. But he noted that he has 10 grandchildren under 10 years old and wants "to do some other things" after one more term.

The Senate president holds one of the three most powerful positions in Maryland state government - along with the governor and the speaker of the House of Delegates. As president, Miller has expertly used the powers of that office - especially his control over committee chairmanships and other assignments - to maintain his grip on the chamber and to stand up to governors from William Donald Schaefer to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Miller, who represents a district that includes parts of Prince George's and Calvert counties, said he worked hard to replace Ehrlich with Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley and looks forward to working with the incoming administration over the next four years.

The Senate leader, who has long been the chief generator of campaign cash for Democratic senators and nominees, said he is making his intentions known now because he does not want to raise money in his name when he knows he is planning to retire.

"It's sort of like a truth in advertising," he said.

Miller said he wants to encourage other leaders to fill his role in raising money and recruiting candidates. "It's time for another generation of legislators to get involved in that," he said.

Miller was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1970. He was re-elected for a ninth Senate term this month with about 70 percent of the vote.

One visible part of his legacy in Annapolis is the new Senate office building, which colleagues named after him.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

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