Democrats Back Kullen for House
Calvert Committee Picks Political Novice to Replace Owings as Delegate
By Raymond McCaffrey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page SM01
The Calvert County Democratic Central Committee has endorsed Sue Kullen, a political newcomer from Port Republic, to replace Del. George W. Owings III.
Kullen, whose nomination was delivered Friday to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R), would be the first woman to represent Calvert County in the General Assembly. Ehrlich has indicated he will accept the Central Committee's selection for the House of Delegates vacancy.
"We made history tonight," Kullen said Thursday, after the Central Committee announced its decision at a public forum in Prince Frederick.
In selecting Kullen, the Central Committee passed over more experienced candidates, including at least two longtime Democratic officeholders. Kullen, a consultant who works with disabled people and agencies serving them, won out over five other applicants:
• Hagner R. Mister of Prince Frederick, a former state agriculture secretary and a former president of the county commissioners.
• Barbara A. Stinnett, a former county commissioner from Owings.
• Thomas M. Pelagatti, a Prince Frederick lawyer who is a former judge of the Orphans' Court in Calvert County.
• William Johnston III, a Huntingtown resident who has run for political office a number of times, including for county commissioner.
• David Van Hoy, a Huntingtown resident who worked as a real estate professional.
"All of them would have been good, but I'm happy for Sue," said Owings, who gave up the legislative post this spring after Ehrlich appointed him in March to be director of the state Department of Veterans Affairs.
"I think she'll do a fine job," he said.
Doris Spencer, who chairs the Central Committee, also lauded the choice. Spencer said she delivered the nomination Friday to the governor's office in Annapolis.
Kullen emerged as a compromise candidate after the Central Committee became deadlocked while in a closed meeting after the open forum, those familiar with the debate said. As a Central Committee member, Mister was allowed to vote for himself. But he chose not to attend the closed session.
The 10 committee members appeared in public after the closed meeting for a voice vote to nominate Kullen. Spencer said committee members wanted to give a "consensus vote to the governor."
© 2004 The Washington Post Company