The Maryland State Senate today formally approved the nomination of Lorraine M. Sheehan as the new secretary of state, but not without a final swipe from the senator who publicly admitted feeling, "humiliated" by her appointment.
Sheehan's nomination came to the floor today along with a number of other appointments approved by the Executive Nominations Committee. When the package of appointments came up for a vote--usually a routine matter--Sen. B.W. Mike Donovan (D-Prince George's), the senator who dumped Sheehan from his election ticket last summer, abstained from the vote.
"Mr. President I request that I be excused under Rule 19," Donovan said, citing the rule in the state's ethics law which allows a legislator to abstain from any vote where he believes he may have a conflict of interest. Donovan's action was clearly taken to let Gov. Harry Hughes know once again that he felt wronged by the Sheehan appointment. He drew loud snickers from many of his colleagues, who had heard him berate the appointment in the nominations committee on Tuesday.
As it turned out, the vote was 41-0 in favor of the appointments, one of the yes votes being Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Prince George's) who had called Hughes handling of the Sheehan appointment, "horrible."
Sheehan, a Prince George's delegate since 1975, will be sworn into the $45,000 a year job Friday.
Another Prince George's delegate, John W. Wolfgang, will be sworn in as a member of the state parole commission on Tuesday. The Democratic Central Committee has sent the name of Central Committee chairman Gary Alexander to the governor as its recommendation to replace Wolfgang.
Sheehan's replacement will not be as easy. Miller said today that Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Maryland) is backing Martha Weber, who ran on Donovan's ticket and lost in the fall. Sen. Tommie Broadwater Jr. has insisted the new delegate should be black since the district is 62 percent black. He said today that Jerry Perry, who has been mentioned as the compromise candidate because she is black and prolife (therefore more acceptable to Donovan) "won't get the job." Broadwater is backing Eldridge Spearman, former aide to D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy.