Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is scheduled to interview Sue Kullen on Tuesday in what is expected to be the final step before he appoints the Port Republic Democrat to succeed George W. Owings III in the House of Delegates.
Kullen, who was nominated June 24 by the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee, would be the first woman to represent Calvert County in the General Assembly. Ehrlich has indicated he will accept the committee's selection for the vacancy.
The committee was entitled to choose a nominee because Owings is a Democrat. He resigned this spring after Ehrlich appointed him secretary of veterans affairs.
Kullen said a member of Ehrlich's staff called her Thursday and arranged for the meeting with the governor. Kullen said she is hoping she gets "the nod" at that point.
"I'm not anticipating any problems," she said.
Kullen, a consultant who works with disabled people and agencies serving them, won out over five other Democratic applicants in getting the Central Committee's support for the legislative seat, which represents most of the northern half of Calvert County.
Kullen said she met informally with Ehrlich last week, when Owings introduced her to the governor at a meeting of the Maryland Municipal League on Tuesday in Ocean City.
"George introduced me and said I was his hopeful replacement," Kullen said.
The municipal league meeting was something of a coming-out party for Kullen, who is a relative political newcomer.
She said she attended as a guest of North Beach Mayor Mark R. Frazer, who has been president of the league's board of directors.
In addition to her introduction to Ehrlich, Kullen said she met other prominent Maryland officeholders, such as Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R).
"That was really, really nice," Kullen said. "I sat with Mayor O'Malley and Lieutenant Governor Steele.
"Mark was helpful in helping me get connected quickly," she said of Frazer.
The North Beach mayor, who also has been a Calvert County commissioner, was considered a candidate for Owings's seat before he decided to instead concentrate on completing his work to revitalize his community.
Kullen emerged as a compromise candidate after members of the Central Committee reportedly became deadlocked as they debated the nomination in a closed meeting after a public candidates forum.
In selecting Kullen, the Central Committee passed over more experienced candidates.
They included 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; and Thomas M. Pelagatti, a Prince Frederick lawyer who is a former judge of the Orphans' Court in Calvert County.
Democrats have said they want Owings's replacement to be a strong candidate to retain the seat in the 2006 election, when formidable Republican opposition is expected.
Kullen, 44, who served 10 years as a governor's appointee on the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, has also said retaining the seat is "critical" for the party.
After her meeting with the governor Tuesday, Kullen will sit down that evening with her campaign committee.
"That's our first meeting -- to develop the kind of skeletal plan" for the 2006 election, she said.
Kullen's newly named campaign committee is called Kullen for Calvert -- or KFC.