The Charles County Democratic Central Committee made County Commissioner Murray D. Levy (D-At Large) its choice Friday night to replace former delegate Van T. Mitchell in the General Assembly.

The decision by the 12-member committee came after more than three hours of interviews with six candidates in La Plata. Committee Chairman Edith J. Patterson praised Levy's "strong leadership" in Charles County government, where he is in his fifth term as a commissioner and third as board president.

"I'm very proud and thankful that the central committee has given me this opportunity," Levy said. "It's an exciting time, but a bittersweet time. My heart and roots are in county government. I will miss it, but it's time for me to move on."

Levy's likely departure opens the door for major change on the Board of County Commissioners. Levy's nomination now goes to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R). Once the governor appoints Levy, the central committee will begin the process of picking a commissioner to succeed him.

The other candidates for the delegate post, which Mitchell gave up to become the state's deputy secretary of health and mental hygiene, were former state delegate Samuel C. "Buddy" Linton, Charles County Fiscal Services Director Richard A. Winkler, Waldorf consultant and former delegate candidate Gary V. Hodge, Waldorf businessman Gaylord Hogue and Reginald Kearney, a Baptist minister and former candidate for county commissioner.

Patterson said the committee chose Levy because of his success as a commissioner, his widespread support in Charles and his experience in Annapolis working as the county's legislative representative with the Maryland Association of Counties.