As a Carroll County commissioner, Robin Frazier made headlines earlier this year for violating a judge’s order against sectarian prayers at commission meetings. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

The Carroll County Republican Central Committee on Saturday announced a surprise choice for an upcoming state Senate vacancy, picking Robin B. Frazier, a former county commissioner, over Justin D. Ready, a sitting delegate and strong ally of Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R).

Frazier, who was defeated for re-election as a commissioner in last year’s Republican primary, and Ready, a member of Hogan’s transition team, were both vying for the Senate seat currently held by Joseph M. Getty (R-Carroll). Getty was re-elected in November but is planning to resign on Jan. 21 to become Hogan’s legislative and policy director.

In a statement Saturday, the nine-member Carroll County Republican Central Committee said it faced “a difficult choice … as there was a strong field of well-qualified applicants.” It praised Frazier for having had “a long and distinguished career in both elected office and private business.”

Earlier this year, Frazier made headlines for violating a judge’s order against sectarian prayers at commissioners’ meetings and saying she was willing to go to jail to maintain the practice.

The committee said that it had picked Frazier on Friday as part of a process that was kept confidential “to protect the applicants and to keep the process free from outside interference.”

Under the Maryland Constitution, county central committees are tasked with recommending replacements to the governor for legislative vacancies. The governor has limited discretion to make an alternative choice, though there is recent precedent for a governor taking steps to alter the outcome.

Two years ago, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) urged the Prince George’s Democratic Central Committee to withdraw its initial pick for an open delegate seat after concerns were raised about the criminal background of the person it put forward.

Hogan aides did not immediately respond Saturday to a request for comment on Frazier’s selection.

Frazier served as a Carroll commissioner from 1998 to 2002 and then again from 2010 to last year. She finished second in the June GOP primary with about 38 percent of the vote, behind Stephen Wantz, who drew 56 percent. Frazier launched an unsuccessful write-in bid for the general election.

She held a position in the previous Republican administration in Annapolis, serving under Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. as intergovernmental affairs coordinator for the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism and Community Initiatives.

Ready was re-elected to a second term in the House of Delegates in November. He is a former executive director of the Maryland Republican Party.