Maryland state Sen. Wayne Norman, a first-term Republican, died suddenly in his home Sunday, according to Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.
Sen. Norman was 62. The circumstances of his death were unclear.
A lawyer and longtime GOP activist, Sen. Norman was appointed to the House of Delegates in 2008, where he served until he won a seat in the Senate in 2014.
News of his death stunned his colleagues in the General Assembly.
“He had an incredible legal career, he was a state senator, he just found out he didn’t have any opposition for reelection and was going to run unopposed. He just became a grandfather,” Senate Minority Leader J.B. Jennings (R-Baltimore County) said. “He was really, honestly at the top of the world with his life.”
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in Sen. Norman’s honor.
“The First Lady and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of such a distinguished public servant, husband, and father,” Hogan said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to Senator Norman’s wife, Linda, their two children, and granddaughter.
“Senator Norman devoted decades of his life to serving his constituents in Harford and Cecil Counties, first at the local level, and then as a Delegate and Senator,” Hogan said. “His important and dedicated work on the Judicial Proceedings and Ethics Committees will not be soon forgotten, nor will his steadfast advocacy on behalf of rural Marylanders and our veterans.
“I know I am joined by the entire General Assembly and all state officials in praying for Senator Norman’s family and friends as we honor his life and service,” Hogan said.
Sen. Norman’s death comes with a little more than a month left in the legislative session in Annapolis. He introduced a variety of bills affecting legal procedures and easing restrictions on carrying concealed firearms.
“He really was a genuinely, well-liked nice guy. I can’t tell you of any enemies he had in the Senate or the legislature,” Jennings said.
Other lawmakers shared tributes to Sen. Norman on Facebook. “He was my seat mate in committee and brought a lot of knowledge and excitement to Annapolis,” wrote state Sen. James Brochin (D-Baltimore County). “Rest In Peace buddy.”
“This is a tremendous loss for the citizens of Harford and Cecil counties, and all Marylanders,” said Del. Christian J. Miele (R-Baltimore County.)
Sen. Norman was born in Baltimore and earned degrees in history and law from the University of Baltimore, according to his legislative biography. He started his own law firm in 1995, where he focused on debt collection and contract disputes.
He was married with a son and a daughter. Jennings said Sen. Norman also had a passion for sports cars made by the defunct British manufacturer MG Car. He also was keen on trains and a member of the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society.
Before his death, Sen. Norman was sharing Facebook posts marveling at the local effects of the windstorm that battered the Washington region Friday.
“Left session in Nap-O-Lis and crept up the road due to the high winds,” he wrote Friday. “Kept slamming in to the sides of that big ole Suburban.”
Glassman, the county executive, ordered Harford County flags lowered to half-staff until Sen. Norman’s burial.
Senate leaders were unsure how Sen. Norman’s death would affect the November election for District 35, where he was unopposed. Typically, the governor fills legislative vacancies with a person recommended by local party committees.