The Washington Post

Md. House Republicans to consider leadership change after 90-day session

Members of the Maryland House of Delegates sit at their desks on the first day of the 2013 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Maryland House Republicans decided Tuesday to hold a special election in April in which members could consider replacing the leadership team of Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert) and Minority Whip Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio (R-Talbot).

Some delegates had pushed the idea of voting at a caucus meeting Tuesday morning, citing unhappiness with the direction of O’Donnell’s leadership and concern about the party’s prospects in 2014, when members will be running under new district maps.

They backed down, however, after hearing arguments in recent days about the disruption that could come with a leadership challenge in the middle of the 90-day legislation session, according to several GOP lawmakers. Instead, during a closed-door meeting Tuesday, the Republican delegates agreed to an April 30 vote, three weeks after session ends.

Del. LeRoy E. Myers, Jr. (R-Washington) and Del. Kathy Szeliga (R-Baltimore County) plan to run for minority leader and minority whip at that meeting, Szeliga confirmed in an interview Tuesday. She declined to discuss the issue further, saying she considered caucus deliberations to be “family business.”

O’Donnell, who has survived previous leadership challenges, declined to comment outside the caucus meeting on Tuesday morning, saying “there’s no there there.”

Republicans hold 43 seats in the 141-member House of Delegates.

Talk of a possible leadership change in the House GOP comes as the Maryland Republican Party is also looking for a new leader. Alex X. Mooney, the party’s chairman, announced Saturday that he plans to step down and “pursue other ventures.”

Kate Havard contributed to this report.

John Wagner is a political reporter covering the race for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

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