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Top Md. Senate Republican E.J. Pipkin plans to resign, move to Texas

Maryland Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin (R-Cecil) plans to resign from the chamber next week to pursue a new career in sports management, he said Monday.

Pipkin, a member of the Senate for more than a decade who assumed leadership of the Republican caucus in 2011, plans to move to Dallas to enroll in a masters program at Southern Methodist University, he said.

“One’s responsibilities to family and oneself often change the direction of life,” Pipkin said in a letter to media outlets. “So it is with regret that I am resigning. ... I will carry with me both the bitter and the sweet memories of the past eleven years.”

Pipkin, who was often combative and frequently employed humor when fighting Democratic initiatives, led opposition this year to legislation on gun control and offshore wind power subsidies, among other issues.

In a statement, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who sparred with Pipkin over the years, said he wishes him “nothing but success in the future.”

“Senator Pipkin had a strong work ethic, was knowledgeable on the issues and served his constituents well,” Miller said.

Pipkin, a former Wall Street bond trader, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate in 2004 against Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

In an interview, Del. Michael D. Smigiel (R-Cecil) said that he is interested in succeeding Pipkin in the Senate but expects others could vie for his seat as well.

“I’m going to miss Senator Pipkin,” Smigiel said. “He’s been my friend for a decade. But he has a great opportunity.”

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

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