Montgomery County Democratic party chair picked to fill legislative vacancy

Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chair Linda Foley speaks during a special meeting to appoint a replacement to represent District 15 in the House of Delegates. Foley received overwhelming majority support. (Screenshot courtesy Maryland Matters)

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The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee chose one of their own — the panel’s chair, Linda Foley — to fill a District 15 vacancy in the House of Delegates.

Foley received nearly all of the votes in a five-candidate field after a special meeting of the central committee on Tuesday. The vote was 20-2 with one committee member not voting and Foley abstaining.

Candidates Michael Shrier, an attorney who works for the American Arbitration Association, and former Del. Saqib Ali, who represented District 39 in the House of Delegates from 2007 to 2011 and has been campaigning for the District 15 position for more than a year, each garnered one vote.

Foley, a former journalist and former national president of the Newspaper Guild union, will take the seat vacated by former Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), who was appointed as a Circuit Court judge last month.

Her nomination will be sent to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), who by law has 15 days to confirm the committee’s selection.

During brief candidate statements and interviews before the vote, Foley highlighted her relationships with the other lawmakers in District 15, as well as throughout Montgomery County.

The other candidates for the appointment were Amy Frieder, a research assistant at the U.S. Department of State who was the runner-up in the 2018 race for the seat in a competitive primary season; David Griffith, a Boyds resident and school and neighborhood leader; and Colin Richard, an attorney who committed to not running for re-election if he was appointed.

Foley said Tuesday night she intends to run for a full term in the House of Delegates in the June primary. Ali, who boasted about his fundraising success in the district already this election cycle, will also continue his run. Frieder, who raised concerns about the appointment process and called it undemocratic, did not commit during the meeting to running for the position in 2022.

District 15 includes a large swath of western Montgomery County, including Germantown, Poolesville and Potomac.

Foley is the second central committee chair recently nominated to fill a legislative vacancy. In September, Prince George’s County Central Committee Chair Cheryl Landis was picked to represent District 23B in the House of Delegates.

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