This story was updated at 11:45 p.m. Nov. 30, 2021, to add more details.
The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday night for Linda Foley as the party’s choice to fill a state delegate vacancy in District 15.
Foley, the party chair in the county, received 20 of the 22 votes that were cast. Saqib Ali and Michael Schrier each received one vote.
The other three candidates were Amy Frieder, David Griffith and Colin Richard.
The vacancy came about after Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Kathleen Dumais, a Democrat, as a circuit court judge about a month ago.
In Maryland, when a state lawmaker’s seat becomes vacant, the county central committee for the party of the most recent delegate or senator takes applications, then recommends its choice for the appointment.
Hogan has the final say, but generally approves the central committee’s choice.
It’s unclear if the committee’s vote on Tuesday allows enough time for Hogan to announce his nominee, then for the delegate to be sworn in, by the General Assembly’s special session starting Dec. 6. The legislature’s 90-day regular session for 2022 starts in January.
Dumais’ term ends in January 2023. She is in her fifth four-year term as a delegate.
District 15 stretches from Potomac in the south to Clarksburg in the north and includes Darnestown and Germantown, but not Rockville.
Ali represented District 39 as a state delegate from 2007 to 2011. He said Tuesday that the map was redrawn to move him into District 15 and he thinks it was intentional.
Frieder came in fourth out of nine candidates in a 2018 Democratic primary for three state delegate seats. The winning candidates were Dumais, Lily Qi and David Fraser-Hidalgo.
The six applicants each gave statements and answered questions on Tuesday night during a virtual public meeting through Zoom. Then, the committee voted.
There are 24 members of the central committee. Foley said she was allowed to vote, but recused herself instead. One committee member who attended Tuesday’s meeting did not vote.
One issue raised Tuesday night was whether each applicant planned to run for a full four-year term in 2022.
Foley, a former journalist and former union leader, and Ali, a software engineer, said they would run for a full term, regardless of the vote on the vacancy.
Griffith, the senior director of advocacy and government relations for a company that works with educators, said he would not run against any incumbents. Schrier, a partner with the law firm Husch Blackwell, said he did not plan to run in 2022.
Richard, a lawyer for a financial technology company, said he would not run, even if he won the vacancy vote, since a race for a full term could be tilted toward an incumbent.
Frieder, a research assistant at the U.S. Department of State, did not directly answer the question about her 2022 plans, but said she is confident she would do well if she ran.
During her presentation to the committee, Frieder said she received a challenge to her residency last week, but she did not have a chance to gather the proof she needed. She assured the committee that she lives in the district, though.