Two Republican members of the Maryland Senate will announce their plans over the next few days to leave the legislature and run for the top executive positions in their home counties.
Sen. Barry Glassman plans to announce his bid for Harford County executive Saturday in Havre de Grace. Senator Allan Kittleman will kick off his campaign for Howard County executive Tuesday in Columbia.
Glassman, 51, would succeed David R. Craig, who announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor Monday. Kittleman, 54, is aiming to replace term-limited Democrat Ken Ulman, who is running for lieutenant governor of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown's gubernatorial ticket.
Of the two, Glassman faces the easier path. Republicans have been dominant in Harford in recent elections, and Glassman is a well known and popular former member of the County Council. He came to the Senate in 2008 as an appointed member following the resignation of Sen. J. Robert Hooper and won election in this own right in 2010.
Kittleman, 54, is running in a county that has been trending Democratic in recent years, having elected two two-term Democratic executives in a row. Only in the semi-rural western county, where Kittleman lives, have Republicans won recent elections.
His likely Democratic opponent is Councilwoman Courtney Watson, a champion fund-raiser and a more centrist figure than Ulman.
Kittleman, a former councilman, is the son and appointed successor of the late Robert Kittleman, a revered longtime Republican delegate who spent his later years in the Senate. The Kittleman name is golden in western Howard but not as well-known in Columbia or the east county. But Kittleman is a relatively moderate Republican in the mold of the last Republican county executive, Chuck Ecker, and could give the GOP its best chance so far this century.
The exit from the Senate of two members of the Republican caucus shows the limited appeal of spending a long time in the minority in that chamber, where the GOP holds only 12 out of 47 seats and is routinely steam-rolled by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
The good news for Republicans is that Glassman and Kittleman are leaving districts the party will be favored to hold.