By Dan Menefee
Del. Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil, will run for a fourth term to keep his House seat in District 36 — and forgo a promised Senate primary fight against former Del. Richard Sossi and the recently appointed Sen. Stephen Hershey.
Smigiel’s decision to sit out the Senate race is a sharp reversal from a pledge he made in September after losing a bitter nomination fight against Hershey to fill the seat suddenly vacated by Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin.
Gov. Martin O’Malley picked Hershey to fill Pipkin’s seat after Hershey and Smigiel came to a draw among the district’s four Republican Central Committees. The idea that a Democratic governor was the final arbiter in a GOP nomination has divided the Republican Party in the upper shore.
“The Republican Party could not be anymore splintered than it is,” Smigiel said in a brief interview. “Why feed into that and create more dissension amongst the Republicans. We have a target we should all be aimed at and that is ‘progressive socialism’ and what it is doing to Maryland.”
Smigiel said his membership on the House Judiciary Committee and the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review will allow him to have a greater impact on legislation.
“I’m most effective staying in the House of Delegates right now because I am pretty well allowed to do things that I wouldn’t be allowed to do in the Senate,” Smigiel said.
Lined up to to challenge Smigiel are Joseph Uhler, a veteran Maryland State Trooper, Rod Heinze, a former Port Deposit town administrator, and Cecil County Councilman Alan McCarthy.
In the video below, Smigiel explains his decision to run for a fourth term in the House — and also weighs in on a minimum wage hike and the legalization of recreational marijuana.