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Replacing Ruben

Nevermind that the general election is still six weeks away. The jockeying is well underway to fill the footsteps of outgoing Sen. Ida G. Ruben.

Ruben (D-Dist. 20) campaigned for re-election in the September primary by touting her leadership roles: She is president pro-tem of the Senate, a largely ceremonial office; sits on the budget and taxation committee; and chairs the Montgomery County Senate delegation.

Her primary defeat by newcomer Jamie Raskin, an American University law professor, opens up those positions. Raskin is running unopposed in November.

Senators said it is up to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert) to recommend a successor for the pro-tem position, whose major duty is to do take the gavel when the president is off the floor.

Miller will also select a senator to fill Ruben's seat on the budget and taxation committee. Montgomery has had three senators on the committee for at least a dozen years, so members of the delegation say they hope Miller will maintain that tradition. The smart money is on Rich Madaleno, the Democratic nominee for Senate from Dist. 19. As a delegate Madaleno served on the House Appropriations Committee and was a goverment budget and legislative analyst for more than a decade before being elected delegate in 2002.

"Rich is the most likely successor," said Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Dist. 16).

The Senators themselves will elect a delegation chair at a meeting after the general election. Once again, the smart money already knows whom to bet on.

"It would be premature of me to say I'm going to be chair, but the bottom line is at this point I have the support of a majority of the senators," said Sen. P.J. Hogan (D-Dist. 39).

Cameron Barr

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 5, 2006; 6:27 AM ET
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