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Who WIll Succeed Gwendolyn Britt?

Phyllis Jordan

The Prince George's County Central Committee will meet Jan. 30 to choose a successor to Sen. Gwendolyn T. Britt (D-Prince George's), who died suddenly at age 66 last weekend.

By state law, Britt's successor will be chosen by the 24-member party committee and then appointed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Traditionally, Prince George's party decisions have been heavily influenced by the desires of the county's state senators, but they have no formal say in the process.

All three Democratic delegates whose Prince George's districts overlap Britt's are thought to be possible contenders for the seat. They are Jolene Ivey, Victor R. Ramirez and Doyle L. Niemann.

Niemann was particularly close to Britt. He spoke at her funeral Friday, indicating that he was speaking on behalf of other elected leaders in Britt's 47th District. "It's not something I have to do," he said of filling the vacancy. "I'm not running a campaign. But if people think I would be the best representative for the district, I would have no choice but to accept."

Other possibilities include former delegate Rushern L. Baker III, who has twice run for county executive and is widely expected to do so again in 2010. In that race, he will probably face Ivey's husband, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey. In Annapolis, several lawmakers indicated privately that Baker is a favorite for the Senate seat.

A week ago, Baker had said he was not interested in the vacancy. But on Friday, he said he had been convinced by others, including state senators, that he should put his name forward for consideration. "Given this county's situation and the experience I have in Annapolis . . . I know I can help," he said.

There are other possibilities as well. Prince George's County Council Chairman David Harrington (D-Cheverly) lives in the district and is said to be under consideration. "I'm certainly humbled to have my name out there as a possibility," he said Friday, adding: "I'm chairman of the council. My focus right now is to be chairman of the council." But he indicated that he believes it is too early to have the conversation.

And to add one more wild card, some political activists have suggested that Travis Britt serve the remainder of his wife's term. Like his wife, he is a well-known community activist who was involved in the civil-rights movement.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  January 20, 2008; 10:35 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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