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Franchot chief of staff heading to Van Hollen's office

Peter Franchot's loss is Chris Van Hollen's gain.

Van Hollen, the Democratic congressman from Montgomery County, announced today that his current chief of staff is moving to a new position as policy director in Van Hollen's assistant to the speaker office, creating a vacancy that will be filled by David Weaver.

Weaver is currently chief of staff to Comptroller Peter Franchot, and had spent 12 years as communications director to former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan.

Van Hollen cited Weaver's "vast knowledge of Maryland" in making the announcement. Weaver is widely respected in Annapolis and throughout the state as a solid professional and straight-shooter.

His position in the comptroller's office will be filled by a deputy, Len Foxwell. It's likely that Foxwell's job may not be filled, a cost savings that could keep the budget-cutters and Franchot critics such as Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller at bay. Miller went after the comptroller's staffing last year, and Franchot aides are fearful of another effort soon.

Weaver also liked to get involved in campaigns. We wonder: Is this further evidence that Peter Franchot won't be running for governor in 2010? Or, to put a finer point on it, perhaps it's evidence that the smart money is on Van Hollen becoming senator before Franchot becomes governor.

-- David Nitkin and Gadi Dechter

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