Democrats are trying to make a move on a long-held Republican seat on the Eastern Shore. This week, Jim Mathias, a District 38 delegate and former mayor of Ocean City, filed his Senate candidacy paperwork with the State Board of Elections.
The Senate seat is up for grabs because J. Lowell Stoltzfus, a Republican, is retiring after 18 years. District 38 includes Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. Also representing the district are Del. Norman H. Conway, a Democrat who leads the House Appropriations Committee, and Republican Del. D. Page Elmore. Mathias was appointed to the House of Delegates in 2006 to fill the seat of the late Bennett Bozman.
Mathias is a Democrat, but in a brief interview today he said he is "fiscally conservative" and is well-versed in the agriculture, poultry and tourism needs of the Eastern Shore. He said his "access to the leadership, from the governor to the speaker of the House to the Senate president" -- all Democrats -- would benefit his constituents.
Another Democrat, Charles Lehrer of Crisfield, also has filed for the Senate seat. Michael James, though he has not officially filed, is the likely Republican contender. James, a businessman in the hospitality industry, is the general manager and managing partner of the Carousel Oceanfront Hotel and Condominiums in Ocean City.