The Carroll County Republican Central Committee selected former county commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier as its recommendation to fill the District 5 State Senate seat Saturday. The seat is held by Sen. Joe Getty who has been tapped by Gov.-elect Larry Hogan to serve as his Policy and Legislative Director, and will have to vacate the senate seat to take the cabinet position.
Frazier still has to be confirmed by Hogan before filling the seat. If Hogan rejects the committee's nomination, he may then appoint any person he wishes.
Frazier said, though she doesn't have specific legislation in mind, she is planning on fully supporting Gov.-elect Hogan's Change Maryland platform.
"He's articulated his goals well, from changing anti-business attitudes and lessening the burden on the working family," Frazier said. "I agree that taxes chase the wealth away and tax cuts are needed to keep and grow businesses in Maryland."
Larry Helminiak, vice chairman of the committee, said the application process included interviews with five candidates and then a secret ballot process. He said he couldn't say how many votes each candidate received. Helminiak said he believes Frazier's political career speaks for itself.
"After interviewing all five candidates, we realized we couldn't make a mistake," Helminiak said. "They were all so qualified that any choice would have been the right choice."
Frazier, a Taneytown resident, served two terms as a County Commissioner. She lost in the June primary to Stephen Wantz and ran as a write-in candidate in the November election which she also lost.
She currently serves as president of the Taneytown Republican Women's Club and the treasurer of the Tri-District Republican club.
Del.-elect Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, said he was shocked when he heard the nomination of Frazier. Shoemaker and Frazier served together in the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, and if Frazier is approved, the two will serve together in the Maryland State Legislature.
"The Republican Central Committee must be nuttier than outhouse rats to select someone who was voted down twice in the last year alone," Shoemaker said. "To make this decision represents a nullification of the will of the people."
Frazier said she saw her loss in the commissioner's race differently, and she felt humbled by the committee's vote of confidence.
"I'm 54 years old," Frazier said. "My life experience has been that when there are failures, they usually are stepping stones to the next success."
The Republican Central Committee has kept the names of the applicants secret throughout the process. A press release from the committee announcing Frazier's nomination states "The process was confidential to protect the applicants and to keep the process free from outside interference."
Helminiak said now that the selection has been made, they are considering releasing the names of the other candidates, though no final decision has been made.
Del. Justin Ready, R-District 5 has been open about his candidacy about the position. He said he was disappointed not to be selected, but he is looking forward to serving the taxpayers in the House of Delegates.
Shoemaker said, to him, Ready was the clear choice for the position.
"You have to be able to reach across the aisle, which [Frazier has] proven she can't do," Shoemaker said."
In 2013, two Carroll residents filed a lawsuit challenging the Carroll County Board of Commissioners' practice of starting each meeting with a prayer to Jesus Christ. Following a March 2014 injunction to temporarily stop sectarian prayers until the U.S. District Court could make a final ruling in the case, Frazier defied the order by quoting a prayer including references to Jesus Christ, Lord, our Father, merciful father and the Holy Spirit, and stated she'd be willing to go to jail for her right to pray.
While the injunction was later lifted, the lawsuit remains active.
Del. Susan Krebs and Sen.-elect Getty could not be reached for comment.
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Reach staff writer Jacob deNobel at 410-857-7890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.