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Harford, Cecil Republican committees select nominees to succeed Del. Andrew Cassilly

The Harford and Cecil Republican central committees have each nominated a person to fill the vacancy in the House of Delegates created by Andrew Cassilly's promotion to the governor's senior adviser. Harford's committee nominated its chairman, Mike Griffith, left, and Cecil's committee nominated former chairman David Woodruff, right.
The Harford and Cecil Republican central committees have each nominated a person to fill the vacancy in the House of Delegates created by Andrew Cassilly's promotion to the governor's senior adviser. Harford's committee nominated its chairman, Mike Griffith, left, and Cecil's committee nominated former chairman David Woodruff, right. (Handout photos)

Two nominees have been put forth as potential successors to former Harford County Del. Andrew Cassilly, who stepped down from his legislative seat to work as senior adviser to Gov. Larry Hogan.

Cassilly, a Republican, was tapped by the governor several weeks ago and has since started working with Hogan. He held one of two seats in the Maryland House of Delegates representing Subdistrict 35B, straddling Cecil and Harford counties; Republican Del. Teresa Reilly holds the second seat.

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The Republican central committees of Cecil and Harford selected their respective nominees this week, and the governor’s office will have the final say on who will succeed Cassilly.

Hogan has 15 days — starting Dec. 19 — to appoint a successor to Cassilly’s seat, according to Shareese Churchill, press secretary for the governor’s office.

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The Maryland General Assembly’s 2020 session begins Jan. 8.

The Republican Central Committee of Harford County selected its current chair, Mike Griffith, out of four applicants during its meeting Wednesday, following interviews with the applicants. The other three applicants were Diane Sengstacke, Jim Welch and Luke Kaczmarek.

Jeff McBride, the past committee chairman, oversaw the selection process. He noted Thursday that he found all four candidates “very qualified.”

“Ultimately, we had to decide on one person,” McBride said.

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Griffith was selected by a unanimous vote of 11 committee members present Wednesday, McBride said. Griffith was one of the 11, and was allowed to vote, per Maryland’s GOP bylaws; the 12th committee member was traveling out of the country Wednesday.

Griffith, a Bel Air resident, was elected to the central committee in 2018 and became chairman earlier this year. The Marine Corps veteran is vice president and chief marketing officer with HPS Management in Havre de Grace, according to a copy of his resume provided by McBride.

Griffith has previously worked with Ripken Baseball as director of business development and as a media sales consultant in the advertising department of Baltimore Sun Media, the parent company of The Aegis.

Griffith also serves on the boards of directors for community and professional organizations such as the Maryland Building Industry Association, the Harford County Economic Development Advisory Board and The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, according to his resume.

McBride praised Griffith’s work ethic and commitment to Republican Party organizations and candidates.

“He’s been very active out in the community, working with the party and other campaigns,” McBride said.

The Cecil County Republican Central Committee selected past chair David Woodruff during its meeting Monday evening. Woodruff was selected out of two candidates; the second applicant ended up being disqualified because the person does not live in Subdistrict 35B, said the current committee chair, Vincent Sammons.

Sammons said he met with Griffith Thursday morning to determine if the two committee chairs could agree on a single nominee to send to the governor’s office, but they ended up deciding that the Cecil and Harford committees will offer their respective nominees.

The party chairs agreed that Griffith and Woodruff “are both qualified to go forward and will do a great job, regardless of which one is picked by the governor,” Sammons said.

Woodruff, a Rising Sun resident, is pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Delaware, planning to graduate in 2021, according to his resume, a copy of which Sammons provided.

The Army veteran has previously worked as a policy analyst with the House Republican Conference in the U.S. House of Representatives, and he interned in the U.S. Senate’s sergeant at arms office, according to a letter Sammons sent to the governor’s office.

Woodruff also is a firefighter and EMS worker with the Community Fire Company of Rising Sun, according to his resume.

Sammons, in an interview Thursday, praised Woodruff as “highly qualified,” citing his prior work in government.

“His experiences and education distinguish him as a public servant, and a leader in times of crisis,” Sammons wrote in his letter to the governor. “As a Delegate he will undoubtedly serve District 35B with honor and distinction, able to appeal to all of his constituents and not simply to those along partisan lines.”

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