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GOP panel picks Neall to fill state Senate seat Glendening must rule on choice within 15 days


Due to an editing error, an article Sunday about the nomination of Robert R. Neall to fill the state Senate seat held by the late John A. Cade incorrectly reported the confirmation procedure. Gov. Parris N. Glendening is required to confirm Neall. He must do so within 15 days.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Anne Arundel's Republican Central Committee picked Robert R. Neall yesterday to fill the state Senate seat vacant since John A. Cade's death last month, culminating weeks of intraparty battling while resurrecting a notable political career.

Behind closed doors, the full committee voted 10-3 to nominate Neall, a former county executive and three-term state delegate, to serve the remaining two years of Cade's term. In October, a month before his death, Cade asked Neall to run for his seat in 1998 when Cade was planning a bid for state comptroller, a committee member said. The announcement was to be made Jan. 2.

"This is what Senator Cade wanted," said Merri Mullaney, a Central Committee member and legislative aide to Cade, who held the seat for 21 years. "He was not going to run in 1998, and he was concerned about who would."

Neall's victory over first-term Del. Robert C. Baldwin, the other contender for the 33rd District seat, revives one of Anne Arundel's most storied Republican careers: House of Delegates at age 26, House Republican leader at 34, Maryland drug czar at 41 and Anne Arundel county executive at 42. The governor must rule on the committee's choice within 15 days. If the governor approves, Neall would change from an Annapolis lobbyist into a public official for a second time.

"It feels a little surreal to me," said Neall, 48. "But I've spent most of my adult life in elected office, and I think I'll get used to it again pretty quickly."

For moderate Republicans, Neall's selection -- by secret ballot -- represents a hard-fought victory over the party's conservative wing. Many GOP leaders viewed the appointment process as an early skirmish in the party's 1998 gubernatorial primary.

"I don't think this vote has anything to do with the Republican Party statewide," Neall said. "This was about who is the best candidate to fill John Cade's seat."

Pub Date: 12/08/96

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