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Beidle files for state Senate in Anne Arundel's District 32

Del. Pam Beidle made it official Monday, filing to run for state Senate in Anne Arundel County’s District 32.

The Linthicum Democrat, who served on the County Council from 1998 until she was elected to the House in 2006, filed to run for the seat Monday along with three other members of a slate for the district. She hopes to win the spot held by state Sen. James “Ed” DeGrange, who announced Friday he will retire when his term ends next year.

Beidle will campaign as the leader of Team 32, along with incumbent Dels. Mark Chang and Ted Sophocleus as well as Sandy Bartlett. Chang and Sophocleus filed to run for reelection today. Bartlett launched her campaign in June.

Beidle said DeGrange encouraged her Senate run. She said District 32 residents would benefit from her leadership and experience. She served as county delegation chairwoman two of the past three years. Beidle used the passage of a bill creating an elected school board earlier this year as an example of her leadership.

The elected school for Anne Arundel County was a controversial issue for years. Anne Arundel is the only municipality with a fully appointed school board.

County voters will vote for school board members for the first time next year. If elected, Beidle said her constituents would benefit from having someone represent them who understands “the importance of state and local government” working together. She said her background has prepared her to work in the smaller chamber.

“I always have my hand in local government,” Beidle said. “I feel really prepared to do this.”

How much influence she’ll have as a senator will depend on her committee assignments, she said. She said she is proud of her efforts to fund the widening of Route 175 and the expansion in and around BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

Campaigning as a single unit — Team 32 — will benefit District 32 because, if elected, they will enter the 2019 General Assembly ready to work on their 135,000 constituents’ top priorities.

“It helps work collaboratively from the beginning,” she said. “(We can) support each other’s issues. We’ve been very successful working with the district.”

Hanover resident Derek Kent also filed as a Democratic candidate for the three-member district in July.

Republicans Tim Walters, Mark Bailey and Patty Ewing are planning to run for District 32 seats. They have not filed with the state yet but have until Feb. 27 to make it official.

Wayne Smith, chairman of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee, said the party has a candidate who plans to run against Beidle but who has yet to announce. He said Republicans will offer voters a change particularly in terms of tax, transportation and immigration policy.

“We believe District 32 is a conservative district,” Smith said. “You’ll see some real differentiation from the two parties in 2018. (District 32) is the economic engine for Maryland. It deserves better representation than what we’ve had.”

Walters said Democrats have not fulfilled promises. He said the county — specifically north county — has not reaped the financial benefits pledged during the 2010 campaign to allow gambling at Arundel Mills Mall.

“The biggest issue at the north end of the county is the school formula is detrimental to us,” Walters said. “We have not seen a windfall for our district from the casinos. It was a zero sum game.”

He said District 32 could benefit from a fresh perspective.

”It would be nice to put a Republican in at least one of them and have an exchange of ideas,” he said.

Walters received 15.3 percent of the vote in his 2014 campaign for one of three District 32 seats. He finished fourth behind Beidle, Sophocleus and Chang.

District 32 covers the northern and western parts of the county, including Jessup, Fort George G. Meade, Severn, part of Odenton, Maryland City and Linthicum.

The primary election is June 26.

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