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Democrats hire former Assembly aide as executive director

The Maryland Democratic Party has hired a former aide to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch for its  top staff position.

In a memo circulated Friday to members of the party's executive committee, Chairman D. Bruce Poole said he offered the job of executive director to Patrick H. Murray, who is now director of state affairs for Johns Hopkins University.

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Murray, 35, is a veteran Democratic political strategist who worked for three years as deputy chief of staff to Miller and three as a top aide to Busch.

Poole told committee members that the party's online job posting brought in 29 applications that were narrowed to five finalists before the search committee chose Murray.

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Murray will have the task of rallying the party after a bitter defeat in the 2014 governor's race. Poole said Murray is ready to "hit the ground running."

"We shouldn't have lost in November and that's not acceptable and our mission is to see it doesn't happen again," Poole said.

Murray said his immediate task will be the 2016 election.

"The first priority is to win and win big in the U.S. Senate race and make sure we deliver Maryland to the next presidential nominee," he said.

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Poole noted that Murray will assume the position on an interim basis until the full committee can vote on the hiring at its July 22 meeting.

In addition to his work with the legislature, Murray served in 2003-2004 as executive director of the Democratic Party in Kansas -- one of the most Republican-dominated states in the country.

"If you can do well there, you can do well anywhere. You're a rock star in Maryland," Poole said.

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