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Maryland House GOP keep leadership

Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke were selected in January by their GOP peers to continue their roles leading Maryland's House Republicans.
Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke were selected in January by their GOP peers to continue their roles leading Maryland's House Republicans. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Republicans in the House of Delegates reelected their leadership team to guide the caucus into a year where they say the GOP has more sway than ever.

The caucus endorsed House Minority Leader Nic Kipke and Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga Tuesday to continue the roles they won in a 2013 toppling of Republican power in the chamber.

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Kipke, an Anne Arundel County Republican, has predicted the 2015 legislative session that opens Wednesday will be more bipartisan than in years past, now that the GOP picked up several seats and Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan is set to take office.

Republicans knocked off every Democrat in rural Maryland except one on the Eastern Shore. Democrats, who have long dominated Maryland state government, still hold enough votes in both chambers to override any veto.

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But the sweep of Republican legislators in some former Democratic strongholds and Hogan's 5 percentage -point victory on promises to cut government spending has shifted the tone in Annapolis.  Democrats chose not to hold the large, festive luncheon normally thrown the day before session begins.

"This term we have the highest number of Republicans serving in the House of Delegates in the history of our state," Kipke said in a statement. "Maryland is a great state but we face some significant problems. These are not 'Republican' or 'Democratic' problems, they impact all of Maryland and we need to work together to solve them."

The Republican House and Senate caucuses were scheduled to hold their annual luncheon on Tuesday.

Hogan is scheduled to address the both chambers during opening session on Wednesday, a week before he to be sworn in. Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has been invited to speak to each chamber on Thursday.

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