ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP)- Maryland Del. Kathy Szeliga said Tuesday she is running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that will become vacant when Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski retires next year.
Szeliga has represented parts of Baltimore and Harford counties in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2011. Two years later, she became the House minority whip. She said the leadership role has provided her with experience working with Democrats.
"The people we send to Washington to fix our problems are not getting it done. They're gridlocked," Szeliga said at a news conference. "I will begin in the Senate focusing on three main goals: improving our quality of life, improving our security and improving our schools."
Before becoming a state delegate, Szeliga worked from 2004 to 2010 as chief of staff for then-state Sen. Andy Harris, who is now a congressman. She also was Harris' campaign manager in his 2012 congressional race.
Szeliga, who lives in Perry Hall in Baltimore County and works in a family construction business, will be running in a presidential election year in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 margin. She said she believes voters are looking for new representation.
"They're not looking for career politicians and business as usual," Szeliga said.
In the April 26 primary, Szeliga will face Richard Douglas, a former Defense Department appointee in the George W. Bush administration from Bladensburg. Anthony Seda also has filed with the Maryland State Board of Elections to run in the GOP primary. Chrys Kefalas, an openly gay Republican who worked in former Gov. Robert Ehrlich's administration, is exploring a run.
Candidates running in the Democratic primary now include Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Donna Edwards. Rep. Elijah Cummings has been considering running in the Democratic primary as well.