OCEAN CITY – Delegate Mary Beth Carozza made her plan to challenge incumbent Sen. Jim Mathias in 2018 official with a special announcement Sunday.
The Republican Carozza, accompanied by Gov. Larry Hogan, told a large crowd of supporters she’d spent the past three years fighting for the Eastern Shore in Annapolis and that she wanted to continue doing so in the state senate.
“As I have thought about the 2018 election I believe I can do more for the shore as your state senator,” Carozza said.
Carozza invited supporters to Ocean City Elementary School for the Sunday afternoon announcement. The school’s cafeteria teemed with area residents and elected officials from various parts of the Eastern Shore.
“Holding this event here is not only a nod to my roots as the first school I attended on the shore but it’s also a reminder to keep my public service focused on the future,” Carozza said. “Focused to ensure that our young people have the opportunities to pursue their life and career passions in safe schools, neighborhoods and communities, so they have the option to live and work and raise their families on the shore and stay here in their retirement years.”
Carozza, who grew up in Ocean City as her parents operated the resort’s first drive-through fast food restaurant, said her career working in federal and state government had prepared her to represent the Eastern Shore.
“I was humbled to be elected to the House of Delegates by close to 74 percent of the vote…,” Carozza said. “For the past three years I have been proud to serve as one of Governor Hogan’s strongest partners in the Maryland General Assembly.”
It was Hogan who introduced Carozza to the crowd Sunday. He said he’d gotten to know her when they’d worked under former Gov. Bob Ehrlich. She approached him shortly after he created the Change Maryland campaign.
“She came to visit me when nobody ever thought I was running for governor…,” Hogan said. “She told me the things that were bothering her and the things she was concerned about and the reasons why she was considering running for the house. It sounded exactly like the same reasons I was thinking about getting involved. She was concerned about the exact same things.”
Hogan said the 2014 election during which he and Carozza were elected sent a strong message to Annapolis. Since then, he said they’d been focused on turning Maryland around by putting people back work and helping business grow. He said the unemployment rate had dropped and that Maryland had gone from being ranked 49th in the country in terms of economic performance to being ranked seventh.
“Mary Beth has been a big part of that economic success,” he said.
Hogan stressed his willingness to work with Democrats on issues facing the state but said when it came down to it he supported Carozza over Mathias.
“He votes with the liberal Democrats in Baltimore City and Montgomery County and Prince George’s County,” Hogan said. “While I respect him very much as a person—I like him—I happen to believe the person that would do the best job of representing you in the Maryland senate for the 38th district is your very own delegate.”
He said the extra vote Carozza could provide in the senate was critical in pushing the Republican agenda.
“Right now they can override every single veto,” he said. “I’m playing goalie, I’m stopping really bad things from happening. I’m trying to stop billions of dollars in increased spending. I’m trying to stop very crazy liberal agenda legislation. I’m trying to get really good things done for the state and time and time again your current senator votes with the bad guys and Mary Beth Carozza votes with us.”
Carozza, in turn, advocated on behalf of Hogan.
“I thought a lot about this,” she said. “For real and lasting change to take hold in Maryland Governor Hogan needs to be reelected to a second term and he needs more team players in the Maryland state senate.”
She said she was committed to supporting career and technology education, the poultry industry and the commercial fishing industry. She also spoke of the importance of continuing the battle against the ongoing heroin epidemic.
Carozza said that in the senate she’d be in a stronger position to support causes important to the Eastern Shore.
“As a Republican state senator representing the shore I would be in a position to uphold Governor Hogan’s vetoes on bills like the paid sick leave bill and also to work more closely with him and his administration on strategy and partnerships and with key leaders in the Maryland General Assembly to support our shore priorities…,” she said. “This campaign will be a total team effort. It will be about all of us as a community as we work to reelect Governor Larry Hogan and send me to the state senate to fight for you and your families. I am so grateful for each and every one of you and I promise you I will continue to give it my all to serve my home shore community.”
Mathias was elected to the Senate in 2010 after serving in the House of Delegates since 2006. He was previously Ocean City’s mayor for 10 years and a councilman for six years.