Days before her inauguration as Cecil County’s first county executive, Tari Moore has changed her party from Republican to unaffiliated.
The move will eliminate the Republican Central Committee’s role in determining who will replace Moore on the county council, a seat she will resign Monday before being sworn in as executive.
Moore announced her decision in an email to reporters late Thursday.
“Today, I filed with the County Board of Elections to change my voter affiliation to one who is unaffiliated with any political party,” Moore wrote. “I have done so only after long and careful consideration, and because I believe that the best interests of all Cecil County citizens should outweigh my own personal preferences in this matter.”
She declined to comment further, saying that she will explain her decision Monday after she is sworn in.
Moore’s announcement effectively ends a process established by the RCC to fill the seat, but begins a new round of speculation and political dealings to find a replacement.
The county’s charter, which was approved by voters in 2010 and takes effect Monday, states that if a council member vacates her seat, her party’s central committee will submit a list of up to three possible replacements to the council.
The remaining councilmembers would then choose from among those names. If the council deadlocked, the county executive would then choose from among those names.
Earlier this month, the RCC announced that it would take applications from those interested in being considered for the seat.
The board has already received applications of interest from Rebecca Demmler, a former county commissioner; Joyce Bowlsbey, chair of the charter board; and Kennard Wiggins, vice chairman of the county planning commission. It had planned to interview the candidates Dec. 5.
However, since Moore is no longer affiliated with the party, its role in picking her successor is over.
The charter states that the four remaining councilmembers – which after Monday will include Republicans Diana Broomell, Michael Dunn, Robert Hodge and Alan McCarthy – will now be able to appoint anyone they wish to fill the seat, provided that person is a registered voter and has been a resident of District 2 (which includes most of the greater Elkton area) for six months.
If the council deadlocks, Moore will choose her own replacement from among the suggestions of the county council.
Chris Zeauskas, chair of the RCC, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.