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Garagiola to resign; who’s the next senator up?

In sports, a common refrain when a starting player is lost has become “next man up” — a mindset the Maryland Senate must now adopt.

Sen. Robert A. Garagiola, the Senate’s majority leader since 2011, plans to resign from elected office Sept. 1, according to a statement sent by his office.

“For nearly 20 years, most of my life has been dedicated to public service of varying forms, and I’m ready to start the next chapter” Garagiola said in the statement. “I want to spend more quality time with my children. It is time for me to be a father first for them and I realize as I watch them grow and become young adults that I won’t be able to get this time back.”

Garagiola’s resignation leaves a hole in Montgomery County’s District 15 and among the Senate’s Democratic leadership ranks. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, holds absolutely authority to name Garagiola’s replacement.

“Rob Garagiola is a talented and energetic senator who has represented his district for over a decade with incredible skill and dedication,” Miller said in a statement. “I am saddened by his decision to leave the Senate but I respect and admire his tough, yet understandable decision to spend more time with his three children and I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

When Garagiola was named majority leader in 2011, he had been deputy majority leader since 2007. The Senate’s next majority leader need not come from its present leadership ranks, but Sen. Catherine E. Pugh of Baltimore currently serves as deputy majority leader and is chair of the Democratic caucus.

Sen. Lisa A. Gladden of Baltimore and Sen. Jamin B. “Jamie” Raskin of Montgomery County are both majority whips in the Senate. Gladden also serves as vice chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.