LEONARDTOWN, Md. — In what is shaping up to be an interesting election cycle, another Republican has thrown her hat in for the St. Mary’s County Commissioner President’s seat that was heavily contested. But new paperwork filed this week shows a shift heading into that 2022 race.

Rita Weaver, a two-term elected member of the St. Mary’s County Board of Education, officially filed for the seat on October 25. When previously running for a position on the Board of Education, candidates are on the ballot as “non-partisan,” however Weaver noted that she is a member of the Republican Women’s Club in St. Mary’s County.

“I believe that with my diverse background and experience, I am ready to lead the county as ‘your full-time commissioner,’ Weaver told TheBayNet.com in an email. “It takes time and commitment to lead this county. Someone who is dedicated to being in the county full-time and available to the citizens.”

Weaver’s résumé touts a wealth of knowledge of the local budget process and other changes she deems successful from her time on the Board of Education. She also emphasized her extensive volunteer experience working with the Animal Control Advisory Committee, the St. Mary’s County Farm Bureau, St. Clement’s Hundred, and several other organizations.

Another area she emphasized was her embrace of the “military mission.” Not only is she a veteran who served in the Army and Navy, but her husband is a retired Navy Chief.

“I have the knowledge and skills to interact with top base military and civilian management. The condition of our roads, ranking of our school system, and recreational opportunities for families have an impact on how the BRAC Commission determines the increase or downsizing of squadrons and projects,” she explained. “I am a leader who sees the overall picture and will work with base leadership and Southern Maryland delegation to safeguard the local military mission.”

However, one obstacle Weaver will face is the two-term incumbent who is seeking re-election: Randy Guy[R]. Previously, Commissioner John O’Connor[R] had also filed to seek the at-large position of board president.

The same day Weaver filed, O’Connor officially withdrew his name from the president’s contention and re-filed to seek his currently held seat in District 3. O’Connor will now see a primary challenge from Republican-newcomer Dawn Murphy for his incumbent seat, and potentially others who could declare before election day.

“I am not going to get involved in their race. I made the decision to run for the District 3 seat a week or two after Randy filed, based on multiple factors including the many calls from the people I serve, to run in the District 3 seat,” O’Connor told TheBayNet.com. “Had I not gotten numerous calls from them, I don’t believe my path would have changed.”

Weaver said that she had not discussed any plans to file with O’Connor and that the timing was just coincidental. Nonetheless, she is excited for the opportunity to give St. Mary’s County what she feels it needs right now.

“I fell in love with this county and the people the day I stepped foot here as a young Navy Airman,” Weaver said. “I met the love of my life, Greg. We married at historic St. Andrew’s Church, and we raised two boys here in the county. Being elected to County Commissioner President takes time and commitment. Someone who is a leader and focused on the community’s needs. Someone who cherishes this beautiful county and has made it their home.”

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