Maryland GOP legislators want their counties to secede and join West Virginia

Six Maryland legislators tell top West Virginia lawmakers their addition would be 'mutually beneficial'

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Legislators from three GOP-controlled counties in Maryland on Thursday requested to jump ship and formally join up with the neighboring state of West Virginia.

In two identically phrased letters to West Virginia state House Speaker Roger Hanshaw and Senate President Craig Blair, both Republicans, six Maryland legislators suggested their secession would be "mutually beneficial."

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"We believe this arrangement may be mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies," state officials from Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties said in their brief letter. "Please advise on next steps."

The Maryland  legislators did not immediately respond to Fox News’ inquiries, but Thursday’s request is not the first time within the last decade that the counties have looked to ditch their blue-leaning state. 

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In 2013, Garrett, Allegany and Washington – all of which are located in the most western panhandle of Maryland – joined Frederick and Carroll counties in toying with the idea of seceding. 

The move never gained enough traction to make it through the Maryland state legislature – an issue Hanshaw said will be another uphill battle this time around.

"This is step zero in what would be a lengthy process for a few Maryland counties exploring the prospect of breaking away and formally joining the state of West Virginia, but we certainly would welcome any border communities that may see their values better reflected here in the Mountain State," he told Fox News. 

Conservative Maryland voters have voiced frustration over the liberal politics that dominate in Annapolis and Baltimore. 

Though Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is a member of the Republican Party, the state has voted blue in every presidential race since 1992. 

President Biden won Maryland in a landslide with more than 65% of the state backing the longtime D.C. politician. 

But Biden only secured 21% of the vote in Garret county, along with 30% in Allegany county and 38% in Washington county. 

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The latest attempt by three GOP counties to secede from Maryland will be a tough sell as they will have to convince the Maryland General Assembly to shave off its western territory. 

If convinced, the assembly would adopt a referendum for voters in the three counties to vote on whether they would like to join West Virginia.

West Virginians would then need to vote to accept the integration of the western Maryland counties and the states would need to agree on terms and a declaration of merger. 

But the West Virginia senate president says the move would be a welcome addition.

"I would be more than happy to welcome my friends and neighbors from Washington, Allegany, and Garrett counties into West Virginia," Blair told Fox News. "This request is recognition of the work we have done to transform the state, and I welcome my friends and neighbors across the border in Maryland to join us as we keep moving forward."