POLITICS18: Democratic challengers make it official while others consider running

Photo: Aisha Khan officially files for State Delegate (44B) while Cory McCray is set to announce his run for State Senate (45th)

By Hassan Giordano

(BALTIMORE – September 28, 2017) – The excitement surrounding the 2018 democratic primaries just got even juicier, as several young and energetic Democrats make their quest for higher office official this week.

Last week, I reported on union leader Aletheia McCaskill making her much anticipated announcement for a run at the state senate seat in the 44th district, as well as the exciting news of second term state delegate Mary Washington officially filing her paperwork to challenge longtime state senator Joan Carter Conway in Baltimore City’s 43rd district.


Now, as almost as if it was scripted, first-term state delegate Antonio Hayes – whose announcement for state senate I reported on weeks ago – officially filed his paperwork for the senate run in the 40th district, days ahead of another huge announcement by first-term state delegate Cory McCray. The 34-year old McCray is set to make his announcement tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. at his old high school, Fairmount-Harford High (now Harbor City High) off of Harford Road, where he will announce to the residents of 45th district that he will be seeking the office of state senate.

Currently held by longtime incumbent Nathaniel McFadden, this East Baltimore district has some of the worst statistics of any of the six legislative districts that encompass Baltimore City. And McCray plans to address those social ills in his quest to send the six-term incumbent into early retirement. And while the 71-year old political boss [McFadden] is no pushover, McCray has set the tone for a number of the current young and upcoming political incumbents like Hayes, by being a consistent presence in the neighborhoods that he represents.

“I love and support Cory because I see him in my community, at my door, each and every year, election year or not; whereas, I have yet to see my current Senator in person in the last decade at least, and that is downright shameful,” says one district constituent, who says that they have lived in the district their entire life. “And as a so-called baby-boomer myself, I feel like Mac [McFadden] has no excuse as to why he hasn’t come out to my neighborhood and let us know what he’s done for us or what he plans to do.”

Once McCray announces, that will leave almost every city district state senator vulnerable to a credible challenger, excluding only the 46th district senator, Bill Ferguson. The 41st district state senator, Nathaniel Oaks, is currently under federal indictment; and while nobody has yet to file or announce their intentions to run against him, there are several rumored candidates looking to possibly relieve him of his duty.


One of those candidates is none other than former Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon, who is an odds-on favorite to win the seat if she decided to jump into the race. Another name being tossed around is the district’s former state delegate and leading vote-getter, Jill P. Carter. The 53-year old Carter is the daughter of civil rights icon Walter P. Carter, and resigned her position as delegate earlier this year to take a position in the Catherin Pugh mayoral administration.

Her current role as the city’s director of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement may be a conflict if and when she decides to get into the race, and may be the only thing that has Carter hesitant about announcing.

And there is certainly no shortage of viable state delegate challengers in all six of the city’s legislative districts, including the portion of the 44th district that encompasses Baltimore County. The first obvious races are those who will try and fill the vacant seats being left unoccupied by the state delegates running for state senate.


The 40th district will have an open seat left vacant by Hayes’ run against the district’s state senator Barbara Robinson, as well as another seat occupied by recently appointed state delegate and former city councilman Nick Mosby – who has considerable name recognition but has never been elected to the seat. There are already several candidates who have filed to run for the seat and a half dozen others who have been rumored to run or have said as much, including former Green Party mayoral candidate Joshua Harris and businessman Sonjay Thomas.

The 41st district has two recently appointed state delegates and one longtime incumbent, which has drawn quite a bit of interest for those looking to get elected in this NE Baltimore district. Bilal Ali and Angela Gibson were appointed by the district’s democratic central committee earlier this year to replace Carter after she resigned her seat to take her city job and then Delegate Oaks was appointed to the senate seat after the resignation by Senator Lisa Gladden due to health issues.

The only incumbent is Delegate ‘Sandy’ Rosenberg, who seems to be running on ticket with the current incumbent senator and state delegates. Some of the more competitive challengers to file thus far are longtime community activist Sean Stinnett and deputy state’s attorney Dalya Attar. Other interesting challengers will be former Dixon aide Donovan Hatcher and community leader Dr. Richard Bruno.

The 43rd district looks to have only one opening, the vacant seat being left by Delegate Washington who decided to run for state senate. The other two incumbents, Delegates Maggie McIntosh and Curt Anderson look to be running for re-election on the Conway ticket; however, local community leaders such as Will Hanna have already begun targeting Anderson, speaking out against his decisions to vote for a new juvenile jail and to join the Tea Party caucus in Annapolis.

Whether or not the Conway ticket will include a third name for state delegate, or if Washington will single-shoot or run a ticket, is still anyone’s guess; however, there has been several names tossed around as of late. Some include longtime district leaders such as Sherod Barnes, the Chair of the city’s democratic central committee, though he tells me that his days of running for office other than the central committee are over. Former mayoral candidate Elizabeth Embry has also been mentioned as a possible strong candidate for the open delegate seat, along with Kelly Fox, who unsuccessfully ran for the position in 2010.

The 44th district seems to have a few fresh faces looking to run for the county portion of 44B, including Aisha Khan, who thus far is the only non-incumbent to have filed to run for one of the two state delegate seats. The two incumbents, Delegates Pat Young and Charles Sydnor III have already filed for re-election, but may have some more competition, including AFSCME union leader and businessman Bishop Barry Johnson – who has told me he is definitely joining the race. The city’s lone delegate in the 44th, Keith Haynes, has yet to draw any challengers, and nobody has yet to have been rumored to want to challenge the third term incumbent.

“I love and support Cory because I see him in my community, at my door, each and every year, election year or not; whereas, I have yet to see my current Senator in person in the last decade at least, and that is downright shameful,” said a voter who wished to remain unidentified.

The 45th district will have quite a few fresh faces looking to replace McCray in the House of Delegates, including longtime district activist Rita Church – whose mother was a popular East Baltimore councilwoman; as well as former Dixon aide Linzy Jackson, who has been actively campaigning all summer long alongside his former boss. Newcomer Angel Mack-Boyd has filed to run for one of the three state delegate seats, which will include the re-election efforts of current incumbents Delegates Cheryl Glenn and Talmadge Branch.

And finally the 46th district looks to have quite a few challengers for state delegate, even if nobody seems interested in challenging the current state senator. However, this district’s team ticket looks to be the strongest of all the districts, and includes one recently appointed state delegate Robbyn Lewis. The other two incumbents are first-term delegate Brooke Lierman and longtime district delegate Luke Clippinger.

The only person to have officially filed to run for one of the three house seats is Scotty Womer; however, one of the most visible up and coming superstars in local democratic politics made her announcement a few months ago. Dia Thomas, who unsuccessfully ran for the 11th district council seat last year, made such an impression on some that she decided to try and knock off one of the three current incumbents – more likely targeting the only one who has yet to have been elected by the people, Ms. Lewis. Thomas will have an uphill battle taking on the establishment ticket, but she says that she doesn’t scare easy. Other viable names have been rumored to be considering a run as well.