Baltimore’s central committee overhaul and the likelihood of independent challengers this fall by Hassan Giordano

(Photo) 43rd district state central committee team supported by Senator-elect Mary Washington – Courtesy: JKane Media

(BALTIMORE – July 5, 2018) – As they say, “all politics are local”, and they all have consequences. This certainly is the case in the recent Maryland Primary elections, where not only was there a seismic shift in the make-up of the Maryland State Senate, but we also saw a complete makeover of the names and faces that now make up the democratic state central committee in Baltimore City.

Of the 42-members, seven elected members from the six legislative districts, there will be twenty-seven newly elected members, leaving only fifteen of the “old guard”. And according to several inside sources, there is already an internal battle for who will run to become the city’s new chairman of the state central committee.

The current chairman, Scherod Barnes of the 43rd district, went down in defeat last Tuesday, even though he was one of the most well-known and visible members of the Joan Carter Conway ticket. His 1st Vice-Chair, Joyce Smith of the 41st district, did not run for re-election to the central committee, but rather concentrated her efforts on a run for state delegate that came up short. And the only other person from the current central committee leadership team not to return in Betty Clark, the current Sgt.-At-Arms, who also didn’t seek re-election.

That leaves Karenthia Barber (43rd), the second vice-chair, along with the recording and corresponding secretaries Lela Campbell (44A) and Sylvia Williams (43rd), along with central committee treasurer Michael Ball (46th) to try and decide which one will run for the chairmanship, if any of them want it; as well as having to figure out how they continue to hold on to their positions within the central committee leadership.

There are rumblings that one of the 43rd district state central committee elected members, Ms. Khalilah Harris, may not take her seat when the new body of elected party leaders gets sworn-in later this month. Harris was said to have suspended her campaign midway through the campaign season due to her sudden employment with the Real News Network; but she was elected by the people to serve on the central committee despite her suspended campaign, and has told me that she plans to continue serving the district until her employer tells her otherwise.

If she continues her service, she will be the fourth and deciding vote that will swing the control of the 43rd district’s central committee over to future Senator-elect Mary Washington. Once controlled by Washington’s opponent, Senator Joan Carter Conway, the balance of power in the district won’t be decided for another week or two, both in the state senate and in the central committee.

One of the first items up for discussion for the new central committee, at least according to the campaign promises of almost half of the elected body, should be to do away with current elected officials also serving on the central committee, thereby taking a seat away from a potentially young and eager party loyalist looking to get their feet wet in the political process.

Ironically, there are only three members that currently fit this criteria, and if the body passes such a measure, it could cause them to lose their central committee seat; and that is, state delegate Keith Haynes, along with council members John Bullock and Robert Stokes. So it will be interesting to see what happens once Chairman Barnes convenes the next central committee meeting later this month, which could possibly be his final meeting as a democratic state central committee member.

Political inexperience leads to failed promises and false hope.

At least that is what happened when several pissed off Democrats told their followers that they would be switching party affiliations and running as an Independent in the upcoming General Election. However, what they failed to realize is, the Maryland General Assembly put the elections laws in place for just that reason, so no Democrat or Republican who was rebuffed in the Primaries could turn around and quickly file an independent bid for office.

According to the Maryland Board of Elections, the law was put in place to have the deadline for third party and independent candidates file by yesterday, one week prior to the opening of the voter registration process. That means that anyone who went into the Primary Election registered as a Democrat or Republican, cannot file their candidacy as an unaffiliated (otherwise known as an Independent) candidate because they won’t be able to change their party affiliation until next week, one week too late.

So unless they were nominated to run by one of the state recognized third-parties in Maryland, such as the Green Party, and had already been registered to vote with that third-party, then their only chance will be to run a write-in campaign, which is next to impossible to win because it doesn’t allow for their name to be placed on the fall ballot.