- The Washington Times - Monday, October 11, 2004

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Republican challenger for mayor is fending off criticism that he is not a full-time city resident.

Elbert Henderson, 54, says he spends about two-thirds of his time in a row house he shares with his elderly mother-in-law and the rest with his wife in Woodbine in Carroll County.

Mr. Henderson, who grew up in Baltimore, said he spends most of his time with his mother-in-law because she is 86 and needs his help.

“I don’t think it would make a difference where I live when it came down to the vote,” Mr. Henderson said. “I trust that the people in Baltimore city are educated enough to vote on the issues and not allow all of this other stuff to cloud it.”

Peter O’Malley, Mayor Martin O’Malley’s campaign manager, said he was not aware of Mr. Henderson’s residency.

Mr. Henderson said he decided to run because he thinks Mr. O’Malley is not committed to the city. Mr. Henderson, who has worked for 33 years for the state corrections department, said he wants to cut taxes.

“We pay the highest taxes in the state,” he said.

Mr. Henderson also promised to reduce crime by improving relations between police and the State’s Attorney’s Office and improve schools by working more with teachers, parents and community leaders.

“Neglect in duty assignments shall equate to immediate removal,” his campaign literature states.

Mr. Henderson, who holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Baltimore and a master’s degree in public administration from Sojourner-Douglass College, said he wants to improve Baltimore so no one will question his commitment simply because he has been fortunate enough to afford several properties.

“I don’t have anything to hide,” he said. “If you look in my closet, you’re going to find dust bunnies.”

Baltimore’s residency rule requires candidates to have lived in the city for one year before the general election.

To prove residency, a candidate must produce a driver’s license or other photo identification displaying his or her address, said Barbara Jackson, the city’s supervisor of elections.

Mr. Henderson said his driver’s license lists the Baltimore address, but he acknowledged that a previous license listed the Carroll County home. A car and a boat are registered to the Carroll County home.

“I want to get the cheapest insurance,” said Mr. Henderson, who trains correctional officers.

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