- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Between the once-a-decade redistricting process and some key retirements, the leadership of the Maryland Senate could have a different look when it meets in January.

There were few surprises among those who filed to run for office yesterday the last day of eligibility for the elections in November. However, first-term Delegate Verna Jones filed candidacy papers in the morning to challenge incumbent Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV in the Democratic primary for the 44th District in Baltimore.

Mr. Mitchell, who comes from a long line of civil rights and political leaders, was reprimanded this spring by the General Assembly's ethics committee for accepting a loan from three businessmen while legislation that could affect them was pending.

He was also a harsh critic of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's original legislative redistricting proposal, which put him in the same district as fellow Democratic Sen. George W. Della. The Maryland Court of Appeals overturned that map, which led in part to Mr. Mitchell's endorsement of Republican Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. for governor.

"If we do not elect strong leadership from the 44th District that is not consumed with self and is not just sitting on the laurels of legacy, we're going to be lost," Miss Jones, 46, said at a news conference yesterday at Martha's Place, a transitional center in Baltimore for women recovering from drug addiction.

Mr. Mitchell welcomed Miss Jones into the race, saying she ought to thank him for leading the effort to keep the district intact.

"We won that fight, and we will continue to win for our community," Mr. Mitchell said. "Our constituents will be able to examine this issue and many others in order to determine who will give them effective and fearless leadership in the new millennium."

David Paulson, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said the party does not endorse one Democratic candidate over another but observed that "Senator Mitchell has made his choices, and now he's going to have to see if he can survive with them."

All the committee chairmen in the House of Delegates have signed up to run again, as has Speaker of the House Casper R. Taylor Jr., Allegany County Democrat.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Prince George's and Southern Maryland Democrat, is running again, but the Senate is sure to have a different look with the retirements of two longtime leaders: Thomas L. Bromwell, Baltimore County Democrat, and Clarence W. Blount, Baltimore city Democrat.

Mr. Bromwell, chairman of the Finance Committee, is head of the state Injured Workers Fund. Last week, Mr. Blount, 81, announced he was stepping down after 32 years as a Maryland lawmaker. He has been Senate majority leader since 1983 and is chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Mr. Blount has endorsed Lisa Gladden, a promising young lawmaker, to succeed him. Because of changes in the redistricting ordered last month by the Court of Appeals, she will take on Budget and Taxation Committee Chairman Barbara A. Hoffman.

Mrs. Hoffman, one of the state's most powerful lawmakers, had represented a district that consisted of parts of the city and Baltimore County. It is now entirely in the city and about 71 percent black.

Mr. Paulson said the Baltimore races are the "most interesting and the most heartbreaking to Democrats," including Mrs. Hoffman and Miss Gladden, Mr. Mitchell and Miss Jones, and Mr. Della and Sen. Perry Sfikas now in the same district after the Appeals Court downsized Baltimore's overall representation.

"A lot of good people are being threatened, and a lot of good people are running," he said.

In the Republican Party, Senate Minority Leader J. Lowell Stoltzfus, Somerset County, and House Minority Leader Alfred W. Redmer Jr., Baltimore County, have announced they are running again.

Paul Ellington, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, said Republicans believe they have a strong chance of picking up seats in the 14th and 42nd districts. The 14th, in Montgomery County, and the 42nd, in Baltimore County, have no incumbents because of the way the redistricting map was shaped.

He also said Republicans were targeting the rural districts represented by Sen. Roy P. Dyson, St. Mary's County Democrat, and Sen. Walter M. Baker, Cecil County Democrat, who he said did not reflect their constituents.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide