- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Democratic officials in Prince George’s County say that Gov.-elect Martin O’Malley owes Cabinet-level jobs and other administration posts to leaders from their jurisdiction — or else.

“Prince George’s County clearly delivered the lion’s share of the Democratic votes,” said county council member David C. Harrington, who supported the campaign of Mr. O’Malley, a fellow Democrat. “It would be in the governor’s best interest to demonstrate to the county that … their vote matters.”

Council member Thomas R. Hendershot said Mr. O’Malley, who is serving his second term as Baltimore mayor, should know who is owed what.

“He knows full well who helped him get elected,” said Mr. Hendershot, whose term-limited tenure expires this year. “It would be the better part of political wisdom to have Prince George’s County well-represented and well-pleased, and [Mr. O’Malley] knows and understands that full well.”

He said the governor-elect also must sustain a good relationship with the county’s General Assembly delegation, which is the state’s second largest, behind Montgomery County.

Council member Tony Knotts said Mr. O’Malley will have explaining to do if the county comes up short in gubernatorial appointments.

“If it is determined that no one from Prince George’s County is in the Cabinet, he will have to have a talk with Prince George’s County leaders,” Mr. Knotts said. “We do have some qualified, prudent [and] intelligent folks in Prince George’s County.”

Mr. O’Malley has said he plans to assemble a Cabinet of “professionals” from throughout the state.

O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory yesterday declined to say what priority has been given to appointments from Prince George’s County.

“We appreciate all their help down there,” she said. “We appreciate all the help we got on the campaign.”

She said an announcement could come as early as today about who will join the transition team under the leadership of Lt. Gov.-elect Anthony G. Brown, a Prince George’s County Democrat.

In the election last week, Mr. O’Malley beat Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, by more than 100,000 votes — 921,597 to 813,116, according to unofficial results from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Prince George’s County, one of Maryland’s most populous and heavily Democratic jurisdictions, helped put Mr. O’Malley over the top by giving him 157,422 votes and Mr. Ehrlich 41,247 votes.

The county also is more than 65 percent black, a voting bloc traditionally loyal to the Democratic Party that has complained of being overlooked by politicians after elections.

In Baltimore, the state’s other majority black and heavily Democratic jurisdiction, Democrats are confident that Mr. O’Malley’s coattails will carry city leaders to Annapolis.

“It is going to be natural for him to pick several people who are with him now,” said Delegate Curtis S. Anderson, Baltimore Democrat. “I wouldn’t call it a ‘payback.’ ”

Baltimore City Council member Bernard “Jack” Young said Prince George’s County shouldn’t worry about appointments because Mr. O’Malley will spread the jobs around.

“The mayor will make sure Prince George’s County, as well as all the other subdivisions, will be represented in the administration,” said Mr. Young, a Democrat.

Still, the appointment of Prince George’s residents to influential jobs could help soothe black leaders disgruntled by the lack of diversity at the top of Maryland’s Democratic ticket.

Prince George’s leaders mostly stayed in lock step behind Mr. O’Malley’s run.

But several prominent black leaders — including former county Executive Wayne K. Curry, Mr. Harrington, Mr. Knotts and three other black council members — bucked their party and supported the U.S. Senate campaign of Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican who is the first black to win a statewide election.

Mr. Steele lost the election by more than 169,000 votes to Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a 10-term congressman from Baltimore.

Mr. Harrington said it was “a good sign” when Mr. O’Malley delegated leadership of the transition team to Mr. Brown, who is black.

“He didn’t have to do that,” Mr. Harrington said. “I’m optimistic that, with a Democratic governor in Martin O’Malley, we will do well in his administration.”

He also said jobs are not the only yardstick by which the county will measure the administration.

“If at the end of the day Prince Georgeans get their issues addressed, that will speak well of the governor,” he said. “That to me is where the rubber meets the road. It is not only in positions. It is having someone in the administration that knows our priorities and is willing to work on those priorities.”

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