By Josh Kurtz
Former Prince George’s County Del. Melony Griffith, whose 16-year political career ended in 2014 after she lost a Democratic primary challenge to state Sen. Ulysses Currie, is formally launching another bid for the Senate seat on Monday night – her 54th birthday.
This time, with Currie certain to retire, Griffith starts the campaign as the early favorite.
She has reached a détente with Senate President Mike Miller (D) – who vigorously backed Currie in 2014. And she is likely to run on a slate with at least two of the district’s three delegates: powerful House Economic Matters Chairman Dereck Davis and Del. Darryl Barnes, who earlier this year told associates he was pondering running for the Senate seat as well.
“I intend to make myself such a strong candidate for Senate that there isn’t a conversation about another candidate,” Griffith said in a recent interview.
Angela Angel (D), the remaining incumbent delegate in District 25 — which covers Largo, Suitland, Forestville, Camp Springs and Joint Base Andrews — has not ruled out seeking the Senate seat. She told Maryland Matters she plans to make an announcement soon.
Griffith said she has the experience and relationships to get Prince George’s County the resources and respect it deserves, citing her three terms on the House Appropriations Committee in Annapolis and her stint as chairwoman of the county’s House delegation.
“Critical to Prince George’s success and advancement is our ability to bring back state resources to the county and our ability to partner with our federal delegation,” she said.
Griffith, who remained active and vocal in civic affairs even after losing to Currie by 21 points, is a vice president at Greater Baden Medical Services, a nonprofit health care provider in Prince George’s and Southern Maryland.
In addition to espousing conventional positions for a Prince George’s politicians, such as stressing the importance of education, economic development and public safety, Griffith believes that tourism and the arts are major untapped resources that county leaders ought to be emphasizing to elevate Prince George’s presence in the region.
One of Griffith’s sons is a music teacher at Kettering Elementary School in Largo; the other is a rising senior at the University of Maryland Smith School of Business.
Griffith sees a generational change coming in Prince George’s County politics – not just because she is 28 years Currie’s junior.
At least two younger Democrats are gearing up to run for House seats in Dist. 25 – Wala Blegay, a labor lawyer, and Kent Roberson, a policy researcher with a Washington, D.C., lobbying firm.
Between term limits, two new at-large seats on the County Council and other departures in the political world, there could be a big shakeup in the county’s leadership.
“The 2018 election is going to define the future direction of Prince George’s County,” Griffith said. “The county has the opportunity this time to bring a strong and talented team of elected officials who can work together to bring a stronger county.”
Ana Faguy contributed to this report.