Maryland Working Families to Back McCray Over McFadden in Senate Fight

By Josh Kurtz

Maryland Working Families, the progressive, labor-affiliated advocacy group, will announce this week that it is endorsing Del. Cory V. McCray (D-Baltimore City) in his bid to oust Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden (D) in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The organization’s support will bring independent expenditures on McCray’s behalf, “boots on the ground” – and significant attention from the national Working Families Party, according to Charly Carter, executive director of Maryland Working Families.

Del. Cory V. McCray

“Cory is someone who nationally Working Families talks about,” she said. “He’s the model of the kind of leader that Working Families tries to promote. He’s from the community, he’s young, and he’s dedicated to lifting up working families.”

McCray, who is finishing his first term in the House of Delegates, has been waging an aggressive campaign to defeat McFadden, the Senate president pro tem who has served in Annapolis since 1995 and spent five years on the Baltimore City Council before that. He has been running both a generational and ideological campaign against the incumbent, arguing that the 45th District in East Baltimore would be better served by someone who is younger (McCray is 35, McFadden 71), more progressive, and more in touch with the community.

Carter said that McFadden is too close to entrenched leadership in Baltimore and in Annapolis and “takes his cues” from Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert).

“Baltimore City, especially the 45th District, has a lot of problems and needs new leadership – someone who can stand up to Mike Miller and the status quo,” she said.

Baltimore Beat reported earlier this year that Nicole Hanson, an advocate for the ex-offender organization Out for Justice, accused McCray of growing angry and throwing a chair during a meeting in his office last year following a discussion about the root causes of poverty. McCray denied doing anything to put Hanson in harm’s way and apologized for the incident – inadequately, in Hanson’s view. The House did not take any formal action against him.

Carter said the Working Families board considered the incident before deciding to endorse McCray, and hoped that it amounted to “a learning moment” for the lawmaker.

“Everybody on my board certainly takes seriously any accusations like that against any leader, particularly in the era of #MeToo,” she said. “It didn’t factor into our endorsement because everybody on my board has a longstanding relationship with Del. McCray…The board felt very comfortable that this is not the person they have come to know.”

McCray said the Working Families endorsement is part of “a strong foundation” that his campaign has been building – and that he looks to accelerate his effort between the April 9 end of the General Assembly session and the June 26 primary.

Through mid-January, McCray had $128,000 in his campaign account compared to just $31,000 for McFadden. Miller’s political operation is likely to pour some money into McFadden’s reelection effort.

So far this election cycle, Maryland Working Families has endorsed former NAACP president Benjamin T. Jealous for governor, state Sen. Roger Manno in the 6th District Democratic congressional primary, and attorney Sheldon Laskin, who is waging a longshot bid against Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Robert L. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) in the 11th District Democratic primary.

Zirkin raised the ire of some progressive groups by voting against paid sick leave during the 2017 General Assembly and opposing the Trust Act, a measure designed to protect immigrants from federal law enforcement raids.

Carter said Working Families leaders have yet to determine how many races the group will play in this year – and that the final outcome of certain policy fights in Annapolis will help guide their strategy.

The McCray endorsement, she said, “is just the beginning. This is a year when we can really make a significant change in our legislature.”


Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.


  1. Can you tell me why MD keeps promoting and running the candidates of failed policies? Baltimore City is a mess so no one from there should even be considered successful. Candidates that have been in Annapolis for years have also shown failure. New successful business leaders or even people from the non profits or average citizens can do better than these. Sadly, Maryland practices “insanity”,,,the definition of such is “continuing to do the same thing expecting a different outcome.”

  2. Candidates of failed policies?! So what exactly is the definition of such a candidate? And how exactly does Mr. McCray fit that bill?? Anyway, this is great news, as the citizens of Baltimore deserve a fresh, new group of democratic leadership across the board, and I’m proud of my friend Cory for the leadership he has shown over the past four years! Can’t wait to work alongside Senator McCray as the city’s next Clerk in order to Change Baltimore for the better! #Election2018

  3. […] McCray to get Maryland Working Households endorsement for state Senate The progressive group Maryland Working Households will reportedly endorse state Del. Cory McCray over state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden within the Democratic major for McFadden's 45th District seat. The group has beforehand come out for state Sen. Roger Manno in MD-06, former NAACP president Ben Jealous within the gubernatorial race, and legal professional Sheldon Laskin for the state Senate's 11th District. (Josh Kurtz / Maryland Issues) […]


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