Veteran Baltimore Lawmakers Team Up With Newcomer as Curt Anderson Mystery Persists

Exactly four weeks to the day from the June 26 primary, two ranking Democratic legislators announced Tuesday they are teaming with a political newcomer to form a three-woman ticket from Northeast Baltimore’s 43rd District.

 

State Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who has served 21 years in the Senate, and Del. Maggie McIntosh, now in her 27th year in the House of Delegates, have placed under their umbrella Regina T. Boyce, 41, a community activist who has never run for elective office.

 

“The bottom line is, we need to bring the next generation along,” McIntosh told a group of nearly 50 district supporters gathered for the announcement. “And I could not be happier than to endorse, and to ask you to work for and support, Regina, who’s been a great, great member of our community. Regina, welcome.”

 

McIntosh, 70, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, and Conway, 67, who chairs the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, made the late-in-the-game announcement at a Northeast Baltimore watering hole, Melba’s Place, on Greenmount Avenue in Waverly.

 

“I am amazingly honored to be a part of this team, a team that is strong, a team that is woman-led, and a team that I know I can learn from,” Boyce told the group.

 

 

Regina T. Boyce/Photo by William F. Zorzi

 

Boyce, director of the Adult Learning Center for Strong City Baltimore (formerly the Greater Homewood Community Corp.), is one of eight candidates in the Democratic primary running for the district’s three House of Delegates seats.

 

In years past, Conway, as the incumbent senator, has topped a four-person slate of legislative candidates that has included McIntosh. This year, however, Del. Mary L. Washington, 56, a one-time slate mate, is challenging Conway for her Senate seat in the primary, and the fourth member of tickets past, Del. Curtis S. Anderson, 68, inexplicably has gone his own way, publicly offering no reason for his solo re-election bid.

 

To date, Conway and McIntosh have been pushing their ticket of two, but on Tuesday, they added Boyce to the mix and unveiled new lawn signs that include her.

 

The announcement came directly on the heels last week of a Boyce mailer to district primary voters that featured an endorsement from former Del. Heather R. Mizeur, a Montgomery County progressive who ran for governor in the 2014 Democratic primary.

 

Some found that juxtaposition of the mailer and ticket announcement an interesting intersection of race, black and white, and politics, progressive and old school.

 

Earlier this year, the 43rd District field was a bit more crowded, after the last-minute filing of Carl F. Stokes as a candidate for the House. The entry in the race of Stokes, a former Baltimore City Councilman from the East Side and twice candidate for mayor, discouraged some running for the legislature because of his high name recognition.

 

But almost immediately after certifying Stokes as a House candidate, state elections officials realized his latest campaign finance report had not been filed a month-and-a-half before, as is required by state law, and disqualified him from the 43rd District race.

 

The next shifting in the 43rd’s political sands came the week before the General Assembly’s April 9 adjournment, when a painfully ill-planned attempt by Anderson to quit his long-held post as chairman of the Baltimore City House delegation failed miserably.

 

Anderson, historically the highest vote-getter in the 43rd District, said at the time that contrary to swirling rumors, he was unaware that he was the target of any kind of probe. He said he simply wanted to step down early as delegation chair because 12 years was enough for him in the job.

 

During that same time, sources say, Anderson twice contacted the Maryland State Board of Elections about withdrawing from the race and being removed from the June 26 ballot, but officials were unable to accommodate his request because the deadline for withdrawal and removing his name had already passed.

 

He did not raise any money between the end of the legislative session and May 15, filing deadline for the most recent campaign finance reports. He had $22,680 on hand, the reports show — more than enough to run a successful campaign for the House.

 

If Anderson wins the primary June 26, there remains speculation about whether he would decline the nomination, which is permitted under the law, and end his political career there, or return to Annapolis.

 

Anderson has not returned telephone calls or e-mail requests for an interview.

 

Finally, after all that played out, the week after the legislature adjourned, City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, a well-known, long-time representative in North Baltimore and former Council president, sent a letter to constituents endorsing Boyce.

 

“I have known and worked with Regina T. Boyce for years now and support her wholeheartedly for election,” said Clarke, who now represents the City Council’s District 14.

 

Her letter went on to list Boyce’s accomplishments as president of the Waverly Improvement Association, chair of Waverly Main Street, and community liaison for Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young (D) – and as a former student of hers at Johns Hopkins University.

 

Long an ally of both McIntosh and Conway, Clarke served as a sort of emcee at the Boyce announcement Tuesday, which was attended by a number of one-time members of the old NDC-2, the now-defunct New Democratic Club – 2nd District that once formed the bedrock of the councilwoman’s support.

 

Clark praised the new ticket, but, like McIntosh, made a point of dwelling on Conway’s accomplishments.

 

Conway is running hard against Washington, who appears to be putting up a strong primary challenge. Since the legislature adjourned, Conway has sent out six separate mailers to voters, and both her name and photo figure prominently on three of McIntosh’s mailers, as well.

 

In addition to Boyce, Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, 42, chief medical officer of Health Care for the Homeless, has caught the eye of some in the district with his tenacious door-knocking campaign and ability to raise money.

 

Kalyanaraman has been endorsed by three progressive groups and, behind McIntosh, of all the House delegates in the 43rd, had the most cash on hand — $75,032, as of the last filing deadline, May 15.

 

Boyce, by contrast, has $13,104 cash on hand.

 

Her biggest contributor was Linda J. Eberhart, a retired math teacher and school administrator for Baltimore public schools, onetime city teacher of the year and a political campaign numbers-cruncher extraordinaire. Eberhart, a long-time NDC-2 stalwart, gave Boyce’s campaign $2,500 in the last reporting period ended May 15.

 

Other candidates for District 43 delegate are: Dong Shen, 46, who has $6,237 on hand going into the last month of the election; Kelly N. Fox, 46, who has $3,492 on hand; and Urcille D. Goddard, 30, who has $355.

 

Also, House candidate Destinee Hunt, 39, whose name changed after the filing deadline and will appear as Destinee Parker on the ballot, filed an affidavit declaring that the campaign has no intention of receiving or spending more than $1,000.

Conway-McIntosh’s 43rd District Leadership Team Slate for the June 26 election includes just five candidates of the 17 on the ballot who are competing for seven seats on the district’s Democratic Central Committee.

 

They are: Odette T. Ramos, Karenthia A. Barber; Terrence D. Thrweatt, Jr.; Sylvia A. Williams; and Scherod C. Barnes, chairman of the entire Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee.

bzorzi@marylandmatters.org

William F. Zorzi
Bill Zorzi was a Baltimore Sun reporter and editor for nearly 20 years, focusing on government and politics. An Annapolis bureau veteran, he wrote a weekly column, “The Political Game” for the paper.Zorzi and another former Sun reporter, David Simon, are longtime collaborators on acclaimed television projects, including the HBO series, “The Wire,” and the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” which dealt with an explosive housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY.

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