After a 10-Day Wait, Washington Gets to Declare Victory in District 43 Senate Race

Ten days after the primary election, Del. Mary L. Washington declared victory over incumbent state Sen. Joan Carter Conway, her one-time ticket-mate, in a hard-fought bid to represent Northeast Baltimore’s 43rd District in the Maryland Senate.

With the counting of Baltimore City’s absentee and provisional ballots completed Friday, Washington led Conway by 492 votes, 9,694 (51.3 percent) to 9,202 (48.7 percent) in the June 26 Democratic primary. There is no Republican challenger to face in the Nov. 6 general election.

Washington, 56, a second-term member of the House of Delegates, posted her declaration of victory late Friday afternoon on Facebook.

 Mary L. Washington

“All the votes have been counted, and the Baltimore City Board of Elections has just posted its results. We won!” she wrote. “Thank you, everyone who believed and made this victory happen.”

Conway, 67, chairwoman of the powerful Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, trailed her challenger in early results and was never able to overcome the deficit.

She has been member of the Senate for 21 years, after being named Jan. 8, 1997, to take the place of former Sen. John A. Pica Jr., who stepped down. She had been a Baltimore city councilwoman for two years before being appointed to the Senate.

Conway is one of three Democratic city senators who were defeated in the primary, two of whom – including her — are in Senate leadership positions under Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert).

Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, 71, the Senate president pro tempore and six-term senator, lost his 45th District seat representing East Baltimore to Del. Cory V. McCray, 35, a first-term Democratic delegate who challenged him.

McFadden, a protégé of former Baltimore Mayor Clarence H. “Du” Burns and onetime head of the old Eastside Democratic Organization, lost to McCray by more than 2,200 votes, 7,735 (58.4 percent) to 5,503 (41.6 percent).

In West Baltimore’s 40th District, Sen. Barbara A. Robinson, 80, former three-term delegate who in December 2016 was appointed to complete the Senate term of Catherine E. Pugh after she quit to become Baltimore mayor, was completely overwhelmed by Del. Antonio L. Hayes, 40, another first-term Democratic delegate.

Hayes captured more than 65 percent of the vote, 7,920 votes, to Robinson’s 34.6 percent, 4,185 votes.

Another new face, at least to the Senate, will be Jill P. Carter, 55, who trounced J.D. Merrill 27, a former Baltimore City College high school teacher and former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley’s son-in-law, in the race for the 41st District Senate seat.

Carter, a lawyer and former 14-year member of the House of Delegates who resigned her seat in January 2017 for a $121,400-a-year job to head Pugh’s Office of Civil Rights, beat Merrill 10,067 (54.9 percent) to 7,097 (38.7 percent).

A third candidate, Nathaniel T. Oaks, 71, the former senator from the 41st District, received 1,168 votes (6.4 percent).

Oaks resigned the Senate seat March 29, two hours before pleading guilty to two federal felonies in a political corruption case, but state election officials did not remove his name from the ballot because the withdraw deadline had passed — a decision upheld by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Carter, the daughter of the late Walter P. Carter, a well-known Baltimore civil rights figure, was appointed to complete Oaks’ unfinished term, through Jan. 9, 2019, by Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., after she applied through the 41st District Democratic Central Committee. Merrill refused to go through the interim appointment process and had urged Carter to do the same.

bzorzi@marylandmatter.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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