Caylin Young, who sought an appointment to the House of Delegates this week but placed second behind Chanel Branch in a controversial central committee vote to fill a seat left vacant by former Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore City), will seek legal advice Wednesday to determine the best way to challenge the results.
“I am going to be consulting with my lawyers today,” Young, an aide to Baltimore City Council President Brandon M. Scott (D) told Maryland Matters Wednesday morning.
Arinze Ifekauche, a spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said Wednesday the state party would not intervene with the results of the 45th District central committee vote, despite acknowledging apparent discrepancies with the voting process.
“We don’t govern the elected members of the party,” he said. “They govern us.”
Ifekauche said the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee has its own mechanisms to remedy the situation — should a challenge arise.
“It is my understanding that we allow the local central committees to appoint their members, according to the bylaws and send those nominations to the governor,” Ifekauche said.
Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee Chairwoman Karenthia Barber declared Branch the winner Monday night after Branch received three votes to Young’s two votes.
Branch is the daughter of House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City), a candidate in the 7th Congressional District special election, and if appointed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), she would serve alongside her father and Del. Stephanie M. Smith (D) in the 45th District delegation.
Young said past practice in succession votes has traditionally required four votes, which would be a majority of the seven-member 45th District central committee.
Members of the media were also kept out of the meeting during some of the candidate interviews at the beginning of the process, but should have been allowed in, according to the central committee’s bylaws. The Baltimore Brew first reported the story Monday night while the meeting was taking place.
There is also a suggestion in the bylaws that the vote itself should have been open to the public as well, but efforts seeking clarification from Barber were unsuccessful.
The full Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee will convene Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., where some committee members are expected to call for a new vote on the vacancy to the Baltimore seat.
To date, the governor’s office has not received a nominee from the central committee to replace Glenn, according to a spokesperson.
Glenn resigned last month ahead of a federal indictment for honest services wire fraud and bribery.
Before applying for the vacancy, Chanel Branch had filed to run for a Baltimore City Council seat in the April primary that was recently filled by Danielle McCray, sister of state Sen. Cory V. McCray, the state senator for the 45th District.
Barber provided the following statement to Maryland Matters following publication of our story.
“As Chair of the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee, I was responsible for running last night’s meeting. The meeting started on time; the process was thorough and structured; all voting members of the 45th District’s Democratic Central Committee were present; and 13 individuals seeking to fill the vacancy were interviewed in a timely and orderly manner.
“Members of the public and the press were present during the proceedings and watched as Committee Members cast their vote for their desired candidate — in accordance with our bylaws. The meeting concluded with warm exchanges between the aspirants and the interview panel, in which the interviewees thanked the panel for the opportunity to seek appointment.
“I extend my deepest congratulations to Chanel Branch, and I’m grateful for the candidates, reporters, and community members who attended Monday night’s proceedings. Civic engagement is the cornerstone of our Democracy.”
According to a Baltimore City official who attended the meeting and requested anonymity, Branch — the District 45 committee chair and one of the seven voting members on the central committee — did not participate in the proceedings. She sat in the foyer area of the meeting venue away from the proceedings, the source said.
In addition, there was no less than one “no media” sign on a door to the room where candidate interviews were taking place.
“Chanel Branch did not sit on the panel, period,” the official said in response to Barber’s statement. “And a sign was placed on the wall that kept media out.”
According to the source, a Baltimore Sun reporter was not allowed to enter the public meeting until an official break was called — after several candidate interviews took place.
Following the candidate interviews, panel members went to a back room to talk among themselves for approximately 20 minutes and then returned to the room where candidates and members of the public were waiting, to cast their votes, the city official said.
Glynis Kazanjian is a freelance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].