Central Committee Taps Greenbelt Lawyer to Replace Gaines in Md. House

    Nicole A. Williams, a real estate attorney and civic activist from Greenbelt, is one step closer to joining the Maryland House of Delegates.

    The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee voted Tuesday night to advance Williams’ name to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) for an appointment to replace former state Del. Tawanna P. Gaines (D), who resigned earlier this month.

    Williams, 42, is a vice chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party and president of the Roosevelt Democratic Club in Greenbelt. She serves on that city’s planning advisory board, and has been active with NARAL Pro Choice Maryland and Emerge Maryland, the organization that recruits and trains Democratic women who want to run for office.

    Williams ran unsuccessfully for the House in District 22 last year, finishing fourth in a five-way Democratic primary that included three incumbents, about 2,100 votes out of the money.

    But the district’s incumbent lawmakers, Sen. Paul G. Pinsky and Dels. Anne R. Healey and Alonzo T. Washington, endorsed Williams in the appointment process, releasing a statement last week saying that of all the potential candidates to replace Gaines, Williams was best equipped “to navigate the waters in Annapolis.”

    Ultimately, Chike Croslin, an attorney and Hyattsville resident, was the only other candidate to come before the Democratic central committee Tuesday night seeking the appointment.

    Now that the central committee has voted, Hogan has 10 days to formally make an appointment to fill Gaines’ seat.

    Gaines pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge earlier this month after being accused by prosecutors of illegally pocketing campaign contributions. She’ll be sentenced on Jan. 3, 2020.

    On Tuesday, federal prosecutors charged Anitra Edmond, Gaines’ daughter and campaign treasurer, with federal wire fraud, accusing her of being part of the scheme to illegally transfer money from her mother’s campaign funds to a personal bank account.

    The charging document says Edmond made at least one improper $800 withdrawal. If she is convicted, the government can require her to forfeit up to $35,000.

    Edmond was granted a court-appointed attorney on Monday. She is scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt on Nov. 18.

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    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.