Several last-minute changes occurred as prospective candidates both abandoned bids and refiled for positions ahead of the July 19 Maryland primary election.
One state lawmaker from Prince George’s County, Del. Jazz Lewis, announced last year a bid for the 4th Congressional District seat but decided to withdraw last week and return to Annapolis — if chosen by the voters, of course.
“While I know that Jazz would have made an extraordinary representative for the Fourth District, I deeply respect his decision to step out of the race,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), for whom Lewis served as a top aide, said in a statement Friday. “As he focuses on his bid for Delegate of the 24th District in Prince George’s County, I have no doubt that he will continue making a positive impact on our state.”
With Lewis seeking reelection to the House of Delegates, he became the 10th person to run for three seats in the district that includes the municipalities and communities of Largo and the cities of Glenarden and Seat Pleasant.
Two of those people decided to withdraw their candidacies Monday: Del. Faye Martin Howel of Landover and Shawn Maldon, former mayor of Capitol Heights.
Maldon said Tuesday he chose to leave the race to focus on his health dealing with kidney failure.
The three candidates he plans to support are Lewis, Del. Andrea Fletcher Harrison and LaTasha Ward.
Maldon specifically highlighted Ward because of her activism, being a business owner and other community service activities.
“One of the things that is important for me is that a candidate has done something. I always value that in a candidate that’s kind of paid their dues and tithes outside of politics,” said Maldon, who runs an interpreting business for sign language and Spanish. “Other issues she stands on such as returning citizens. Her heart and desire for them to have a second chance and do something productive [makes her] a good candidate.”
The other Democratic candidates running are Tiffany Alston, Sennieal Crutchfield, Richard Deshay Elliott, Alexis Solis and Christopher Stevenson.
Other legislative districts
With the end of the legal battle waged by registered Republican voters who challenged the state legislative district boundaries approved by the legislature, the 23rd District in Prince George’s will now have three delegates representing the entire area versus two subdistricts.
Two new people will represent the district with Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-District 23A) of Bowie not seeking reelection. Del. Cheryl Landis (D-District 23B) of Upper Marlboro, appointed last year to replace now-Sen. Ron Watson, won’t seek a full four-year term.
Del. Marvin Holmes Jr. of Upper Marlboro, who’s been a member of the House since 2003, is the only incumbent from District 23 to seek reelection.
According to the state’s board of elections, the other eight registered Democrats are Bowie Mayor pro tem Adrian Boafo, Jocelyn Irene Collins, Remi Duyile, Keenon James, Januari McKay, Monica Roebuck, Kym Taylor and Valeria Tomlin.
Roebuck is the only person who filed to run in District 23A.
Unless a person runs as a write-in candidate, the only Prince George’s district without a House race will be the 25th led by Dels. Darryl Barnes, Nick Charles and Karen Toles.
Barnes chairs the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and Charles serves as chair of the county’s House delegation. Toles was sworn in on Jan. 12 to replace Dereck E. Davis, now the state treasurer.
Sen. Melony Griffith (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro serves as president pro tem, the second-in-command of that chamber. She faces a primary challenge from Jonathan Edward Rosero, a veterinarian from Forestville.
In another majority-Black jurisdiction further north in Maryland, House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch of Baltimore City, who’s served in the state capitol since 1995, chose not to seek reelection.
Branch, 66, who withdrew his candidacy Friday, is the longest-serving majority whip in Maryland history.
Branch said his proudest moment in the legislature was serving the 45th Legislative District alongside his daughter, Chanel, who was appointed in January 2020.
“Serving in the General Assembly has been the greatest privilege of my life,” Branch said in a statement. “I am gratified and blessed for the opportunity to have worked on behalf of the people of this great state, and to have served the past three years working alongside my daughter. I’ve held a front-row seat to Maryland history and I’m extremely thankful.”