Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, in the run-up to Maryland's June 26th primary elections.
Maryland’s General Assembly District 41 has had more than its share of upheaval in recent years. Sen. Lisa Gladden represented the district for 14 years before retiring in February 2017 for health reasons. Del. Nathaniel Oaks was appointed to fill her seat, and four months later, he was indicted in federal court on nine counts of fraud and bribery. In November, prosecutors added obstruction of justice charges. Oaks denied the charges, remained in the Senate, and registered to run for re-election in the primary next month. In late March, Oaks changed his mind. He resigned from the legislature, pleaded guilty and attempted to remove his name from the primary ballot. Oaks will be sentenced on July 17. He faces 8-10 years in prison. Additional attempts to remove Oaks’s name from the ballot failed; his name will indeed appear on the ballot next to those of two other candidates.
Those two candidates are Tom’s guests today in Studio A.
Until last week, Jill P. Carter served as the Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement in Baltimore City. Before that, she served for three terms in the House of Delegates representing the 41st District. Carter is 53 years old. A graduate of Western High School, she was born and raised in the city. She lives in the Hunting Ridge neighborhood of District 41.
J.D. Merrill taught at his alma mater, City College High School from 2013 to 2016. He also served for two years as a special assistant to the chief of staff at City Schools headquarters on North Avenue. Merrill is 27 years old. He and his wife, Grace O’Malley, live in the Wyndhurst neighborhood of District 41, one street over from where he was born and raised. This is the first time he has run for public office.
Further complicating matters, last week, Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Ms. Carter to fill the remaining time in Sen. Oaks’ term. So, for the moment, Jill Carter is the incumbent Senator from the 41st District, although the legislature is not in session. It will reconvene in January of next year. The winner of the primary in this race will not face any opposition in the general election in November.
We streamed our conversation live on the WYPR Facebook page. If you missed that video, check it out here.
Audio to be added by 5 p.m.