Political handicappers are betting that Maryland's legislature will experience its largest turnover in 20 years. Some of that change is certain to come from Baltimore City districts where a number of close races are in the offing.
Redistricting makes many races particularly unpredictable. The city's population losses have prompted the redrawing of several district lines. Some districts are now shared with neighboring jurisdictions, a novelty that will offer an intriguing test of regionalism in an area where the interests of counties and Baltimore City have often conflicted.
Unless major developments occur before the July 15 withdrawal date, Baltimoreans will see some exciting races. In Northeast Baltimore's 43rd District, the leader of the city Senate delegation, John A. Pica Jr., is engaged in a tough duel with Del. Curtis S. Anderson.
The Senate race in East Baltimore's 45th District is so fierce that a name's-the-same candidate (Clyde A. Stokes) filed to foil City Councilman Carl Stokes' chances of beating Nathaniel J. McFadden, a former councilman. A three-way race is also on for the state Senate seat in West Baltimore's 40th district between incumbent Ralph Hughes, attorney Alfred Nance and Norman Brailey, the son of a veteran political/labor leader, Troy Brailey.
A keen race is also developing for delegate seats in that district. The incumbents, Howard P. Rawlings, Tony Fulton and Salima Marriott, are running on a "unity" ticket. Their chief opponents are thought to be Robert L. Clay, a wealthy contractor from Laurel, and Lisa B. Williams, who made a respectable showing four years ago.
In the neighboring 44th District, Clarence M. Mitchell IV, a scion of his family's civil rights legacy, is challenging the hegemony of the incumbent delegates. And in South Baltimore's District 47A, a donnybrook has developed for the two seats among incumbent Dels. R. Charles Avara and Brian K. McHale, City Councilman Timothy D. Murphy, Randolph M. Collins and former councilman Edward L. Reisinger.
These are just some examples of contests developing in the run-up to the Sept. 13 primary. There are other ones. In Northwest Baltimore's redrawn 42nd District, four incumbents -- Leon Albin, James W. Campbell, Maggie McIntosh and Sandy Rosenberg -- are fighting for three delegate seats. Among other candidates in that race: Royal Parker Pollokoff, whom old-timers may remember from his TV days -- minus the last name.