Glendening sets dates for 7th District voting Primary March 5

general election April 16

January 13, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

March 5 and April 16 were formally set yesterday as the dates of two special elections to fill the 7th District congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

In a proclamation signed late yesterday, Gov. Parris N. Glendening set the special primary for March 5, the day of Maryland's presidential primary.

The Democratic and Republican winners in that election will face each other in a special general election April 16 to complete the last 11 months of Mr. Mfume's term.

In addition, the governor said, the primary winners will be their parties' nominees in the Nov. 5 general election for the two-year congressional term that begins in January 1997.

Mr. Glendening said he would seek emergency legislation from the General Assembly to allow the combining of the special and regular primaries. Such an arrangement would avoid voter confusion by eliminating the need for a separate ballot for each election.

"These are special circumstances that require careful attention to a set of complex procedures," Mr. Glendening said. "We are continuing to consult with the legislature as we move forward toward these important election dates. I want to make sure that Maryland has its full representation in Congress as soon as possible."

It was unclear last night how combining the primaries would affect the need for a second filing deadline for candidates running only to complete Mr. Mfume's unexpired term.

Just before the Dec. 26 filing deadline for candidates running for the term beginning in January 1997, the state election board noted that there would be separate filing deadlines for the

separate special and regular elections.

"Under current law, the primary to fill the vacancy will require candidates to file a separate certificate of candidacy simply because it's a separate election," said Jack Schwartz, an assistant attorney general for opinions and advice.

Unless it is eliminated as part of the emergency legislation to be sent to the General Assembly, that separate filing date will be set by the State Administrative Board of Election Laws, Mr. Schwartz said.

Twenty-nine candidates -- 25 Democrats and four Republicans -- filed before Dec. 26 for the term beginning in 1997. But at least one other candidate, St. George I. B. Crosse, has said that he plans to run only in the election to complete Mr. Mfume's term.

Mr. Mfume, who announced last month that he was stepping down to head the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, formally notified the governor this week by letter that he would leave Congress Feb. 18.

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