City NAACP chief replaced Campaign: A policy requires Rodney A. Orange to step aside while he runs for a House seat in the 44th District.

July 29, 1998|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Rodney A. Orange, who is seeking a seat in the House of Delegates, has temporarily stepped aside as head of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP because of the national organization's policy requiring that candidates for public office not be chapter officers.

G. I. Johnson, the local group's first vice president, has replaced Orange on an interim basis while Orange campaigns. Seven other Democratic candidates are running for three House seats in West Baltimore's 44th District in September's primary.

Orange had been head of the NAACP's Baltimore branch since 1993.

Also stepping down is Ronald N. Flamer, an executive committee member and a candidate for a House seat in the 10th District, which encompasses a small part of the city's west side and parts of western Baltimore County.

A representative of the national office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said yesterday that the policy has been in effect since 1994 and is designed to prevent potential conflicts of interests.

"We don't want to hold anybody back [from seeking office], but we don't want to have NAACP business commingled with a political career," said Mark C. Clack, the NAACP's national field secretary.

Orange and Flamer said they understood the policy and were comfortable with it.

"I understand the concern of the national board of directors. I think it's a fair rule," Orange said yesterday.

"I have no problem with it," Flamer said.

Although Orange filed for office July 6, he said he did not officially step down until last week because he was busy with the NAACP's national convention the week after he filed and wanted clarification of the policy by the national office.

Johnson said it was particularly important that Orange step aside as head of the local branch while he is running to avoid public confusion in raising money for the NAACP and for his campaign.

"We don't want to come in conflict with him in terms of fund raising," Johnson said.

If Orange is unsuccessful in his quest for office, he can resume his post as head of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP.

If he is elected, he must immediately resign his position. Then it is up to the local branch to decide whether to accept or reject the resignation, Clack said.

Pub Date: 7/29/98

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