Blount for Senate in 41st Sun endorsements: Gladden, Phillips, Pittman for delegate seats

incumbents get support in 40th.

August 10, 1998

FOR DECADES, West Baltimore's 40th District was known for its intrigues and fiercely fought primary elections. Not this year.

After two terms, Sen. Ralph M. Hughes has no Democratic challenger. The district's three delegates, Howard "Pete" Rawlings, Tony E. Fulton and Salima Siler Marriott, face only one token opponent. They all deserve renomination.

In contrast, the adjoining 41st District is a veritable donnybrook. In the Senate race, three-term Del. Frank D. Boston has turned against his mentor by trying to unseat Clarence W. Blount, the Senate majority leader who, after seven terms, is among the city's most influential state lawmakers.

Mr. Boston, 59, contends that Mr. Blount, 77, does not live in the district and has lost touch with voters. "You've got to live with them to live their pain and joy," he says.

This is not the first time Mr. Blount's multiple properties have led to questions about his domicile. The dispute is now in court. Until proven otherwise, the charge for now appears to be nothing more than a political distraction.

We strongly endorse Mr. Blount's re-election. With redistricting after the 2000 Census threatening to further weaken the city's representation in the General Assembly, Baltimore has a critical need for his skills and influence in Annapolis.

Only one incumbent delegate -- Nathaniel T. Oaks -- is seeking re-election. Previously convicted of perjury and misconduct in office and of stealing campaign money, he does not deserve another term.

Fortunately, viable alternatives exist. A particularly promising newcomer is Lisa A. Gladden, a thoughtful and eloquent 33-year-old lawyer in the public defender's office. She gets our endorsement, along with Wendell F. Phillips, a 34-year-old operations manager for Sears (and son of the late delegate) and Marshall Pittman, a 50-year-old disabled Vietnam veteran and member of the Democratic State Central Committee.

This is the team that, with Senator Blount's leadership, can give the district credible representation in Annapolis.

Tomorrow: Districts 42 and 43.

Pub Date: 8/10/98

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