Stokes forced to apologize over mayoral endorsement

Councilwoman says she didn't commit to candidate

June 25, 1999|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

A Northeast Baltimore city councilwoman is angry after mayoral candidate Carl Stokes included her name on an endorsement without her permission, she said.

Councilwoman Rita R. Church, who represents the 3rd District with mayoral candidate Martin O'Malley, said yesterday that she was shocked to hear news reports that she had endorsed Stokes. Church, who attended O'Malley's mayoral announcement Tuesday, said she hasn't endorsed any candidate.

"It's a doggone lie," Church said of the Stokes endorsement. "I haven't made my commitments to anyone."

Stokes, a former East Baltimore councilman, called Church yesterday and apologized. He said that he included Church's name on the advice of staff members who talked to her last week and assured him that he had her support.

"I haven't talked to her in a week," Stokes said. The staff "said she was with us and to go ahead and use her name."

In a news release, Stokes listed Church with eight state Democratic legislators who endorsed him for mayor Wednesday evening. The group included Northwest Baltimore Del. Maggie L. McIntosh, a former member of the committee to draft NAACP President Kweisi Mfume for the city's top job.

McIntosh commended Stokes for his energy, intellect and integrity. She said she is convinced he can be the leader Baltimore needs.

"He really wants to be a mayor to restore City Hall to a government that works for the people and not against them," McIntosh said.

Last month, Mfume decided not to run for mayor and to remain with the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Stokes, 49, is one of nine candidates to succeed Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in December.

State Sen. Delores G. Kelley and Del. Wendell F. Phillips also endorsed Stokes at his Guilford Avenue campaign headquarters on Wednesday. Kelley noted that Stokes' experience on the City Council and school board makes him the "right person at the right time."

"We have a candidate who believes the city can be a vibrant engine again," Kelley said.

Five other delegates who did not attend the event but lent their name to the Stokes endorsement included: James W. Campbell, Clarence Davis, Tony E. Fulton, Lisa A. Gladden and Ruth M. Kirk.

During the past week, Stokes has been promoting a plan he calls the "Rocket Docket." Anyone charged with a crime that involved a handgun would get priority in the courts, ensuring that the case would be dealt with quickly.

The Democratic mayoral candidates in the Sept. 14 primary in addition to Stokes include City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III, Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway, O'Malley and neighborhood activists William Edward Roberts Sr., Phillip A. Brown Jr. and A. Robert Kaufman.

Republicans running are Little Italy's Roberto Marsili and Arthur W. Cuffie Jr.

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