Stokes, other candidates remain in mayoral race

Neither misstep nor arrest deters hopefuls as dropout deadline passes

July 17, 1999|By Gerard Shields and Ivan Penn | Gerard Shields and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

All 27 Baltimore mayoral candidates remained in the Sept. 14 primary race yesterday, despite the arrest Thursday night of one and the acknowledgment of a second this week that he falsely claimed a college degree.

Mayoral candidate Carl Stokes held a news conference at 3: 30 p.m. yesterday, igniting speculation that the 49-year-old former East Baltimore city councilman and school board member would drop out of the race before yesterday's 5 p.m. deadline.

Earlier in the week, Stokes acknowledged that statements on campaign literature that he graduated from Loyola College were untrue. But yesterday, Stokes continued his bid for mayor, announcing an endorsement from prominent Baltimore businessman Raymond C. Haysbert, whom he named honorary chairman of the Stokes campaign.

"I am even more focused and committed," Stokes said after announcing the endorsement. "This campaign is re-energized and renewed. I still have a vision for Baltimore."

Republican mayoral candidate Dorothy Joyner Jennings, 57, of the 4600 block of Maine Ave. in Northwest Baltimore was arrested Thursday on a year-old warrant charging her with misdemeanor burglary in a break-in at her former home in the 4200 block of Wentworth Ave. A city police officer recognized Jennings while she was being interviewed on television.

Yesterday's deadline came and went with little change to the ballot. Two of the 83 candidates seeking 19 seats on the City Council -- Charles J. Richardson, a Democrat from the 1st District, and Tessa Hill, a Democrat from the 5th District -- withdrew.

The city election field is the most crowded in more than three decades, city Election Director Barbara E. Jackson has said. The flood of candidates was triggered by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's decision not to seek election to a fourth four-year term.

Schmoke's departure makes the mayoral race the first in 28 years without an incumbent. In addition, City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III is running for mayor, leaving his slot open. Seven candidates are seeking his job, including Clerk of Courts Frank M. Conaway, Nathan C. Irby Jr., executive secretary of the state Board of Liquor License Commissioners, and West Baltimore Councilwoman Sheila Dixon.

In addition to Dixon, incumbent council members Rita R. Church of the 3rd District, Robert L. Douglass of the 2nd District and Martin O'Malley of the 3rd District will not return to the council. O'Malley is among the mayoral candidates.

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