Mitchell says he'll remain a Democrat

Senator pledges to fight for Morgan State library

April 10, 2002|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

Baltimore Sen. Clarence M. Mitchell IV, who threatened to leave his party to become a Republican, said yesterday that he will remain a Democrat.

Mitchell said family members urged him not to switch, despite what he says is poor treatment of African-Americans by the Democratic Party leadership.

Speaking at a State House news conference, he noted the rejection by General Assembly leaders of Morgan State University's request for $3.1 million in next year's budget toward a new library.

Other Democrats and Republicans said the legislature reached a better compromise for the school, promising Morgan more money for the library the next year.

Mitchell disagreed, and said he would fight on behalf of the Morgan students who rallied in Annapolis to try to win support for the funding.

"I happen to be a voice for those who don't have a voice," he said.

The senator threatened in December to become a Republican after Gov. Parris N. Glendening presented his legislative redistricting plan, which significantly changed Mitchell's 44th District. If he seeks re-election from that district, he would face a tough race against Sen. George W. Della Jr.

Mitchell's political career suffered another blow in February, when the Assembly's ethics committee reprimanded him for failing to disclose a loan arranged by businessmen with issues before the legislature.

Mitchell, who is steeped in debt, did not acknowledge the loan until The Sun began asking questions about it.

Although he intends to remain a Democrat, Mitchell said he has not decided whether he will support a Democrat or a Republican in this year's race for governor.

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