Legislative districts

Election 2002

August 28, 2002

Today The Sun begins its endorsements in selected General Assembly primaries.

IF BALTIMORE, despite its shrinking representation, is to retain effectiveness in Annapolis, three key legislators -- one from each of the following districts -- must be re-elected. Without them, the city would be crippled in its ability to influence critical decisions about power and money.

District 40: In the Democratic primary, the victory of Del. Howard Peters Rawlings is critical to the city because he chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Del. Salima Siler Marriott also deserves support. The most promising candidate for the remaining nomination is Donald M. Smith, a computer specialist. At 29, he would rejuvenate the delegation.

In the Senate race, Al Sharpton's National Action Network is hoping for an upset. Its newsletter editor, Desiree M. Dodson, is trying to unseat Ralph M. Hughes, who is finishing his third term in the Senate after serving three terms as a delegate. This should be a wake-up call for Mr. Hughes. We endorse him, expecting him to exercise a more assertive leadership role.

There are no Republican primaries.

District 41: Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman, who chairs the Budget and Taxation Committee, is another key to Baltimore's influence in legislative decision-making. She lost her secure base in a court-ordered redistricting. Senator Hoffman's main challenger is Del. Lisa A. Gladden. A former delegate, Frank D. Boston Jr., also is in the race in the district that runs from West Hills through Northwest Baltimore to Roland Park.

Ms. Gladden has shown promise during her first term in the House of Delegates. But in the current contest, that's not nearly enough. Only seniority gives a politician the ability to get meaningful things done in Annapolis. Ms. Hoffman has that; she has been in the Senate since 1983. She was the primary sponsor of this year's landmark legislation that will dramatically increase state spending on education.

If she is re-elected, Ms. Hoffman's continuing leadership role is ensured. Remarkably, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has pledged to reappoint her as chair of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee. She is a rainmaker the city cannot afford to lose.

Twelve candidates are fighting over the district's three delegate seats. Two incumbents, Del. Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg and Del. Wendell F. Phillips, merit another term. The third seat should go to Jill P. Carter, a lawyer and first-time candidate who is waging an impressive campaign.

There are no Republican primaries.

District 43: Remapping threw Del. Maggie McIntosh into this district, which runs along York and Harford roads to the county line. As the House majority leader, she is another of those veteran legislators on whom Baltimore's political and economic strength depends.

Voters should also reward the hard work and steady leadership of Del. Kenneth C. Montague Jr. and Del. Ann Marie Doory. They are running in a crowded field where other leading candidates are incumbent Del. Michael V. Dobson and Curt Anderson, a one-time television anchor and delegate who is aggressively attempting a comeback.

There are no Republican primaries.

Tomorrow

The Sun continues its Sept. 10 primary endorsements with state legislative races in Districts 44, 45 and 46.

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