Cane new leader of black caucus

April 09, 2004|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

In another sign of Baltimore's diminishing influence in Annapolis, a second-term Eastern Shore delegate defeated longtime city Del. Clarence Davis in the race for chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The election of Del. Rudolph C. Cane, who represents Dorchester and Wicomico counties, ends an unwritten but long-held tradition within the black caucus of alternating the chairmanship between Baltimore and Prince George's County, the jurisdictions where the overwhelming majority of the 43 African-American senators and delegates live.

Prince George's County has held the chairmanship for the last two-year term, suggesting that the city would win it this time. But Cane challenged Davis, who has been in the House of Delegates for 20 years, for the seat and won 20-17.

"It's nothing relative to Davis as a candidate," said Del. Obie Patterson, the departing chairman of the caucus and a Prince George's County Democrat. "He has served the caucus well."

Cane, 69, was elected to the House in 1998 after serving as a director of administration for the State Highway Administration's Eastern Regional Laboratory. He also is administrator of housing and community development for SHORE UP! Inc., and vice president of Cane's Rentals.

He has an agenda that he is preparing for when he takes over in two months.

"I think we need to track bills and be proactive," Cane said. "I think we need to have an agenda that we present to the governor prior to the governor producing his budget."

Although some disappointed caucus members said they do not intend to support Cane, Davis shrugged off the loss. "Win some, lose some," Davis said.

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