Neverdon loses again as he strives for place on November ballot

Judge finds independent candidate for city state's attorney failed to collect enough signatures

September 09, 2014|By Kevin Rector and Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun

Veteran defense attorney Russell A. Neverdon Sr. has lost another battle in his effort to get his name on the November ballot as a candidate for Baltimore state's attorney.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Martin P. Welch ruled against Neverdon on Tuesday in Neverdon's appeal of a ruling by city elections officials denying him a place on the ballot. Elections officials found that he had fallen more than 1,000 signatures short of the 4,160 that he needed to challenge Democrat Marilyn Mosby as an independent candidate.

Mosby won the Democratic nomination for the post in the June 24 primary when she defeated incumbent State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein. No Republican is running.

Welch found that the board used the "appropriate standard" in assessing the validity of the signatures, according to the ruling, and that neither Neverdon's rights nor the rights of his supporters had been violated by the board's decision to invalidate 1,327 signatures.

Neverdon said Tuesday that he will appeal the decision again, all the way to the state's Court of Special Appeals, and wage a write-in campaign.

"Let's right this wrong, and write me in," he said.

He said he and his supporters have "the opportunity to make history" by winning as a write-in candidate, which he said he realizes will not be an easy task in the general election.

Neverdon has said his campaign closely reviewed 5,686 signatures before submitting them to the city Board of Elections. However, Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., the board's director, has said hundreds of Neverdon's signatures belonged to people who are not registered voters in Baltimore, while hundreds of others did not have dates attached to them.

Signatures must be properly dated and belong to registered voters to be valid.

Jones said Tuesday that Welch's ruling "speaks for itself" and shows the elections board "did their job and did it efficiently."

Mosby, a former city prosecutor and the wife of City Councilman Nick Mosby, said Tuesday that Welch's decision did not surprise her.

"I had confidence in the Board of Elections. I knew they were diligent," she said.

She said she is excited to take office and start to break down "barriers of distrust" in Baltimore's communities, but backed off comments last month in which she essentially declared victory after the board's initial ruling on Neverdon's signatures.

"Anyone is entitled to run a write-in campaign, and I can't be too presumptuous in counting anyone out. A lot of people counted me out," she said Tuesday. "I still have a job to do. I still have to turn voters out, and I intend to do that."

Mosby easily defeated Bernstein by 10 percentage points in June.

Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater contributed to this article.

krector@baltsun.com

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