Neverdon files as write-in for city state's attorney

Defense lawyer failed to gather signatures to get name on ballot

  • Russell A. Neverdon Sr., who is running for Baltimore State's attorney, appears at a press conference Friday outside the Baltimore Board of Elections.
Russell A. Neverdon Sr., who is running for Baltimore State's… (John Fritze, Baltimore…)
September 11, 2014|By Ian Duncan | The Baltimore Sun

Defense attorney Russell A. Neverdon Sr. filed Wednesday to run as a write-in candidate for Baltimore state's attorney after a city judge issued a ruling that kept his name off the ballot.

The only name that will be presented to voters in the Nov. 4 election is that of Democratic nominee Marilyn Mosby, an insurance company attorney and former prosecutor.

In a video posted to his Facebook page, Neverdon urged his supporters to continue backing his candidacy.

"My name will not appear on the ballot, but I am a candidate for the office," he said. "Irrespective of what that judge's opinion or decision was, you have the ultimate decision. This is our fight, this is our city. And so together we can make history."

Neverdon had sought to appear on the ballot as an independent, but elections officials ruled that about 1,300 signatures he had gathered to that end were invalid, leaving his petition short of the required number of signatures. Neverdon challenged that decision in court, but Circuit Judge Martin P. Welch upheld on Tuesday the elections board decision.

No Republican is running.

Neverdon has advocated a comprehensive approach to fighting crime that would include both treatment where appropriate and punishment. He has also said his experience fighting prosecutors as a defense attorney would help him make the office's cases stronger.

Mosby has emphasized tackling the most violent criminals in Baltimore — a goal shared by incumbent Gregg L. Bernstein, but one that she said he has failed to accomplish. Mosby won the June primary by a 10 percentage point margin.

Office seekers must register as write-ins. If they don't, they cannot take office even if they win the most votes. To cast a ballot for a write-in candidate, a voter must type the candidate's name into the voting machine.

Baltimore's election board director Armstead B.C. Jones Sr. said he could not recall a city write-in candidate ever having been successful.

A number have tried, however.

Mosby's husband, City Councilman Nick Mosby, faced down a write-in challenger in 2011. He beat back sitting 7th District Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, whom he had already defeated in the Democratic primary.

Also in that year, 13th District Councilman Warren Branch tackled a write-in challenger, and 10th District Councilman Edward L. Reisinger fended off two.

It's not the first time a write-in campaign has been mounted for state's attorney. In 1974, Milton B. Allen ran after being defeated in the Democratic primary. Despite amassing more than 50,000 votes, he still lost by about 20,000.

iduncan@baltsun.com

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