ANNAPOLIS — Several Maryland candidates are trying to make political comebacks as they face off in primary matchups after ethical and legal problems.
With all 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly to be decided in November, voters will select the candidates in primary races throughout the state on Tuesday.
Former Prince George’s County Del. Tiffany Alston, who was ousted from her seat in 2012 over theft and misconduct convictions, is running again in a 10-way Democratic primary. The race also includes Greg Hall, who was nominated by the Prince George’s County Central Committee to take her place. However, Gov. Martin O’Malley appointed Darren Swain to be Alston’s replacement instead, after questions were raised about drug and gun charges Hall faced about two decades ago.
Also in Prince George’s County, Democratic Sen. Ulysses Currie is being challenged by Del. Melony Griffith, who has served in the House since 1999. It’s the first time Currie has run for re-election since he was acquitted in 2011 of federal bribery charges in an alleged influence-peddling case. The Senate voted to censure him in 2012 for failing to disclose work for a grocery store chain that paid him about $245,000 over several years.
In Anne Arundel County, Republican Del. Don Dwyer missed votes this year because he was in jail. Dwyer was sentenced to 60 days in jail, a sentence he served on weekends, for drunkenly operating a boat in a river crash that injured seven people and for driving a car while impaired about a year later. Dwyer, who is running in an eight-way primary in a district with two House seats, is seeking his fourth term. Anne Arundel County Republican Del. Tony McConkey is in a seven-way primary after being reprimanded last year in a 127-3 House vote for trying to change legislation in a way that would have helped him get his suspended real estate license back.
In Baltimore, political consultant Julius Henson is in a Democratic primary against Sen. Nathaniel McFadden. Henson served a 30-day jail term in 2012 after being convicted of conspiracy for robocalls he made on Election Day in 2010. Prosecutors alleged that the robocalls, made to about 110,000 Democratic voters in Baltimore and Prince George’s County, were aimed at keeping black voters from the polls during Maryland’s gubernatorial election.
Not all of the state’s closely watched primaries include troubled candidates.
Republican Sen. David Brinkley, is facing a challenge from Del. Michael Hough in Frederick County. Brinkley is the Senate minority leader who has been a senator since 2003. Hough is finishing his first term as a delegate. Hough paints himself as the more conservative candidate.
On the Eastern Shore, Del. Adelaide Eckardt, who has served in the House since 1995, is running against Sen. Richard Colburn for a Senate seat that includes Talbot County, as well as parts of Dorchester, Caroline and Wicomico counties. Colburn, like Eckardt, has held his seat since 1995.
In Montgomery County, Del. Luiz Simmons is battling former Del. Cheryl Kagan to replace retiring Sen. Jennie Forehand. Also in Montgomery County, Democratic Del. Susan Lee is running against Hugh Hill and J’aime Drayton to replace Sen. Brian Frosh, who is running for attorney general.