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Judge kicks radio talk show host off Md. Senate ballot

Radio talk show host James 'Jimmy' Matthis, right, shown on his WBAL radio show, has been removed from the 42nd state Senate ballot by a judge.

Radio talk show host James ‘Jimmy’ Mathis, right, shown on his WBAL radio show, has been removed from the 42nd state Senate district ballot by a judge.

A conservative talk show host running for a seat in the Maryland Senate has had his campaign ended, at least for now, by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge.

Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge H. Patrick Stringer Jr. Friday declared that James “Jimmy” Mathis is ineligible to run for state Senate in the 42nd District because he is not a resident of the district. The ruling follows a three-day trial and, barring an appeal, effectively ends Mathis’ bid.

Mathis, who currently hosts a show on WCBM, filed in January to run for the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Jim Brochin, who is running for Baltimore County executive. Mathis also recently hosted a program on WBAL 1090 AM prior to becoming a candidate.

Douglas B. Riley, a Republican former Baltimore County councilman who once ran for the same Senate seat in 2006, filed suit on March 8 against Mathis as well as the state and county boards of election challenging the radio show host’s residency.

“Since retiring from the Baltimore County Council, I have grown increasingly concerned that decisions about the future of Towson are being made by people who do not live here or share our goals for the community,” said Riley. “Most decisions about Towson’s future are now made by County Executive Kamenetz, who resides in Pikesville, and by Councilman Marks, who lives in White Marsh.  I opposed Mr. Mathis’ Certificate of Candidacy not because I question his character, political views, or good intentions.  I just don’t want Towson’s highest State official to reside in Glyndon, so far from Towson’s own neighborhoods and outside of its legislative district.”

 “I hope there will be a future Mathis candidacy, but one properly filed in a district in which he lives,” said Riley, who is a longtime friend of Del. Christopher West, R-Baltimore County and a candidate for the same Senate seat.

“Someone who aspires to be one of the 47 state senators who make our laws should abide by those laws, not violate them,” West said in a statement. “If the very first act of a candidate for public office is to make untruthful statements about where he lives in order to file his candidacy in a district where he does not live, what kind of public servant would such a candidate be, if elected?”

West, in the statement, said Riley filed suit on his behalf so he could continue to work in Annapolis as the 90-day General Assembly session winds down into its final month.

Attorneys for Riley argued in a court filings that Mathis failed to meet residency requirements when he filed to run for office in January. In those filings, Mathis claimed a Towson condominium address as his and at the same time changed his voter registration from a home in Glyndon, which is in the 10th District on the west side of the county, to the 42nd district in central Baltimore County.

Riley’s attorneys argued that Mathis should be removed from the Republican primary ballot because he “made a false and misleading statement in his voter registration application that he resided” in the new district “omitting that he actually resided in the 10th District.”

Mathis, in an interview, called the case and Stringer’s ruling premature, saying he had six months from the General Election to establish residency.

“My belief is that we were complying with everything from the board of elections and in the Maryland Constitution,” said Mathis in an interview. “We got caught in some leather-bound book kind of stuff.”

Mathis added that he intends to file an appeal quickly.

“Obviously, time is of the essence,” he said.

Editor’s note: Bryan P. Sears, government reporter for The Daily Record, had frequently appeared as an unpaid guest on “The Jimmy Mathis Show” on WBAL.


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