Roya Hanna, an independent candidate for Baltimore state’s attorney, dropped out of the race Friday to endorse Ivan Bates, the winner of the Democratic primary.
Hanna said she joined the race to enact change in the State’s Attorney’s Office and voters had chosen change by electing Bates.
“There is no time to waste in the work that must be done to rebuild the State’s Attorney’s Office,” she said at a news conference Friday.
“I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Baltimore City state’s attorney so that the city can move forward.”
Last week, Bates defeated two-term incumbent Marilyn Mosby and another primary challenger, Thiru Vignarajah, leaving only Hanna between Bates and the job of top prosecutor.
Hanna originally entered the race as a Democrat but later withdrew to run as an independent, a move that guaranteed she could participate in the general election. In heavily Democratic Baltimore, the winner of the Democratic primary is almost certain to win in the general.
Bates and Hanna appeared together at Friday’s news conference. Bates said he will use the time between now and the election, time he otherwise might have spent campaigning, to prepare for the transition into the office.
Bates, a defense lawyer known for representing several people who were targeted by members of the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force, again emphasized his two main goals: to aggressively prosecute violent crime and to rebuild the office, which under Mosby has lost dozens of prosecutors.
“Those are huge tasks,” Bates said. “We can’t do everything day one, but I can begin to work with folks on those tasks.”
Mosby faced growing criticism as violent crime pummeled Baltimore during her tenure. She is also under federal indictment for perjury and making false statements on loan applications. She has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to face trial in September.
Now a defense lawyer, Hanna spent 12 years as a prosecutor in the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office, including four years focusing on homicide cases.
Hanna said Friday that she would like to see Bates expand the office’s central booking unit and make more effective charging decisions.
“I think oftentimes we see people get charged and the State’s Attorney’s Office has taken the position of, ‘We’ll figure it out later,'” Hanna said. “Well, that really means that people have to sit in jail for six months, nine months, a year, 18 months, and their families lost out on their support.”
Bates said Hanna’s idea was a good one that he would consider as he prepared to take office.
He also said he is optimistic that he will receive cooperation from current members of the State’s Attorney’s Office, and he plans to have conversations about what is and isn’t working in the office before he is sworn in.
“We have to get together and start doing work Day One, and so for us, that now means that we have the opportunity to sit, to talk, meet with the electeds, meet with the leaders,” he said.