Candidate Watch 2010: Doc Cheatham to branch into state politics?
Unhappy with the three state delegates in his home district, the NAACP’s Marvin “Doc” Cheatham said Monday that he is considering jumping into the 2010 race. He said he has conferred with several political insiders who have told him he’d be well-served by his name recognition.
As president of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, Cheatham has fired off scores of emails to elected officials, calling attention to what he sees as justice problems in the city. One recent missive questioned whether city officials are racially motivated in their placement of parking meters and speed cameras.
He frequently appears at anti-violence rallies, always noting the absence of elected officials, and last month assembled a panel on the juvenile justice system that included Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Donald DeVore.
Cheatham, a Democrat, said he feels compelled to run for state office because “far too many people are dissatisfied with the leadership in our district.” Although he said he has “an excellent relationship,” with all three delegates — Democrats Ruth Kirk, Melvin Stukes and Keith Haynes — he said he “can’t give any of them a passing grade.”
He wouldn’t name any of them as the person he hopes to replace.
Cheatham said West Baltimore’s 44th District, which includes Reservoir Hill and his neighborhood of Bolton Hill, consistently ranks first or second on all of the wrong lists. He said the district’s high rates of teen pregnancy and drug addiction should be a signal to elected officials that more aggressive leadership is in order.
“This district needs better servicing,” Cheatham said. “We need to see our elected officials every day.”
But he said officially declaring his candidacy would involve serious personal sacrifices.
For one, he’d have to retire from his job as an election specialist with the National Labor Relations Board, a federal position he has held for 38 years. And at age 59, Cheatham said he’d rather see a “young adult” jump into the race.
Until two weeks ago, Cheatham was rumored to be vying for the district’s Senate seat. But at an event also attended by Sen. Verna Jones, Cheatham announced he wouldn’t seek her job.
However, Keiffer Mitchell, a former Democratic candidate for Baltimore mayor, might. Also a 44th District resident, Mitchell is pondering a run for state office, though he hasn’t said whose seat he is eyeing. All 188 General Assembly seats are up for election next November.
CANDIDATE WATCH 2010 -- As the 2010 election season ramps up, we will be writing about candidates announcing their campaigns, or even just testing the political waters. If you have campaign news, please contact Laura Smitherman or Julie Bykowicz.