Union lawyer wants balance in conservative district
Democrat James "Ward" Morrow, a union attorney, says he wants to displace the "right-wing fringe" now populating the state legislative seats in District 7, which includes eastern Baltimore County and a portion of Harford. That's where Republican Del. Patrick L. McDonough -- who recently announced he'd try to replicate Arizona's controversial illegal immigrant crackdown in Maryland -- was the top vote-getter four years ago.
Morrow, who filed this week for the House of Delegates race, is an attorney for the American Federation of Government Employees and was counsel to the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. He also spent a decade as a Baltimore city prosecutor. He announced his bid in a press release yesterday, which noted that he'd (unsurprisingly) been endorsed by a teachers union.
The all-Republican district, where Andrew P. Harris is state senator, also includes Del. Richard K. Impallaria and Del. J.B. Jennings. The political musical chairs in that part of the state are likely to be some of the most exciting political contests this fall.
Harris is leaving his Senate seat to run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Frank Kratovil, a Democrat who narrowly defeated him in the last election.
Jennings and former state insurance commissioner Alfred W. Redmer Jr. will square off in the Republican primary for Harris' seat. Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr., a Democrat who is leaving because of term limits, also has signaled he may run for the Senate seat -- by moving to an apartment in the district last year.
And, with Morrow's filing, the delegate battles are now taking shape. Others who have filed include Democrats David "Ski" Mioduszewski and Rebecca Weir Nelson and Republicans John Cromwell, Roger Zadjdel and Jim Berndt. Impallaria also has filed, and McDonough is expected to do so before the July 6 deadline. The primary election will narrow the field to three candidates from each party. The top three vote earners in the general election will get the seats.
Republicans dominated District 7 in the last election. Harris defeated the Democratic challenger by more than 13 percentage points. In the delegate race, McDonough received the most votes, and Jennings, who came in third, topped the Democratic candidate by a 4,000-vote margin.
Impallaria and McDonough have both loudly called for the state to get tough on illegal immigrants. Impallaria, who owns a body shop, has been a delegate for seven years. McDonough, one of the most outspoken conservative thinkers in the Maryland General Assembly, has represented District 7 since 2003. Fun fact: McDonough also served in the House from 1979 to 1983 -- as a Democrat representing Baltimore City.
"McDonough and Impallaria have created an environment that makes it difficult for the voices of reason and common sense to be heard over their grandstanding," Morrow said in his press release, citing this as a chief reason he is running.