2018 Primary Election: The Conaways keep on Conaway-ing

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Former city councilwoman and Register of Wills Belinda Conaway (left) and Del. Frank Conaway Jr.

Another election, another year where the last vestiges of the Conaway political dynasty manage to maintain power.

Del. Frank M. Conaway Jr. held his seat in the 40th District, securing a third term. The race drew a crowded field of 13 candidates, from which three would move on to the general. Conaway Jr. and Nick Mosby were both incumbents, and the other, Del. Antonio Hayes, took a shot at the district’s senate seat and won.

Conaway Jr.’s sister, Belinda, a former city councilwoman, cruised to victory in the city election for register of wills. From 1982 to 2012, the position was held by Mary Conaway, Frank Jr.’s mother and Belinda’s stepmother.

Family patriarch Frank M. Conaway Sr. was both a legend and colorful character in city politics, serving in the House of Delegates in parts of the 1970s and early 1980s, as his 2015 obituary in The Sun notes.

In 1998, after failed bids for mayor and sheriff (the latter included a cowboy-themed campaign) Conaway Sr. was elected clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, a job he held until his death. He made another bid for mayor and, after switching to the Republican Party in 2014, considered mounting yet another campaign before he died in 2015, the Baltimore Brew reported shortly after his passing.

Oddly enough, at the time of Conaway’s death, his family could not find his will, even though the clan had the position in charge of handling wills locked down for decades, The Sun reported at the time.

The younger Conaways have had their share of controversy in the political limelight.

In 2011, while Belinda was serving in the Baltimore City Council for the 7th District, Adam Meister, a blogger and columnist with the now-defunct newspaper The Examiner, challenged Conaway’s residency. Belinda’s listed address was her father’s house on Liberty Heights Avenue but, Meister asserted, she really lived in Randallstown. At the height of the controversy, Meister and Frank Conaway Sr. got in an altercation while Conaway was reportedly armed. No charges were filed.

Belinda Conaway eventually filed a $21 million lawsuit against Meister and the paper, which she later dropped after an affidavit became public showing Conaway and her husband* did live in Baltimore County. She went on to lose her seat to Nick Mosby.

Frank Jr., meanwhile, began serving in the House in 2007. Seven years later, he uploaded a series of YouTube videos “about talking horses, Rubik’s Cube, canned chicken and cryptograms in ancient Egypt,” the Brew reported in 2014. There was an investigation into whether Conaway Jr. made the videos while working as a clerk at the Municipal Post Office, a job Comptroller Joan Pratt appointed him to in 2006.

He resigned before the investigation was completed, one day after he was re-elected to Annapolis.

Phew. There’s probably some stuff I’m forgetting about, too. In spite of everything that’s there, the Conaways keep on Conaway-ing all these years later.

Correction: This post previously referred to Belinda Conaway and “her wife.” It should have said referred to “her husband.” Baltimore Fishbowl regrets the error.

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]
Brandon Weigel


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