State Sen. Jill Carter considering run for Cummings’ seat

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State Sen. Jill Carter (D-41st District) speaks at a press conference at City Hall. Photo via Baltimore Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement.

Baltimore State Sen. Jill P. Carter announced today she is considering a run for the late Elijah Cummings’ congressional seat.

Citing the her civil rights record, learned from activist father Walter P. Carter, and Cummings’ nickname for her as the “People’s Champion,” Carter cast herself as an appropriate candidate to fill the longtime Congressman’s shoes.

“His unwavering commitment to justice and equality was unparalleled,” she said of Cummings in a statement. “He believed America must live up to her ideals. I entered public service with the exact same unwavering commitment, which was taught to me at an early age by my father.”

Carter said she will form an exploratory committee and consult with potential constituents and advisers before deciding on whether to run. She told Baltimore Fishbowl that if she decides to seek the seat, she would run in both the special election and the regularly scheduled 2020 cycle.

Gov. Larry Hogan yesterday called for the special election to complete the term of Cummings, who died earlier this month after representing Maryland’s 7th District in the House of Representatives for decades.

Candidates can begin formally filing tomorrow, and have until Nov. 20 to declare. There’s a Nov. 22 deadline for dropping out of the race. The special primary election is scheduled for Feb. 4, and will be followed by the special election on April 28.

That happens to be the same day as the primary election for the 2020 cycle, which is going on as scheduled. The general election is set for Nov. 3.

A former journalist with The AFRO and public defender, Carter began her political career representing the 41st District in the Maryland House of Delegates in 2003. She held that seat for 14 more years before becoming director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement under former Mayor Catherine Pugh.

Heading into the 2018 election, she filed to run for the Senate seat of her old district and was eventually appointed by Hogan to that position after Nathaniel Oaks pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and resigned.

Carter then went on to defeat primary election challenger J.D. Merrill, a former educator and Martin O’Malley’s son-in-law.

During this year’s legislative session, Carter notably provided the tip that eventually exposed the University of Maryland Medical System board’s self-dealing, which included Pugh’s contract to sell “Healthy Holly” children’s books to be distributed to schools and events geared toward young people.

A number of board members, including Pugh, resigned their posts. Pugh eventually resigned as mayor.

The Maryland General Assembly passed Carter’s bill to reform the medical organization’s board.

Brandon Weigel

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