Baltimore City will have races for City Council in all fourteen of its council districts; however, we will be focusing on the districts without an incumbent, either due to a retiring council member or one running for higher office. And while each district has at least one remarkable individual running for office, giving citizens the opportunity to elect a tremendous public servant in all 14 of the districts, these five races represent the greatest opportunity for generational change.
This is probably the most convoluted council race in the city, having ten candidates vying for one open council seat, which was held for the past twelve years by Councilman Bill Henry Jr – who is running for citywide for the position of Comptroller. And given that the incumbent himself has not weighed in on who he thinks would best serve the district he continues to represent; this race will truly come down to who outworks the other.
There are ten democratic candidates vying for this seat, with the winner of the Primary having no Republican challenger this fall, which means that even though the General Election never really presents a problem for the democratic nominee, this race won’t have any Coronavirus surprises come November. This election comes down to a handful of candidates who have led the field for a good part of the campaign season, though almost all of them had little to no true name recognition districtwide before the start of the race.
The closest candidate to having a politically recognizable name would be Nicole Harris-Crest, who never missed an opportunity to tout who her father was, so much so that voters seem to know more about her father – former district councilman Ken Harris – than they do about the candidate. Her first mailer and piece of lit did nothing but remind voters of what her father did in the district, over a decade ago, and she never really convinced voters why they should choose her based on her own merits. And it didn’t help that her opponents continued to point to the fact that is highly unlikely she actually lives in the district, given that nobody has ever seen her in the rundown apartments she claims to reside with her husband and children in one of the most economically challenged communities in the district.
As stated by other candidates, and shown via the campaign finance listing, Mrs. Harris-Crest reportedly moved into the district a year ago, right before she announced her run for office, and while her and her husband both make close to six-figures, sending their children to private school as opposed to Baltimore City Public Schools; most folks can’t believe that they are that well off and live in a ratty apartment complex. And when investigators asked neighbors had they ever saw Mrs. Harris-Crest before in their complex, not a single person identified her as their neighbor.
But her political ties to her boss, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, and her recent support by Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, along with her family name, place her in the top tier of democratic candidates in this district. The other challengers to note are Logan Endow, a young and somewhat provocative young man, who seems to tout his time across seas helping to “fight the Ebola virus” more than anything he’s ever done in the district – or even the City of Baltimore for that matter. Angie Winder is a member of the democratic state central committee, and had the support of the district state senator Mary Washington, but that still hasn’t gotten her much traction amongst the electorate, as many residents have yet to meet the outgoing community advocate.
Mark Conway seems to be a hard-working and bright young man who worked for the city’s former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, though some question his dedication to the African American portions of the district, as many in the lower part of the district have never seen him before this election. And while the white voters throughout the district could be torn between him and Endow, they are also looking at another young man who seems to be galvanizing the African American community based on his continued presence over the years as a coach in youth sports.
Zac Dingle, owner of Jumoke Inc – a clinical therapist whose company houses and assists many of the delinquent adolescents of the district – seems to have many older black voters behind him due in large part to the work he and his father once did as well in the district. Gary Dingle, who was a former probation agent for the Department of Juvenile Services, is well respected across many of the communities of the district, which helped get his son Zac in the door with many of the district’s senior voters; and unlike Harris-Crest, Dingle hasn’t made his entire campaign about his father.
Instead, him and his team have scoured the district ten times over, dropping off upwards of seven different versions of literature showing voters who he is, what he’s done over the past twenty years in the district, and what he plans to do if elected. He’s earned the support of former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who included him in her group of dedicated community public servants she dubbed the “Future of Baltimore”, and just sent out his third mailer with the support of Dixon and Congressman Kweisi Mfume. Dingle’s wife, Liset Collazo-Dingle, is a well-known attorney in Baltimore, which helped garner him a ton of support from the legal community, and Zac is a central member of a large group of African American human service providers.
Dingle, along with many of his colleagues, helped draft the language used in the recent city council backed legislation that tackles trauma-enforced care when dealing with our area youth who have been witness to unthinkable acts of violence, and has placed his business headquarters in the district for the past twenty years, hiring dozens of area residents – making him no stranger to the those he is now asking for their support.
Therefore, we have decided to endorse Zachery ‘Zac’ Dingle to be the next City Councilman for the 4th council district. His years of work on the ground, tackling some of the many issues we face today regarding crime and juvenile development, will go a long way in helping to address these issues in the areas of concern in this district. Unfortunately, Councilman Henry has largely been MIA in the downtrodden African American communities of his district, and electing Dingle will reverse that trend, having a representative who will represent all the communities of this district.
*Tomorrow we will go over Districts 7 and 13. While endorsing Districts 10 and 14 on Friday.