The politics behind the appointment of Cheryl Glenn’s successor

The new Hatfield and McCoy rivalry emerges in East Baltimore

Last week, in a bizarre twist in the ongoing legal saga that continues to plague Maryland lawmakers, 45th District State Delegate Cheryl Glenn abruptly resigned her seat in shocking fashion, offering no details and surprising even her closest friends and colleagues. The reason for her sudden resignation became a bit clearer earlier this week, as Maryland’s U.S. Attorney Robert Hur unsealed an indictment for charges that had been brought against the 68-year old legislator five months prior in July of this year.

Why the lag between charging the East Baltimore politician and actually unsealing the indictment you ask? Well, our legal expert Ivan Bates Esq. says that its often done when the person being charged in cooperating with federal officials in helping to bring down a bigger fish. The literal meaning to that assertion: she’s snitching. However, Bates says you can’t know for sure until more information is revealed, which the federal prosecutor’s office seems to be tightlipped about.

Yet, when looking at the unsealed indictment, what can be made of the charges filed against the woman who was most recently chairwoman of the Baltimore City House Delegation following her successful term as chair of the state’s legislative black caucus, is that there is certainly someone close to her that helped set up the deal, who is, or has been, cooperating (snitching) with federal authorities. Who that person may be is anyone’s guess?

(However, we will break it down and possibly reveal the most likely suspect during our End of the Year broadcast on Monday, December 30th from 5:30-7:30 p.m.)

But now that Glenn has officially resigned the office she’s held since 2007 – after winning one of the district’s three House seats with more votes than both of the incumbent state delegates – the members of the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee will now have to fill the vacant Delegate position that officially became vacant on December 18, 2019. That process has been set, and here’s what will follow.

The seven voting members of the 45th legislative district’s state central committee will have a chance to hear from each of the candidates who submit their resume to the body, at which time they will vote on the candidate they think will best serve out the remaining time of former Delegate Glenn’s four-year term (which officially ends in January of 2023)

First, anyone registered to vote in the 45th district, who is a registered Democrat – the party Glenn represented – who is twenty-one years of age or older and has been a resident of Maryland for at least one year, and a resident of the East Baltimore district for at least six months; will have to submit their resume to the body via email (baltimorecitydems@gmail.com) no later than at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 – ironically the day that the 90-day legislative session begins in Annapolis.

Applicants will then come before the seven-membered 45th district central committee on Monday, January 13, 2020 at the Humanin Building (1701 N. Gay Street) at 6:00 p.m. to begin the interview process, which will be immediately followed by the voting process, in which one candidate needs to be elected by a majority vote of the body. If no candidate wins the majority on the first ballot, the candidate with the least number of votes will be eliminated from consideration and they will go to a second ballot, and this process will continue until someone receives a majority vote by the body.

The irony in all this is that members of the body set to make this important decision may themselves be running for the position, in which they are able to vote for themselves. One of those individuals happens to be the chair of the 45th district central committee, and the daughter of one of the two incumbent state delegates that represents the district. Chanel Branch, a democratic candidate for City Council in the 2nd council district, is apparently also going to seek the nomination by the body she chairs in this upcoming appointment process, according to several sources.

Branch, who recently had an October fundraiser for her city council bid that featured her father, Delegate Talmadge Branch and former Delegate Glenn, could very well look to get into office in what appears to be the easier of the two pathways forward. She is running for the recently vacated council seat that was left vacant when the two-term councilman Brandon Scott was elevated to Council President. That seat was temporarily filled by the sister of the district’s sitting state senator, Cory McCray, as Branch didn’t receive nearly enough support for the seat, which wound up being given to Danielle ‘Dani’ McCray.

And while the seat will be up for grabs during the April 28th Primary Election, it would appear as if McCray has the added advantage of incumbency, as well as a well-oiled political machine ran by her brother. This side of town is a battle of the McCrays’ and the Branches, something like the Hatfields’ and McCoys’, after McCray single-handedly dismantled the political establishment led by Branch and former State Senator Nathaniel McFadden – who McCray defeated in last year’s election – over the past few years. And while Branch is likely be the favorite choice of the old guard, it’s unclear who Senator McCray’s folks may line up behind for the vacant seat? However, while McCray beat the establishment for the senate seat in 2018, he appears to have lost control of the central committee, which seems to lean in favor of Branch and the old guard.

Other candidates likely to put their name in to receive the nod is two likely front-runners along with Branch, city employee and [Sheila] Dixon protégé Linzy Jackson, as well as another central committee member and protégé of East Baltimore boss Mayor Bernard ‘Jack’ Young, Ms. Jasmine Collins. And while both Collins and Branch have the added advantage of having at least one vote to work from, their own, folks like Jackson and others won’t be able to rely on that luxury and will have to work hard to persuade members to vote for them.

Other likely candidates to throw their name in, though we have yet to receive any confirmation as to their candidacy, include perennial candidate Marques Dent, BEST Democratic Club member and central committee member Antonio Glover (who would also be able to vote for himself) and at-large central committee member Kevin Parson (who won’t have a vote since he was not elected to the central committee but rather chosen by the body as an at-large member, who has no voting powers during processes such as selecting a candidate to fill vacancies).

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