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44th Legislative District

Location: The city portion of this city/county district, dubbed District 44A, runs roughly from the Upton and Harlem Park neighborhood west to the area between Frederick and Wilkins avenues out to the city line.

Demographics: Adult population of about 30,200, nearly 88 percent black and about nine percent white.

 

Incumbent Senator:

Verna Jones-Rodwell

Campaign cash on hand, as of June 13: $23,226.70

Background: Jones-Rodwell announced her retirement on April 20, after the Feb. 27 deadline for withdrawing as a primary-election candidate, so her name will appear on the ballot. The founder of the training-and-consulting firm Collaborative Solutions, she chairs the city's Senate delegation and the pensions subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and is the Senate chair of joint committees on pensions and the management of public funds. As deputy majority whip, she helps wrangle legislators' votes on key bills. She was elected delegate in 1998, and has been a senator since ousting Clarence Mitchell IV in 2002.

Legislative record: Given her committee duties, Jones-Rodwell's successful bills often deal with state pensions and public-funds management, though her current term has also been marked by passage of measures to reform Baltimore City's liquor laws and bolster the state's public-health efforts.

Campaign finances: Among Jones-Rodwell's top benefactors since 2012 are Commercial Interiors ($6,125), the Hanover-based development company headed by Kevin Johnson; SEIU Maryland/DC State Council PAC ($5,000); and SEIU—NYS Political Action Fund ($4,000).

 

House Incumbents:

Keith E. Haynes

Campaign cash on hand, as of June 13: $22,940.88

Background: A deputy majority whip, Haynes helps keep his fellow legislators' votes in line with the leadership's priorities, and chairs the Health and Human Resources Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee. A personal-injury attorney with the Law Offices of Peter Angelos, he was first elected in 2002.

Legislative record: Haynes' successful bills this term required data collection about casino employees; sought to improve high-rise fire safety for the mobility-impaired; established a social-work scholarship named after the late state Del. Ruth Kirk; helped with pension benefits for state parole-and-probation retirees who are rehired; and ordered a study into whether to start an electronic reader pilot program for public-school students.

Campaign finances: Haynes' top re-election benefactors since 2012 include Armand Volta Jr. ($3,000), a fellow lawyer at the Angelos firm; the public-employees union AFSCME ($3,000); the healthcare and public-employees union SEIU ($2,000); and HFAM Nursing Home PAC ($1,500).

 

Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr.

Campaign cash on hand, as of June 13: $14,956.94

Background: Mitchell, who was a member of the Baltimore City Council until losing his 2007 bid to become mayor, in the 2010 elections ousted longtime state Del. Ruth Kirk, who has since passed away. Like most first-termers, he chairs no legislative committees or subcommittees, though he heads up the Regional Revitalization Work Group in the House of Delegates, which is tasked with recommending ways to boost the Baltimore region's economy. He runs his own public-relations firm, KJM Strategies.

Legislative record: Mitchell's first term has included successful bills to help retrain the unemployed and find funding to assist with student-loan repayments; reform parole-revocation guidelines; bar felons convicted elsewhere from possessing guns in Maryland; expand the provision of development incentives in Baltimore City; and criminalize threats against prosecutors and public defenders.

Campaign finances: Among Mitchell's top donors are D.C.-based ophthalmologist Kenyon Kramer ($4,000) and his wife, Ina Rae Kramer ($4,000); FOP Baltimore City Lodge #3 ($2,500); and the campaign of Maryland Senate President Thomas "Mike" Miller ($2,000).

 

Melvin L. Stukes

Campaign cash on hand, as of June 13: $1,661.73

Background: A longtime member of the Baltimore City Council until redistricting pushed him out in 2004, Stukes in the 2006 elections beat state Del. Jeffrey Paige, who has since passed away. He works as special assistant to the Maryland Transit Administration's director of customer information, but holds no leadership positions in the legislature.

Legislative record: During his current term, Stukes sponsored successful bills to require drivers of self-insured vehicles to provide proof at the time of an accident; expand tax-benefit eligibility for resident artists of arts-and-entertainment districts; create a youth-employment pilot program in Baltimore City; revise membership of the Maryland Veterans Commission; establish Juneteenth National Freedom Day as an official commemorative day in Maryland; and provide for reimbursement of attorney's fees in foreclosures.

Campaign finances: Stukes' top contributors since 2012 include Mid-Atlantic Realty Management ($2,000), whose president, Steven Berman, in 2010 was convicted in federal court for rigging Maryland tax sales; Windsor Mill resident Denise Gordon ($1,000); and Always Cooking Best Crabs ($750), one of the crab houses located at Southwest Baltimore's famed "Crab Corner."

 

Senate Challenger:

Shirley Nathan-Pulliam

Campaign cash on hand, as of June 13: $88,254.27

Background: A delegate since winning in the 1994 elections, Nathan-Pulliam has been deputy majority whip since 2003 and chairs the subcommittee on minority health disparities of the Health and Government Operations Committee. Given Jones-Rodwell's announced retirement, she's the likely victor in the 44th District's Senate race.

Legislative record: Nathan-Pulliam is a prolific legislator on public-health matters, successfully sponsoring bills during her current term that dictate how nurses and other medical practitioners are licensed and certified; ease cancer patients' access to orally administered chemotherapy drugs; codify requirements that electric companies take measures to reduce the risk of electrocution in public areas; assess ways to better address lead poisoning; and look into how to expand and regulate the ranks of community health workers.

Campaign finances: Nathan-Pulliam's top donors since 2012 include Nursing and Health Services Training Consultants ($2,000), a home-nursing provider; the pharmaceutical company Sanofi ($1,625); and Jai Seunarine ($1,500), owner of Jai Medical Systems, which provides health insurance to Medicaid patients. (Van Smith)

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