Bolton Hill State Senators Face Competition in 2018 Elections

by Bill Hamilton
With just 12 weeks remaining until the primary elections on June 26, Bolton Hill residents may encounter a vast number of candidates seeking their votes.
In addition to statewide races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and State Comptroller (as well as US Senator and the US House of Representatives) in the 2018 elections, Bolton Hill will help elect two state senators, four members of the state House of Delegates, and several citywide officeholders.
Maryland legislative districts, last drawn by the state in 2012, include one senator and typically three state assembly members who run at-large within the district. Bolton Hill is part of the 40th and 44th districts. These races get little attention in local media.
Senate District 40 covers west central and south Baltimore, bordered on the east mostly by the Jones Falls Expressway. The oddly drawn Senate District 44 includes a broad swath of Baltimore County and a finger into the city that runs east through Bolton Hill — bounded on the west by the 1600 to 1900 blocks of Eutaw, east from 1959 North Avenue to 240 Robert St., southward down to 1600 Bolton St at McMechen and then west on McMechen St., back to Eutaw.
You can look up or confirm which district you are in and where you vote at the state of Maryland’s Polling Place Lookup page.
The incumbent state senators representing both districts 40 and 44 are being challenged in the Democratic primary. Here’s a look at the candidates in these races.

District 40 races

District 40 Senator Barbara Robinson, 79, was appointed by Governor Hogan in December 2016 at the recommendation of the city’s Democratic leadership to succeed Catherine Pugh, who gave up the seat to become mayor. Robinson served as a delegate in the General Assembly from 2007–2016 and is a veteran of the public and non-profit arenas. She and her daughter have frequently attended MRIA meetings. She says she is “unbought, unintimidated and standing for what is right.”
Her challenger is Delegate Antonio Hayes, 40, who is also attentive to MRIA. Hayes grew up in Penn North and went to the State Assembly in 2015 after a series of positions in City government, including legislative director for the City Council president and assistant deputy mayor overseeing public safety agencies. He currently works for the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. He is campaigning on “a history of delivering results for Baltimore.”
No Republican is running in District 40.

District 44 races

District 44 Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, 78, has served in the Senate since 2015 and for 10 years before that in the House of Delegates. She is a nurse and calls herself “the nurse for your political health.” She has served in a wide range of political and health–related jobs, including as a faculty associate of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. Born in Jamaica, she owns an adult medical daycare facility and heads a company that provides in-home health care. A former City resident, she now lives in the Windsor Mill community in Baltimore County.
Her Democratic primary opponent is Aletheia McCaskill, 46, a leader in the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) who also owns her own business providing childcare services to residents of west Baltimore and west Baltimore County for 20 years. She calls herself an “independent voice for families,” and was inspired to run in part by what she saw as Nathan-Pulliam’s siding with Republicans to block the override of the governor’s veto of a bill guaranteeing paid sick leave to workers. (Nathan-Pulliam ultimately supported the override.) She also has lived in the City and now lives in the Gwynn Oak neighborhood of Baltimore County with her husband and two daughters.
The Republican candidate, unopposed in his primary, is Victor Clark, Jr. He previously has run for mayor of Baltimore and is founder of the Baltimore Black Republican Council. The district is heavily Democratic. So far there are no signs of a Clark campaign.

House of Delegates

The District 40 races for the House of Delegates seats are even more competitive than the race for the Senate, with 14 candidates running for 3 seats. Meanwhile, in District 44-A, incumbent Delegate Keith Haynes is running unopposed for the single Baltimore City seat in that legislative district, now that his announced opponent has withdrawn. More information on these races will be forthcoming in the Bulletin.

Early Voting Begins June 14

Early voting for the primary elections opens June 14 at 10 a.m. and closes June 21 at 8 p.m. at designated voting centers. Absentee voting can be done in person or by mail, but requires a ballot request. Primary elections will be held on June 26 and the general election is November 6. More election information, including information on how to register to vote, is available from the State Board of Elections.
Bolton Hill has a reputation for high voter turnout. This is an important election year, so please help keep up that tradition.
Before voting, educate yourself on the candidates’ views on the issues by attending the No Boundaries Coalition’s Meet and Greet on April 5.