Henson's candidacy ousts McFadden's candidate in round one of the 'Fight for the 45th'
In what could be a precursor of next year's pivotal fight for the 45thDistrict, famed political consultant Julius Henson handily defeated Ms. Margie Brinkley last night for President of the Eastside Neighborhood Community Association – which encompasses the most influential and largest voting precinct in the East Baltimore district.
Brinkley, who was formerly the Vice-President of the association and seeking to replace outgoing President Ms. J. Giles, was the handpicked successor of incumbent state senator Nathaniel McFadden – who has longed since called that community association home. Admitting to this Examiner last month - after I broke the news that Henson would be running for not only the community association presidency, but also McFadden's seat in 2014 - that he had personally funded a Christmas card send out by him endorsing Ms. Brinkley; the eighteen year incumbent [McFadden] felt reasonably assured of not only Ms. Brinkley's victory, but of his own re-election in next year's state elections.
However, last night proved crucial for Henson in his quest for the coveted state senate seat, as he secured an almost two-to-one vote count over Ms. Brinkley, and witnessed his entire ticket of favored candidates win down ballot races including Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and Sergeant-at-Arms. And while many may not see the big deal in Henson's victory, political insiders are beginning to hedge their bets now regarding whether or not McFadden, the powerful Senate Pro-Tem, can hold on to a seat he has held since the days of jheri curls and jean shorts.
In fact, when Senator McFadden first won the office, Baltimore's Mayor was Kurt Schmoke, the GOP had just retaken Congress with Newt Gingrich's 'Contract with America' and Coolio topped the charts with 'Gangsta's Paradise'.
And the senator hasn't had a serious challenge since. In fact, he seems to only get stronger with time? When he won the seat in 1994, the former Morgan State College grad and Dunbar High teacher beat the current 12th district councilman Carl Stokes by over 2,000 votes. In 1998, none of the three primary challengers received over 500 votes, while the first term incumbent received close to 6,000 votes.
He defeated his opponents by 7,000 in 2002 and 9,600 votes in 2006 respectively, and ran unopposed in the 2010 state elections. Having what some describe as a 'well oiled machine' over in East Baltimore, McFadden continues to head one of the last remaining old school political clubs left in Baltimore, the Eastside Democratic Organization – or EDO.
Yet all that doesn't seem to faze Henson, who still can recall the 2002 state elections when Senator McFadden and crew unsuccessfully tried to 'throw mama from the train'; deciding to cut former Delegate Hattie Harrison from their ticket – though she still won on her own. Now Henson believes that with the political repertoire he has built over the years, getting no-name candidates like Congressman Elijah Cummings and City Comptroller Joan Pratt elected to high seats, including hundreds of other candidates around this state and country; that he can knock off the 'King of East Baltimore'.
And last night was the first move to making that belief a reality?
The Eastside Neighborhood Community Association encompasses the very active community of Berea, and is home to the largest voting precinct in the 45th district, 08-010 – Ft. Worthington Elementary. And if Henson can withstand the attacks of McFadden and his crew in such an affluent community dominated by elders, it could certainly spell trouble for the senator around the rest of the district – who are less politically active and savvy, and considerably younger in certain areas.
That only plays to Henson's strengths, as he will almost assuredly have a young and technology savvy campaign team that will target those voters, while Henson and his old school politicos concentrate on the senior voters that Henson's recent victory proved he could win. Couple that with the chaos that the district just witnessed in appointing a replacement to fill the vacancy left by Delegate Harrison, and any political observer would tell you that this district is ripe for the taking in 2014.
Eastside Neighborhood Community Association - Incoming officers:
President – Julius Henson
Vice-President – Deita Redmond
Treasurer – Debbie Pierce
Corresponding Secretary – Christine Butler
Financial Secretary – Richard McCoy
Business Manager – Troy Williams
Sergeant at Arms – Derrin Myers
Chaplain – Reverend James Bull
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