Baltimore Press

Only Stokes Will Bring Unity To City, Says Sen. Blount

State Sen. Clarence W. Blount (41st District), the Senate Majority Leader, endorsed Mayoral candidate Carl Stokes yesterday morning.

In front of a backdrop of Stokes’ supporters and politi­cians, Blount stood outside City Hall, waved his one-page prepared speech at the journal­ists and explained why he wouldn’t give it. “It wouldn’t give the flavor I want to give to you,” he said.

Instead, in an impromptu oration on the state of the city, the Pikesville resident said that the city is “poised to go for­ward or poised to go back­ward.” The Mayor’s race is “the most important election in my lifetime.”

Referring to the roster of candidates, he said,“We have what we have, and let’s deal with that. Of those who are run­ning, Carl Stokes is the only one who can bring unity.”

His prepared speech was less blunt. “Of the candidates in the field,” it began, “Carl Stokes is the only one around whom will bring union and unity to the city and our metro­politan region.” Blount finished by saying that Stokes “is the card I’m playing.”

Two other State Senators, who had previously endorsed the candidate, also spoke.
Sen. Delores G. Kelley (10th District) addressed the issue of his incomplete education. Until last month, Stokes’ campaign literature claimed that he had graduated from Loyola College. In fact, Stokes attend­ed the college but did not grad­uate. A schoolteacher, Kelley acknowledged that she taught her students not to plagiarize or to lie. In defending Stokes, Kelley used an oft-quoted bib­lical phrase: “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”

“He told one white lie,” she continued, “and will not tell another one. He tells the truth.” She also alleged that Stokes lost recent union endorsements, which went to Martin O’Malley and Lawrence Bell, because he refused to sugarcoat his words when conferring with union leaders.

Nathaniel ■ McFadden (45th District) laughed and said that Stokes was “one of the best Catholic boys, and I’m a Baptist.”

McFadden complained that “a major newspaper is trying to make this [mayoral election] about race.” He said that African Americans have held the office of mayor for only thirteen years, even though the group has been a politically sig­nificant population in the city for 189 years. “Someone else held that office for that time,” he said. “This is not about race, this is about equity.”

After the press conference, McFadden defended his statement. “I am not playing the race card, it’s simply an observa­tion,” he said. McFadden pointed once again to the “major newspaper,” and complained that “they have injected race into it.”

When his time to speak came, Stokes deflected the recent reports that his campaign manager Cheryl Benton had quit. Benton, who had previously worked on Anthony Williams’ successful campaign for mayor of Washington, D.C., was standing to the right of the candidate. Benton “still is a part” of his cam­paign.

Before the press conference, Benton could be found sitting on a short wall. Afterward, she gave a number of interviews. Meanwhile, Stokes’ press secretary, Kelley Ray, was working the telephone, taking photographs, organizing, and touch­ing base with the gathered reporters.

Although the overwhelming majority of the thirty Stokes’ support­ers who attended the press confer­ence, including fourteen politicians, were African American, a recent poll by Gonzales/Ascott Research & Communications, of Annapolis, showed that Stokes is supported by the city’s voters across racial lines.

The poll shows that the other two frontrunners, O’Malley and Bell, are overwhelmingly buoyed by racial identification. Bell is listed as having 41% of the black votes, whereas O’Malley has 51% of the white vote. In their analysis, the pollsters contend that “race—-not crime or drugs or education—has become the Number One issue.”
Stokes, on the other hand, has 18% of the black vote, and 23% of the white.

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