By Deborah Bailey, Special to the AFRO
Del. Cory McCray rode an aggressive, some would say insurgent, campaign to a decisive victory over Sen. Nathaniel McFadden, the venerable East Baltimore politician who has represented the 45th District since 1995. With nearly all (55 of 58 at press time) precincts reporting, McCray defeated McFadden 58.5% to 41.5%
“I think the people have spoken. I think that it is time,” McCray told the AFRO. “I’m always going to try my best to embrace those in our community that have done things in our past. There are so many people that have made great contributions in East and Northeast Baltimore and we’ll build on the foundation of their contributions,” McCray added, seemingly alluding to McFadden’s legacy in East Baltimore.
Del. Cory McCray (left), victorious over Sen. Nathaniel McFadden by a wide margin on June 26, greets Baltimore City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett during McCray’s victory party. (Photo by Deborah Bailey)
A majority of 45th district voters, like Ernest Smith, McElderry Community Association, were willing to take a chance and trade McFadden’s more than two decades of experience in the Maryland State Senate for McCray’s vigor and connection with a new generation in Northeast Baltimore.
“Sometimes you have to give up something. Even if we would have kept “Mac” (McFadden) in there, there would have been some changes. Change is good. Now how will it all shake out? We will see over time,” Smith said.
McCray, a member of local No. 24, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, benefited from the support of local and national labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Baltimore Fire Officers Association. Those groups and others contributed an army of supporters, and ample war chests, to take on McFadden, who was endorsed by veteran lawmakers such as U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young.
However, in the 45th district, as well as in many other primary elections across the state and nation, years of political experience and connections among the elected class may not have resonated with some voters looking to a new generation of leadership.
“I was looking for someone who was sincerely interested in working with the community, who understood grass roots and who was involved in his community on a daily basis,” said Monica Brunson, who has lived in the 45th district for the past 20 years.
There were no Republican candidates in the 45th District Senate race, so the primary winner automatically takes office in January 2019.