It would appear that the race is on to replace outgoing Maryland State Sen. Ulysses Currie. Currie announced on Nov. 4 that he is leaving the Maryland General Assembly, as a senator, effective immediately.
Ulysses Currie is stepping down from the Maryland Senate. (Courtesy photo)
“I cannot express to you what a privilege and an honor it has been to serve my constituents of Prince George’s County and the great state of Maryland with integrity for so many years,” Currie said in a letter to Maryland Senate President Thomas “Mike” Miller that was picked up by the Washington Post. “It is my deep love for my constituents and the Maryland Senate, combined with the recognition that I can no longer serve with the strength and energy you all deserve, that I have decided the time has come to turn the mantle over to a successor.”
Currie has represented the District Heights-based District 25 as a Democrat since 1986, first as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and in 1995, a senator. Currie, who leaving as the chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, made his mark in Annapolis as a legislator who fought against payday loans and supported Black colleges and universities, and minority businesses.
The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee is charged by law to select Currie’s successor. After the selection, the name will be submitted to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who will, by tradition, appoint the committee’s choice to the Senate. Currie’s seat is up for election in 2018.
There are a number of names floating around to succeed him, such as former Delegate Melony Griffith; Delegates Darryl Barnes and Angela Angel; Currie’s wife, the Rev. Shirley Gravely-Currie; and a darkhorse candidate, Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles (D-District 7).
“I am going to seek the seat,” Barnes said. “The timing is right for and I have been preparing for this opportunity.” He has served as a delegate since 2015 and is a tech entrepreneur. Barnes is best known as the force behind Men Aiming Higher, a nonprofit designed to help Black boys and young men.
Griffith gave up her delegate seat to challenge Currie in 2014 but lost to him in the Democratic Party primary, 59 to 38 percent. Griffith reportedly is interested in serving in the General Assembly’s upper chamber and she has the support of a key former constituent. “Melony is still interested in the seat,” Belinda Queen-Howard, a District 25 member of the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee, told the AFRO. “I am glad that Currie retired. He should have been retired because he has done nothing in the last two years.”
But, Queen-Howard said that some power brokers in Prince George’s County have already decided who they want to replace Currie. “I have heard that Currie himself and even Mike Miller would like Rev. Currie to replace him,” she said. “She met with members of the central committee on Thursday and indicated that she would be interested in filling her husband’s position. Of course, the members of the committee will listen to other aspirants. Frankly, I think this is a slap in the face to Melony.”
Queen-Howard said she isn’t interested in the position because she wants to run for the Prince George’s County Council’s District 7 position in 2018. Former Del. Aisha Braveboy, who ran for Maryland Attorney General in 2014 and served in the General Assembly’s lower chamber from 2007-2015, told the AFRO she’s not interested in Currie’s seat. “I have never been interested in being a senator,” Braveboy said. “There are other candidates who can step up to the plate and serve our district.”
Braveboy recently told the AFRO that she will run for State’s Attorney in 2018.