An Annapolis alderman whose candidacy was challenged on the grounds that he didn't live in his district and filed incomplete campaign finance reports was certified on Friday to run in this fall's elections.
The Annapolis Board of Supervisors of Elections voted 3-0 to certify the candidacy of Alderman Kenneth Kirby, a Democrat running for re-election. Board members said there was not sufficient proof that Kirby had done anything meriting a disqualification.
Board members did find that Kirby had mistakes on his 2011 and 2012 finance reports, including not listing the names and addresses of two donors who gave $20 and $30 on one report. But Kirby apparently was never notified of the deficiencies and given a chance to correct them, as required by law, according to Assistant City Attorney Gary Elson and Kirby's attorney, Eric Lipsetts.
Board members accepted that Kirby lives in his ward – a requirement to run for office – based partly on his change of address in May from an apartment to his current home on Crows Nest Court.
Lipsetts offered further proof of Kirby's residency, including a stack of his mail and pictures of Kirby unlocking and opening the door of the home. Kirby's residency has been an issue in the past, as he has moved and said he often stays with friends or relatives. In 2012, he was found living in his niece's public housing apartment, though he was not on the lease.
After the meeting, Kirby said he was vindicated and looking forward to moving on with his campaign. He said once he gets the official notice of the problems with his campaign reports, he'll correct them.
"I never tried to deceive anybody," he said.
Scott Bowling, an Annapolis resident who was involved with both challenges, said it's "abominable" that problematic campaign reports could sit for two years with no one notifiying the candidate of the issues.
Bowling said the members of the Board of Supervisors of Elections should resign. "This board failed," he said.
Kirby is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, which will be held on Sept. 17. No Republican has filed to run against him. He'll face independent candidate Steven Conn in the general election Nov. 5. Conn signed the petition challenging Kirby's residency.
Annapolis voters will vote for mayor, eight alderman and members of the Democratic and Republican central committees this fall.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun