Cory McCray, a first-term delegate from East Baltimore, will attempt to topple a pillar of city politics by challenging Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden in next year’s Democratic primary.
McCray, 34, will announce his candidacy Saturday outside Fairmount-Harford High School, where he graduated in 2001 after what he said was a less-than-stellar academic career. A union electrician who credits an apprenticeship program for diverting him from street life, McCray was elected to the House of Delegates from the 45th District in 2014.
McFadden, 71, has held elected office for 35 years. A former teacher and principal in Baltimore schools, he was elected to the City Council in 1982 and the Senate in 1994. He is the dean of the city’s Senate delegation and holds a seat on the powerful Budget & Taxation Committee. As Senate president pro tem, he presides when Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is absent or takes a break.
McCray will become the third Baltimore delegate to announce a challenge to a senator in the June 26 primary. Del. Antonio Hayes is attempting to unseat Sen. Barbara Robinson in the 40th District, while Del. Mary Washington is taking on Sen. Joan Carter Conway in the 43rd.
McFadden said he will point to his experience and the relationships he has built in Annapolis over more than two decades.
“If by some chance, this young man wins, he’ll be in the back row,” McFadden said. In the Maryland Senate, less senior members sit in the back and move forward the longer they stay.
McCray, however, said he plans to argue that McFadden’s seniority and membership on the budget committee haven’t translated into benefits for the 45th District — one of the more impoverished in the state. He pointed to the number of new schools the 45th is getting under the city’s $1 billion reconstruction plan.
“Other districts are getting twice as much if not more,” McCray said. He said he will also raise the issue of reducing reliance on cash bail. McFadden supported a bill this year favored by bail bondsmen. McCray opposed it.