After two setbacks in his challenges of Democratic incumbents in the Maryland General Assembly, Albert Nalley has decided to try his hand at unseating incumbent Democratic Councilman Tom Quirk to represent the 1st District of Baltimore County.
Nalley, a salesman and former business owner, is the first Republican candidate to join the race to represent the southwest portion of Baltimore County that includes Arbutus, Catonsville and Lansdowne.
The area has not been represented by a Republican on the County Council since Berchie Manley was elected to a four-year term in 1990.
This isn't the first time Nalley has run for public office. The 63-year-old self-described "people person" ran unsuccessful campaigns for state delegate in District 12A in 2006 and 2010.
An area native, he grew up in Lansdowne and lives in Catonsville with his wife of 25 years, Ginger Nalley.
The couple has three daughters; Lindsey, 16, Lesley, 19, and Ashley, 23, who have all attended Mount de Sales Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Catonsville. He has two children from a previous marriage, Penny Freer, 39, and Albert Nalley, Jr., 44.
He said the recent pay raise County Council members voted unanimously to give themselves was the latest in a series of moves by Quirk that left him feeling dissatisfied.
"Some of the practices of [Quirk] have made me think that perhaps he's not the right person to be servicing the community in that position," Nalley said.
The $8,500 pay raise to bring council members salary to $62,500 was unfair, Nalley said, considering it is a part-time job.
The council hasn't had a raise in eight years, and the amount was based on the recommendations of a five-member advisory panel that reviews elected officials' salaries.
Nalley said he also disagreed with legislation Quirk sponsored to add sexual orientation and gender identity to county discrimination laws.
The legislation was passed in response to an incident in 2011 in which a transgender woman was brutally beaten at a Rosedale McDonald's by two female teenagers, one of them 14, for using the women's bathroom.
"There was no need for Mr. Quirk's legislation," Nalley said.
The conservative Republican said that if elected, he'd promote local business by working to award government contracts to Baltimore County companies.
Nalley once owned a local metal distribution company ALN Metals, which he later sold to BMG Metals, a Richmond-based company. Nalley continues to work as a sales representative for the company's Baltimore-area facility in Elkridge..
He also has a second job as a car salesman at Russel Toyota, a Catonsville-area car dealership on Baltimore National Pike.
Nalley currently serves as president of the Patapsco Valley Republican Club, where he has worked with Gordon Bull. Bull is one of three Republicans running for state delegate in legislative District 12.
"He's fiscally a very common sense guy," Bull said. "In terms of policy, I think he'd be great for Baltimore County."
Nalley became politically active in his late 40s and was elected to the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee in 2002.
While reluctant to align himself with the tea party, he said he is a conservative Republican who supports less taxation and smaller government.
"There is too much government intrusion into our daily lives," Nalley said.
He said he would shun special interest groups and look out for the best interests of the county, if elected.
With knee surgery scheduled for March, he plans to wait until the spring to start campaigning.
"Maybe I'll go out door-to-door on crutches," he joked.
Nalley acknowledged the odds may be stacked against him in an area that favors Democratic candidates on the county, state and federal level.
But he remains optimistic his campaign will be a success.
He hopes the competitive spirit he's cultivated from years of playing sports will help.
"If you don't play the game you can't win," he said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun