Former Del. Michael U. Gisriel will attempt to rejoin the House of Delegates 24 years after losing his bid for re-election, setting his sights on a seat in the 12th District of Howard and Baltimore counties.
Gisriel, a Democrat, served a single term representing a Towson-area district from 1987 to 1991. He lost his bid for re-election in 1990, finishing fourth in a race for three seats. He now lives in Catonsville.
The former lawmaker comes to the wide-open race for one of three seats in the 12th with a significant handicap: In 2009, he was disbarred by the Court of Appeals after the judges found he had improperly cashed a $1,000 check intended for a former client. Gisriel claimed the action was inadvertent, but the court disagreed. He has not been reinstated.
"I made a mistake," Gisriel said Wednesday after announcing his candidacy. He noted that he was disbarred on a 5-2 decision. It was, he said, "the most traumatic thing to happen to me."
Since then, Gisriel has been active as a lobbyist in Annapolis. Before he lost his law license he wrote a regular column in The Sun in which he answered readers' questions about real estate topics.
Gisriel's announcement of his candidacy Wednesday comes a day after Renee McGuirk-Spence, a longtime Maryland State Department of Education official and daughter of the late Sen. Harry J. McGuirk, filed for the Democratic primary next June.
The 12th District race is shaping up as one of the most competitive in the state, with more than half a dozen Democrats having signed up to seek the seats being vacated by Democratic Dels. Liz Bobo or Howard and James E. Malone Jr. and Steve DeBoy of Baltimore County. The newly redrawn district includes more of Howard, giving candidates from that county a possible advantage.
Other Democratic candidates who have filed to run in the 12th are Brian S. Bailey, Rebecca P. Dongarra, Eric Ebersole, Terri Hill and Clarence K. Lam. Nick Stewart, a former aide to Gov. Martin O'Malley, is among the others who may enter the race.