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Carroll County Times
Carroll County News

Carroll County’s Republican state’s attorney race is anything but mundane

As the July 19 primary election nears, the race for a new Carroll County state’s attorney is heating up.

Two Republicans, David Ellin, a private medical practice attorney, and Haven Shoemaker, a two-term state delegate, are facing off for the office. Since there are no Democrats running the winner will be decided July 19.

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The Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office serves as the chief law enforcement agency in the county, prosecuting all criminal cases ranging from serious traffic violations to murder. According to the Maryland Attorney General’s website, a state’s attorney’s job includes prosecuting crimes and providing legal advice to state agencies.

Ever since Ellin, 48, and Shoemaker, 57, announced their candidacies, the two have publicly sparred on issues.

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Ellin said this week that when he announced his candidacy on June 25, 2021, within five minutes he received a phone call from Shoemaker’s former law partner advising Ellin not to run for state’s attorney.

Ellin said he was advised that Shoemaker is the “preordained candidate,” with endorsements from Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees and interim state’s attorney Alan Culver.

“I said ‘thanks for the phone call, but I am filing,’” Ellin said in an interview.

“If you don’t know me, I don’t take kindly to preordained candidates or veiled threats,” Ellin said. “I have always strived to do the right thing during my 25-year career, and it has served me well. That call only reinforced my desire to be the next state’s attorney.”

In an interview this week, Shoemaker said since he wasn’t “privy to the conversation,” he had no comment about it. But he then explained that it was more of a “courtesy,” phone call to Ellin, since a number of folks, including DeWees, have endorsed Shoemaker for the job.

“It’s much ado about nothing,” Shoemaker said.

At the end of last year, Ellin filed a complaint with the Maryland Ethics Commission against Shoemaker after the delegate introduced legislation that would prohibit the county state’s attorney from maintaining a private practice. In April, the Maryland General Assembly passed the bill.

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Ellin said the bill was an attempt by Shoemaker to discourage him from running. If elected Ellin said he plans to keep his 12-employee office open, but have no involvement in the firm.

“Twelve people work there, I do not want to put them out of a job,” he said. “I’ve hired two attorneys that will be there. I will have nothing to do with my practice.”

Ellin has run the private practice in Carroll County since 2004.

Asked whether he plans to take his name off the practice, Ellin said if elected he will confer with the Maryland State Bar Association.

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The two candidates agree on one thing — Gov. Larry Hogan’s recent decision to direct the Maryland State Police to suspend the state’s “good and substantial reason” standard for obtaining a permit to carry a concealed handgun was the right move.

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The Republican governor’s decision follows the Supreme Court’s 6-3 opinion last month that a New York law requiring applicants to demonstrate “proper cause” to successfully receive a concealed carry permit violated the Second and 14th amendments.

Shoemaker said he was “ecstatic” about the ruling.

Shoemaker represents District 5 in the General Assembly. Along with District 5 Republican senators Justin Ready and April Rose, Shoemaker sent a letter to Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh June 27 urging him to address the issue.

Maryland’s concealed carry law had required applicants to provide a legally established reason for their desire to carry a firearm outside of their home, and is similar to the one stricken in New York.

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Ellin said he also agreed with Hogan’s decision.

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“I have a concealed carry handgun permit and so does my wife,” Ellin said. “It was the right thing to do. The Second Amendment allows for the right to carry guns. You still have to go through the (permitting) process.

“If you go through the process and you’re not convicted of a crime, they have to give it to you,” Ellin said.

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