Murphy going solo in 6th District


Councilman Timothy D. Murphy is not running on the sam ticket with the two other incumbents in the 6th District race.

Murphy, who got more votes than any of the candidates in the past two 6th District races, is campaigning alone and won't say why he turned down an offer to run with Councilmen Joseph J. DiBlasi and Edward L. Reisinger.

Meanwhile, DiBlasi and Reisinger have formed their own ticket and say they don't miss Murphy.

"We're not telling people not to vote for Murphy or anything. We're just not mentioning his name when we campaign," says DiBlasi. "And so far, few people are asking where he is."

Murphy and DiBlasi have never been close allies, but in 1983 and 1987 they ran on tickets with the late William J. Myers. In February 1990, Reisinger was named to fill Myers' seat after Myers died. Reisinger is seeking election for the first time.

The incumbents are white but are running in a newly apportioned district that now has a majority black population.

DiBlasi and Reisinger say they expect to boost their re-election chances by forming a ticket with a black candidate later in the campaign. Murphy, who has a reputation for being tight-lipped, says he hasn't ruled out the possibility of running with a black candidate, but he has no immediate plans to do so.

A black candidate has never been elected in the 6th District, which now has a 58 percent black population. The 6th District was about 48 percent black until the City Council adopted a redistricting plan in March that put black majorities there and in the 3rd District.

Meanwhile, two of the better known black candidates in the 6th, Rodney Orange and Melvin Stukes, say they're not interested in running with any of the incumbents. At least six black candidates are expected to run in the 6th.

"Black voters can't afford to waste their votes on the incumbents they want a black elected to represent them," says Orange, a steel worker and organizer for the National Association of Colored People.

Orange also says he thinks the talk of a split between the incumbents is a political trick and predicted that the incumbents would wind up on the same ticket by Election Day.

Councilman Carl Stokes, D-2nd, architect of the redistricting plan, says it would not be in the best interest of a black candidate to run with the incumbents.

"Blacks are much more willing to vote for whites than vice-versa," says Stokes. "A black candidate on the incumbents' ticket will draw votes for the incumbents from the black community, but the reverse won't be true in the white community. That scenario would only benefit the incumbents."

Stukes, who finished fourth in the 1987 6th District council race, agreed with Stokes' assessment, adding that he is too involved in his own campaign to worry about the incumbents.

As a result of redistricting, the 6th has lost two key political strongholds for the incumbents, Locust Point and the South Baltimore peninsula, which are virtually all white.

Traditionally, the 6th has the lowest voter turnout in the city, and its lowest turnout is in its black communities. The incumbents have won by making strong showings in the district's white neighborhoods and by picking up marginal support in black neighborhoods.

Murphy was asked to join the other incumbents' ticket before the adoption of the redistricting plan. At the time, Murphy was being considered for a city District Court judgeship. Murphy decided to seek re-election after he was rejected for the appointment. Meanwhile, another vacancy has opened up on the District Court bench and Murphy is still on the list of recommended applicants that has been sent to the governor.

"Murphy had his chance to join us, now Ed and I are running by ourselves," says DiBlasi, adding, "As far as we're concerned, Murphy is still a candidate for a judgeship."

Campaign launched:

Singers, rap performers and even a couple of politicians showed up in the searing heat of War Memorial Plaza last week to help Jacqueline F. McLean launch her campaign for comptroller.

The crowd of about 50 people huddled under the relative cool shade provided by the trees on the plaza's perimeter and ate popcorn and drank lemonade as the performers did their thing on the War Memorial's wooden stage.

After the songs, McLean, a 2nd District council member, gave a short speech. She then locked arms with her mother and lead a procession across Fayette Street to the Board of Elections office, where she plunked down $150 to become an official candidate for comptroller.

Why all the fuss before filing? "I just want people to know that I am going to be a visible and viable candidate," McLean said. "I want people to know I'm in the race."

McLean joins a Democratic primary field for comptroller that includes Register of Wills Mary W. Conaway and Councilman Joseph T. Landers 3rd, D-3rd.

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