Community activist group announces endorsements for Democratic primary

The political arm of a community activist group that helped reorganize Baltimore's City Council last year announced yesterday its endorsements for the Sept. 9 Democratic primary, the first election under the elective body's new configuration.

The political action committee of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had backed the November referendum that altered the council's makeup to, among other aims, oust incumbents and open the political process to less-established candidates.


Yesterday, the group's leadership unveiled a list of endorsements that contained three incumbent council members, including Catherine E. Pugh for council president.

"We are doing all we can to ensure their victory," said Sonja Merchant-Jones, treasurer of Maryland ACORN PAC.


In November, ACORN was joined by five other groups, collectively known as Community and Labor United for Baltimore, in persuading voters to approve Question P, which shrunk the council from 19 to 15 members by replacing the elective body's six three-member districts with 14 single-member districts. The president is elected citywide.

The primary results, experts said, will show whether the group can follow through with Question P's threat to incumbents.

The group has been interviewing candidates since July 16 and completed most of its endorsement votes over the weekend. It has not decided whom to endorse for mayor.

Pugh won the group's support after a three-hour meeting on Saturday. President Sheila Dixon never met with ACORN PAC.

Cheryl Benton, Dixon's campaign consultant, said the president received an invitation the same day the group wanted to meet. Dixon had a conflict, Benton said, and asked to reschedule. She said the group never replied.

The organization endorsed two other incumbents: Kenneth N. Harris Sr. in North Baltimore's 4th District and Pamela V. Carter in East Baltimore's 12th District.

The group also endorsed the following candidates: James B. Kraft, 1st District; Cheryl D. Glenn, 2nd District; James Butler, 3rd District; Leonard J. Kerpelman, 5th District; Charise Williams, 6th District; Shawn Z. Tarrant, 7th District; No endorsement in the 8th District for the primary; Wendy Foy, 9th District; Charlie Metz, 10th District; Michael Seipp, 11th District; Kevin Parson, 13th District; and Mary Pat Clarke, 14th District.