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State's attorney candidate asks court to disqualify rival over residency requirement

Local attorney Charles “Chad” Curlett has asked the courts disqualify rival candidate Ivan Bates from the Democratic primary for Baltimore state’s attorney, arguing Bates doesn’t meet the residency requirement.

Curlett sued Monday in Baltimore Circuit Court for Bates to be declared ineligible to appear on next year’s election ballot. A defense attorney for 22 years in Baltimore, Bates owns homes in Locust Point, Reservoir Hill and Howard County, he said.

Maryland law requires state’s attorneys live at least two years in a jurisdiction before taking office there.

“It’s obviously a meritless lawsuit,” Bates said. “Baltimore is my home.”

Curlett wrote in the lawsuit that the Howard County home was Bates’ primary residence until at least early 2017.

“Further, that address may continue to be his residence in fact,” Curlett wrote.

Bates bought the house in the Laurel community five years ago and he continues to own the home, according to state property records. Bates said his parents live there today. The property records, as of Wednesday, state the Laurel home is not Bates’ primary residence.

In January 2016, according to property records, he bought the home in the Locust Point neighborhood of South Baltimore. That house, Bates said, has been his primary residence since he bought it.

A state’s attorney candidate must live in Baltimore at least since June 2016 to qualify for the primary election.

“If the courts resolve it in his favor,” Curlett said by phone, “then he has every right to run in the election.”

Bates said he previously lived 15 years in Reservoir Hill, from 1997 to 2012, and he rents out that home today.

“Everything I’ve done has always been in Baltimore City,” he said. “This is nothing more than a political attack.”

City elections officials did not respond to a message Wednesday.

Thiru Vignarajah, a former federal and state prosecutor, also is running in the Democratic primary. Incumbent State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has refused to address whether she plans to run for re-election.

Neither Vignarajah nor Mosby are mentioned in the lawsuit.

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