Gov. Hogan appoints former Maryland delegate Jill Carter to ex-Sen. Nathaniel Oaks' seat

Erin Cox
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan appointed former Del. Jill Carter on Monday to the vacant Baltimore state Senate seat surrendered last month by the disgraced Nathaniel T. Oaks.

Carter, who is director of Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s civil rights office, will serve out the remaining seven months in the term. The Baltimore Democrat also is running to win the District 41 seat on a permanent basis.

Oaks resigned his post last month as part of a guilty plea in a federal corruption and bribery case. He is scheduled to be sentenced in July, but still may appear on the ballot for the June 26 Democratic primary election.

Oaks has supported a lawsuit to remove his name from the ballot, even giving up his voter registration in an effort to step aside. The state’s top court will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether to order state elections officials to strike his name.

In the meantime, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller’s chief of staff, Pat Murray, said his office will reach out to Carter on Tuesday to schedule the swearing-in ceremony.

Hogan selected Carter from the two candidates recommended earlier this month by the Democratic Central Committee of Baltimore’s 41st District after a split vote. Carter and Joyce J. Smith each received two votes, more than the other six candidates who applied for the temporary job.

In a statement accompanying the appointment, the Republican governor said Carter’s “dedication to Baltimore City and our state is admirable.”

Carter was a delegate for 14 years before she resigned to join Pugh’s administration in January 2017 in a role designed to enforce the city’s civil rights laws and oversee investigations of police brutality complaints.

While in the General Assembly, Carter supported police accountability and less punitive approaches to fighting crime.

Once sworn in, Carter will begin earning a salary as a state senator, which amounts to $50,330 for a full year. Carter said she intends to remain in her City Hall job, which pays about $100,000 a year.

“I’m honored and excited,” Carter said. “Although there is vast economic disparity throughout the district, I will work to bring our community together so that every resident has the opportunity to lead a meaningful life.”

Carter faces educator J.D. Merrill in the June 26 Democratic primary election. Merrill did not apply for the temporary post, saying he preferred that a “qualified, neutral party” be selected as a placeholder until the election. He told The Baltimore Sun in March: “I really think the choice between the candidates needs to be made at the ballot box.”

No Republicans filed to run in the reliably Democratic stronghold of West Baltimore, so the primary effectively elects the next senator.

Oaks had represented the district for a total of 29 years — first as a delegate from 1983-1989, and then during a second stint in the House of Delegates from 1995-2017. He was appointed to a vacant post in the Senate last year.

ecox@baltsun.com

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