Eastern Shore's Cane drops bid for re-election

Del. Rudolph C. Cane, the first and so far only African-American to represent an Eastern Shore district in the General Assembly, has dropped his bid for re-election.

Cane, 79, withdrew his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in his district Wednesday, leaving Wicomico County Councilwoman Sheree Sample-Hughes as the only candidate of either party.

The four-term Democrat was first elected to the House in 1998 -- ending a long struggle for an African-American seat on the Shore.

Cane's sprawling District 37A was carved out after the 1990 Census with the intent of creating a majority-minority district on the Shore, where African-American had long felt they had been denied representation. The district stretches from Salisbury to Cambridge, taking in the African-American majority communities in both cities.

The hopes of African-Americans on the Shore were deferred in 1994, when Cane narrowly lost to a white Republican, Don B. Hughes, in a three-way race that split the black vote. Hughes did not run in 1998, and Cane won easily.

Cane, who had been expected to retire, filed for re-election last August. He dropped out one day before the deadline for getting his name off the ballot.

Before dropping out, Cane transferred $6,000 of the remaining $6,200 in his campaign fund to Sample-Hughes, who is also African-American, according to his January campaign finance report.

Cane's office said he was not available to comment Friday.

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