Nick Mosby is the newly appointed delegate representing Baltimore's 40th district. (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun video)
Nick J. Mosby was restless — leg bouncing, hands fidgeting — as he watched a group of Democratic insiders resurrect his political career.
He'd given up a seat on the Baltimore City Council to run for mayor last year, a losing gamble. Now he was in a South Baltimore union hall for a vote that would send him to Annapolis this week as the city's newest state delegate.
"Resiliency is in my blood," Mosby said. "This year has definitely come with its curveballs ... But I have learned a tremendous amount about myself as a public servant, as a father, as a community leader, as a husband.
"I am better than I was a year ago."
Back then, his political rise and that of his wife, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, seemed meteoric. But their careers hit turbulence and the couple retreated from the public eye.
Mosby, 37, started his new job in the Maryland House of Delegates this week after he was chosen to fill a vacancy triggered by former legislator Catherine Pugh's election as mayor. The new representative of the city's 40th District said he wants to go after manufacturers of toxic lead paint, boost property values and school performance in West Baltimore and make all city streets safer.
He took his seat on the House floor Tuesday morning, admiring the Italian marble pillars and enormous Tiffany skylight. He snapped a photo of the electronic voting board, lit up for the quorum call. "Back in action," he reported to his nearly 14,000 Twitter followers.
Mosby cast his first vote, joining 88 of the House's 141 members in an effort to overturn Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill to require more renewable energy usage in Maryland. The bill's fate now rests with the Senate.
Political observers say the one-term councilman may have sought too much too soon in running for the city's top elected office, but his appointment to the House comes with opportunity.
"This is a way for him to rebuild his political future from scratch," veteran political analyst Charles Ellison said. "He is still a young, dynamic, fresh face on the political scene. This allows Mosby to define himself once again as a rising star in the Democratic Party."
Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said Mosby must find ways to stand out in the legislature. "Starting from the bottom," she said, the new delegate will have to carve out a focus area for himself, such as community and police relations or housing safety. He has been assigned to the Ways and Means Committee.
His reputation will inevitably be intertwined with his wife's, Kromer said. The Mosbys, who live in Reservoir Hill with their two young daughters, will both appear on next year's ballot if they seek to retain their current positions.
The couple, who met at Tuskegee University 18 years ago, staged political upsets to win elected office the first time.
Nick Mosby ousted a two-term councilwoman in his election to the council in 2011.
Marilyn Mosby beat the city's incumbent prosecutor in 2014. She drew national attention after she charged the police officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray, whose death in custody sparked rioting and looting in the city.
Fundraisers billed them as a "power couple." They made headlines for receiving Prince's attention during a performance in the city and were guest ringmasters at the UniverSoul Circus.
Nick Mosby continued to hone his political identity during the campaign for mayor. He developed a robust platform, and his delivery became more polished with coaching from a team of well-connected Democratic operatives.
Still, he slipped further and further in the polls behind Pugh, the eventual Democratic nominee and the city's 50th mayor. In April, he quit the race and backed Pugh.
Mosby quietly finished out his council term while Marilyn Mosby's reputation suffered as she failed to convict any of the officers charged in Gray's death.
Nick Mosby applied to the Democratic Central Committee in December to replace Pugh in the Senate, but Del. Barbara A. Robinson was selected.
When he applied in January to replace Robinson in the House, Marilyn Mosby said her husband didn't tell her. The night of the vote her phone started buzzing with the news, she said, and congratulatory messages from friends.
She tweeted "Best Day Ever!" to her 40,000 followers and tagged her husband.
"My husband is extremely impassioned about the city of Baltimore," Marilyn Mosby said in an interview. "That is one of the things that drew me to him. He will always do what's in the best interest of the city."
She acknowledged that some think it's a drawback that they both hold public office. "I perceive it as a strength," she said.
Is it a problem that they both could be on the ballot in 2018? "Our records speak for themselves," she said. "I don't think people will look at us as if it's a bad thing, two people who have dedicated their life to public service. I think people will respect it.
"It is definitely a sacrifice to have two public servants in the same household."
Lindsey Meeks, a political communications researcher at the University of Oklahoma, said a negative aspect of the shared public service is the way one's political baggage could transfer to the other. If a voter opposed Marilyn Mosby's handling of the Gray cases, it could cost Nick Mosby.
On the pro side, she said the Mosbys can serve as surrogates for one another when interacting with the public. Nick Mosby, for example, could use his wife's experience in criminal justice to gain credibility in that area.
Nick Mosby said he does not think his service in the House poses a conflict with his wife's role.
"It's a completely separate legislative branch," he said. "It does have implications on some of the policies which she'll be governed by, but I am one vote out of many. There are no conflicts of interest. Our only interest is in the betterment of Baltimore city."
Maryland legislators earn a $48,622 salary this year for their work, which is considered part time. Mosby, an engineer who is working to establish a consulting business, said he plans to pursue legislation that would empower the community. He's focusing on issues similar to those he sought to address as a councilman: education, lead paint poisoning, public safety and economic development.
On the floor Tuesday, Del. Cory McCray, a fellow Baltimore Democrat, slid Mosby a manila folder with legislation aimed at fighting discrimination in schools. He asked him to consider co-sponsoring the bill.
McCray advised the newcomer to keep his head low and work hard.