PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY

Temporary Prince George's Council Appointment Complicates Race

Despite an opportunity for a temporary appointment, some District 6 candidates said they would rather run their race

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In the midst of a competitive race for a Prince George's County Council seat, the council member in that spot stepped down and cleared the way for a temporary appointment. But some candidates say they would rather run their race than be appointed to the seat.

Derrick L. Davis stepped down from the District 6 seat just months before the primary. Now, the Council is preparing to appoint his interim successor.

The Council will publicly interview candidates who have submitted their names for the seat on Tuesday.

Nine people, including two candidates who have been vying for the spot, have applied to be appointed to the District 6 seat. According to a Council spokesperson, each applicant will have 5 minutes to make their case for consideration. The public can watch the process but can not participate. 

There are five candidates who have been running for the seat since last year. If one is appointed, that person will be an incumbent in the race.

Two candidates said they don't want to tip the scale. Barbara Holt Streeter was first to release a statement saying she would not submit her name.

"I was receiving a lot of emails, calls from the community stating that they really wanted the candidates to finish the process and that's what I wanted to do," said Holt Streeter, a District 6 candidate.

Candidate Wala Blegay also released a statement saying a non-candidate should be appointed.

"The appointment of a candidate three months before the election really tips the scale to one person and would have an undo influence," Blegay said.

Both women said they heard from residents who felt an appointment would be cheating the process. Three council members have released statements saying they will not vote to appoint an active candidate.

"I don't want to do anything that's going to make it look like we are trying to tip the scale one way or the other," District 5 Council Member Jolene Ivey said.

Council Member Mel Franklin disagrees and said he would consider appointing a candidate.

"I think the residents of District 6 are highly educated, very well informed," Franklin said. "I don't believe they are going to make a different decision because someone got appointed a few months before the election."

Davis wrapped up an embattled term as many residents complained about decisions and votes he made in office. Some political insiders speculate that he stepped down with hopes of his preferred candidate being appointed.

"I've heard the chatter myself that this was orchestrated and I will tell you this, I don't know, but at this point I think any efforts to put a candidate in the office really would backfire for the candidate," Blegay said.

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