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A non-grudge grudge match in the 13th

  Councilman Warren Branch barely held on to his seat representing the 13th district on the Baltimore City Council in 2011.  He won the Democratic primary that year by 43 votes. Shannon Sneed, who would later mount a write-in campaign in the general election, came that close to defeating the incumbent. And she’s back.

Tony Glover, who came in a distant third in the Democratic primary five years ago, is also running again, as is Ronald Owens-Bey, who ran as a Libertarian in 2011.

The Incumbent

Branch led the charge to get more information on what happened to Tyrone West, who died in police custody in July 2013.  Hearings he called for led to a close examination of the police Civilian Review Board and the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights which governs how cops accused of misconduct are disciplined.

“In Annapolis, they just recently passed some legislation in order to change some of the Civilian Review Board that’s – I think that was a plus from it,” he says.

If elected for a third term, Branch says he would like to help businesses and communities set goals toward helping to revitalize neighborhoods.

“Those organizations that come into their backyard would help give those community associations some kind of support structure,” Branch said.

Branch has been criticized for missing at least half of his committee votes and not being an effective advocate for his district.

But he says he’s basing his campaign on his record of helping people in the district.

“I’m not basing it on the political arena, I’m placing it on the services that we’ve provided for the people and hoping that they remember what I’ve done,” Branch says.

The challengers

Shannon Sneed is employing the same strategy she used five years ago.

“We are still out in the community; we are still knocking on doors,” she says.

But she insists that her campaign is not a personal one against Branch.

“I think the incumbent is a very nice guy but we need someone that’s going to work in our district.”

Sneed says the number one concern of residents in the district is jobs.

“[I’m told] Shannon, were in the same district as the number one employer; Hopkins.  We see these buildings going up; we would like to partake of these jobs,” she says,  adding that she also would work on bringing affordable housing to the district.

While Sneed says her campaign to unseat Branch is not personal, Glover is running his campaign against her, and it is personal.

Sneed led the fight to keep a mutual friend from opening a business across the street from her home.

Sneed said the business was a liquor store at a candidate forum last month.

“Our community did not want it,” she told the audience, “They tried to be slick; they tried to buy us in the community.”

But Glover contends it was “more like a restaurant.”  And he implied that Sneed was being used by whites against her community.

“What happens is that they’ll allow folks in the 46th [legislative district] and they allow Shannon to be the token for blacks to push the agenda because they are not going to do it,” he said.

He also has implied that Sneed has been “bought” based on her endorsements and donations.  She has been endorsed by several unions and advocacy groups.  And her more than $44,000 in donations have come from a wide range of sources, individuals and politicians like Congressman Elijah Cummings.

Glover has filed an affidavit with the City Board of Elections promising not to raise or spend more than $1,000.  He told the audience that he want to “be bought by the people.”

Sneed declined to comment on Glover’s comments at the forum.  She says she wants her work to speak for her.

Glover failed to respond to interview requests.

Shannon Sneed came close to defeating Warren Branch in the 2011 Democratic primary.  She would later mount a write-in campaign against him
P. Kenneth Burns /
Shannon Sneed came close to defeating Warren Branch in the 2011 Democratic primary. She would later mount a write-in campaign against him
Tony Glover (right) also ran in 2011.  He came in a distant third.
Tony Glover (right) also ran in 2011. He came in a distant third.

Copyright 2016 WYPR - 88.1 FM Baltimore

P. Kenneth Burns
Kenneth Burns is WYPR's Metro Reporter; covering issues that affect Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.