House Speaker Race Narrows With Push for First African-American Speaker | WYPR

House Speaker Race Narrows With Push for First African-American Speaker

Apr 26, 2019

Maryland House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (left) and Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones (right) announce their efforts to make Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck Davis (center) Maryland's first African American speaker.
Credit Rachel Baye

The race for speaker of the House of Delegates has narrowed. Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones announced at a press conference Friday that she is dropping out of the running and backing Economic Matters Committee Chairman Dereck Davis in an effort to elect Maryland’s first African American speaker. Both Davis and Jones are African American.

When Davis joined the House, the committee leaders were four white men, one white woman and one African American, Davis said at the press conference. Now House committees are led by more women and minorities, but still only one African American.

“It’s not good enough for us to hold the number two and number three positions,” he said. “At some point, the party has to support us, they have to support our community, and know that we can be leaders as well.”

Davis’s remaining opponent in the race is Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Maggie McIntosh, who says she has the support of the majority of House Democrats.

But the vote this Wednesday could end up decided by House Republicans, who plan to unite behind a single candidate to maximize their voting power. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Maya Rockeymoore Cummings said earlier this week that scenario would be “unacceptable.”