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Republican enters race for Baltimore County State’s Attorney

James Haynes
James Haynes, Republican candidate for Baltimore County State's Attorney. Credit: James Haynes

Baltimore County’s four-term State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger usually runs for reelection uncontested every four years.

Now the Democratic incumbent will have a Republican challenger, and that’s only if he can win the contested Democratic primary.

No Republican has challenged Shellenberger in the general election since 2010. Some county GOP officials have openly supported him.

Enter Republican James Haynes, who filed this week to run for Baltimore County State’s Attorney.

“The people of Baltimore County really, honestly, do deserve choice,” Haynes said.

Haynes is 72 and retired from a career in the law. His experience includes being an appellate administrative judge in the U.S. Department of Labor, a Maryland Assistant Attorney General and a public defender.

“I have had a variety of legal experience and I think that’s a good thing,” Haynes said.

If elected, Haynes said he will enforce all of the county’s laws.

“Criminals are going to come away with a notion that Baltimore County is not a good place to commit crime.”

For Shellenberger to go up against Haynes, he first must win July’s Democratic primary against attorney Robbie Leonard, who is running an aggressive campaign. Shellenberger hasn’t been challenged in the Democratic primary since he was first elected in 2006.

County Republicans have privately fretted about the possibility of Leonard, a progressive, defeating Shellenberger in the primary and then having no opposition in the general election.

Haynes said friends in the Republican party encouraged him to run. But he adds, “My concerns are genuine and they are my own. I’ve seen some things happening over the years that I have not been happy with.”

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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