Pr. George’s Democrats recommend three candidates to replace Alston

The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee late Tuesday formally withdrew its recommendation of Capitol Heights businessman Gregory A. Hall for the Maryland House of Delegates, and is forwarding three other names to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

The recommendations for Hall’s replacement from the 24-member committee may well be ignored by O’Malley, who the state courts have said is entitled to make the final selection and could choose someone else.

As controversy has swirled over Hall, publicly the governor remained mum, but privately he had pressed the panel to withdraw Hall’s name. Hall, 42, took part in a gun battle two decades ago that led to the death of seventh grade honors student whose family was leaving church. Hall served 40 days in jail, but was later determined not to have fired the fatal bullet. He and his backers say he has turned his life around and could be a role model for others.

O’Malley’s spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said the governor “will take into consideration” the panel’s recommendations. They are: Vicky L. Orem, an orphans’ court judge; Clayton Aarons, an attorney; and Phillip Raines, a defense contractor.

Whomever is selected will serve until the 2014 elections, and would be one of three delegates in the 24th District, which includes Capitol Heights, District Heights, Fairmount Heights and Seat Pleasant among other communities. Delegates are paid $43,500 for the part-time job.

Tuesday’s action by the committee caps weeks of wrangling over the seat, which in early January was declared vacant by the state’s highest court. Del. Tiffany Alston, a first-term who had held the seat, was removed from office in October after she was sentenced on a misconduct charge for stealing $800 from the General Assembly to pay an employee of her law firm.

Her conviction technically vanished a month later when she paid a fine, completed community service and received what is known as probation before judgment.

Miranda Spivack writes about government and politics in the suburbs, based in the Post’s bureau in Largo in Prince George’s County.
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