Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is still asking Prince George’s County Democrats to withdraw their pick to replace former state lawmaker Tiffany Alston.
The county’s Democratic Central Committee this month tapped local businessman Gregory A. Hall to fill Alston’s seat after she was removed from office in connection with a theft case. But Hall’s nomination, which must be approved by the governor, has run into trouble because of concerns about his past.
“There are plenty of other people that he would be happy to appoint,” O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said Wednesday. “That’s his preference.”
Two decades ago, Hall was a drug dealer who took part in a shootout that killed a teen in Capitol Heights. Police determined that Hall did not fire the fatal shot and he was convicted of a misdemeanor gun charge.
Last week, O’Malley (D) asked county Democrats to withdraw Hall’s name until the state’s attorney general reviewed whether Alston could be reinstated after her sentence was modified to probation before judgment. At the time, an O’Malley spokesman said the request was not a reflection on Hall.
But the attorney general’s opinion — which said Alston could not be reinstated — was released Tuesday, just hours before the committee was to vote on Hall’s status. With the opinion in hand, the committee decided not to revoke Hall’s nomination.
State law gives O’Malley until Monday to act on the recommendation, and says that the governor “shall appoint” the person named by the local committee. In the meantime, Hall says he is seeking judicial intervention to try to block the committee from pulling his name.
“There shouldn’t be any further request to withdraw Greg’s name from consideration,” Hall’s attorney Walter Green said Wednesday. “I don’t know what the reason for the delay is.”
O’Malley’s spokeswoman would not elaborate on why the governor is asking for an alternate candidate.
Hall, who came within 310 votes of winning the 24th District seat in 2010, says he has been open about his past. But some opponents say they are concerned about its effect on the county’s image.
When asked whether the governor would act by Monday, Guillory said, “Everything is unsure until all of these legal issues are resolved.”