- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
After watching his preferred candidate finish fourth in the Democratic primary for Charles County commissioner in District 3, community activist Cornell Posey has decided to run as a write-in candidate in the Nov. 4 general election.
Posey, who campaigned heavily for Waldorf resident Robert Taylor prior to the June 24 primary, filed Aug. 6 as a Democrat in the District 3 race.
Posey’s filing came days before the district’s Republican nominee, Steve Mattingly, learned he had been disqualified from the race due to an elections board error that incorrectly listed his address in District 3 instead of District 1. The GOP has until 40 days prior to the general election to nominate a replacement.
A lifelong Nanjemoy resident until a couple of years ago when he moved to Waldorf, Posey, 42, made his name in the county advocating for the impoverished in his community.
A 1990 graduate of Henry E. Lackey High School, Posey worked as a union electrician from 1994 until 2006. During that time, he said he got to know wealthy residents in Washington, D.C., who in the 1990s began giving him old appliances to take to poor people in Nanjemoy.
That led to him working with LifeStyles of Maryland, a La Plata nonprofit that works with the poor. Working with the nonprofit got Posey involved in politics, he said,
One of the most consistent faces at local meetings and public hearings, Posey has emerged in recent years as a vocal proponent of affordable housing and economic development on the county’s western side and of the cross-county connector project.
“I think I go to more meetings than anybody in Charles County,” Posey said.
Posey said he decided to run a write-in campaign after speaking with supporters who were disappointed with both the turnout and results of the primary election.
The Democratic nominee in District 3, Waldorf resident Amanda Stewart, was displeased with having to contend with another Democrat, albeit one whose name won’t appear on the ballot when voters take to the polls.
“I’ve put in the time, and I have run a good, clean campaign,” Stewart said. “I’m not pleased, and I’m disappointed that if Cornell Posey wanted to run for county commissioner, he could have filed his papers last year like a lot of us did, and if he was so committed to District 3, he could have made the commitment last year like a lot of us did.”
Posey said he and his supporters fear that a board made up of the five Democratic commissioner nominees will result in another four years of contentious 3-2 votes.
“I think the people should have someone at the table because the Democrats the last four years have been so divided,” Posey said. “The thing with Cornell Posey is we can agree to disagree, but we can still work together.”
Posey blamed much of the division on Commissioner Ken Robinson (D). He said Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), the Democratic nominee for governor, called for Democrats to unite at a recent campaign event in Waldorf.
“He wanted the Democrats to unify, but I don’t see Ken Robinson supporting [Commissioner] Debra Davis,” Posey said.
Reached in Ocean City, where he is attending the annual Maryland Association of Counties convention, Robinson said he supports all of the county’s Democratic nominees.
“The Democratic Party in Charles County is quite unified,” he said. “I expect all Democratic candidates to win the general election in November, and I personally support every one of our standard bearers.”
Posey contributed to the county’s political divisiveness days before the primary, when he directed a racial slur toward a campaign volunteer who was critical of a June 19 rally outside the Charles County Board of Elections in La Plata.
Posey later apologized to the woman directly the night of the primary. He said he would refrain from such rhetoric out on the campaign trail.
“I will watch what I say, with the names. I was totally wrong,” he said.
Posey also said he has finished paying restitution in a case in which he was charged with depositing a fraudulent $38,448 bank check in 2009 and is awaiting word from the bank before the matter can be resolved. He is scheduled to appear again in court Nov. 5.
As for his platform, Posey said he believes the county needs to develop along its two main corridors — U.S. 301 and Route 210 — rather than primarily in Waldorf. He wants to see commercial development centered around the Maryland Airport in Pomonkey and said the Indian Head Science and Technology Park, which the county recently purchased back for $6.4 million, remains critical for economic development.
Posey also remains an ardent supporter of the cross-county connector, which has remained dormant for nearly three years since being denied federal and state permits. He said that 60 percent of the project already has been completed — in the form of an expansion to Billingsley Road — and other road projects in the county like St. Charles Parkway have been successful at reducing congestion on U.S. 301.
“Nobody wants new roads, but once they’re in, everybody uses them instead of 301,” he said.