Thirty-five-year-old Cory McCray checked his list of registered Democratic voters before climbing each set of porch steps and knocking on each door in a Northeast Baltimore neighborhood on a recent afternoon.
“I’m Cory McCray, your state delegate,” he told a resident who answered her door. “I’m in a very contentious race, so when you go to the ballot in June, I’ll be trying to elevate from delegate to senator, and I’m just hoping and praying to get your consideration.”
McCray said it was his third time knocking on doors in the neighborhood, so he hoped most people there knew who he is.
He is wrapping up his first four-year term representing East Baltimore in Annapolis, and he’s challenging state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden in next month’s Democratic primary election.
McFadden, who turns 72 in August, is going on 24 years in the Senate. Unseating him will be tough. He won 80 percent of the vote in the 2014 primary and was unopposed four years before that.
But McCray is optimistic.
“When we talk about the 20,000 doors that we knocked, I think that people see that we have the energy. I think that when we talk about solving the problems at the doors, whether there is a stop sign that’s missing, whether it’s a BGE light that’s out, whether it’s grass that hasn’t been cut, they know that our office moves with a sense of urgency,” he said. “And I think that energy and urgency does matter.
McCray is one of three Baltimore delegates who have opted not to seek re-election to fairly safe House seats this year and instead are taking on sitting senators, two of whom have held been in the Senate for more than two decades.
The others are fellow first-term Del. Antonio Hayes, challenging Sen. Barbara Robinson in West Baltimore, and Del. Mary Washington, challenging Sen. Joan Carter-Conway in a district that stretches north from Midtown.
In each district, the winner of the Democratic primary will be unopposed on November’s ballot.