Barbara Osborn Kreamer, a former Harford County Councilwoman and delegate in the Maryland General Assembly, has become the latest in the ever-growing list of those to challenge the residency and candidacy of state senate hopeful Art Helton.
Kreamer, herself a candidate for the Democratic Central Committee, filed an official “Complaint For Change Of Voter Registration And Disqualification Of Candidacy” against Helton in the Harford County Circuit Court on August 6.
Once again at question is whether Helton lives on his Darlington farm or the Joppa townhouse he bought a few years ago. Helton has filed to run for the District 34 senate seat, which represents the Edgewood, Joppatowne, Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, and western Cecil County region. Darlington is represented by the District 35 seat.
In early July, Helton successfully fended off a similar complaint from his Primary Election opponent Rovall Washington. Washington said he would not appeal the decision (and he hasn’t), but it’s unclear if Kreamer has continued the complaint in his stead. Washington insists that is not the case: “I am NOT involved with this case. She is not filing on my behalf PERIOD! There are more important thing in front of me.” Kreamer, who was in the courtroom during Washington’s complaint hearing, has not responded to requests for an interview.
For his part, Helton said Kreamer is carrying enough baggage and enough of a personal resentment toward him that it’s difficult to determine how or why this new complaint arose.
“M’s Kreamer has hounded my neighbors and they are not happy with her and have told her so. She has had some personal problem with me for years. I do not know the genesis of her problem. I do know she was removed from the Harford Democratic Central Committee by the State Democratic Party for cause. She has been disbarred from the practice of law. She had problems at her church and had a restraining order placed against her. I understand she has had problems with other work related assignments. I was not involved in any of these actions against her. Add all that up and you tell me what the problem is with M’s Kreamer. Top all this off she is now a candidate for Harford County Democratic Central Committee again,” Helton wrote in an email interview.
After the court ruled in his favor last month, Helton has little reason to believe this case will turn out any differently.
“I’m not sure whether the courts will look favorably on her case. I believe the Court has clearly decided this issue. From here on it appears to be more about harassment than any legal issue,” he wrote.
Washington, the source of the complaint against Helton last month, is running against Helton in the District 34 state senate seat Primary Election. During his administrative hearing, Washington came armed with photographic evidence, testimony from neighbors, and his own eyewitness accounts, which he believed proved Helton did not reside in the Joppa townhouse.
Among those items, Washington also listed the following in his complaint:
In the case of Barbara Kreamer vs. Harford Board of Elections, Arthur Helton was previously ordered to change his voter registration card back to his address at 3069 Harmony Church Road, Darlington, Maryland 21034 after trying to use his business address of 8 N. Parke St Aberdeen, MD 21001. In the order, dated November 17, 2007, Judith Armold, Designee of State Administrator, specifically states, “Any future change of Sen. Helton’s voter registration address should be supported by clear evidence of a permanent intent to reside elsewhere.”
Ultimately, the court did not agree, Helton continued on with his campaign, and Washington said he would also focus on the race rather than an appeal.
Washington said this week that he was surprised by Kreamer’s actions and, although he is not involved with her complaint, it proves the public is dissatisfied with the court ruling in Helton’s favor.
“I am surprised to say the least. Like I told you before, I have decided to push into fast forward with my campaign and have not concerned myself with my opponent since. This just goes to show that people are not satisfied with the ruling. If someone else wants to fight it, then that’s their right. I have prayed about it and I am spending my time making sure I crush my opponent in the polls. While he is carrying luggage back and forth from his mansion to town house, I’ve been endorsed unanimously by the UAW, IBEW, and Baltimore Ports Council. I also received a letter of recommendation from the Baltimore City Fire Fighters Union. I expect more endorsements this over the next week. I am looking forward to the Primary. He obviously has other things to focus on,” Washington wrote in an email interview.
Washington also said Kreamer may prove successful where he fell short.
“I do not think Ms Kreamer would file if she did not have the needed evidence and testimonies to navigate through the court room,” he wrote.
With all the talk of complaints, hearings, and appeals, Helton said he is keeping focused on his campaign, which is aimed at defeating Washington in September so he can move on to face Republican incumbent Sen. Nancy Jacobs in November General Election.
“I do not see my primary opponent when I’m campaigning. He has signs up and appears to be putting some of them up without permission from owners. I’m campaigning hard, meeting voters, and attending community meetings and candidate forums. I have been doing this for the past year and a half. I have not seen my primary or general election opponents doing much campaigning nor meeting with voters,” Helton wrote.