The hotly contested Democratic Party runoff race in House District 41 is actually for the House seat since their is no Republican opposition. Young incumbent Boyd Brown finds himself in a dogfight with Fairfield County Councilman Kamau (kah-my-u) Marcharia (mar-sha-ree-a). Brown received 48 percent of the primary vote to Marcharia’s 39 percent in the three-way race. News surfaced after the primary that Marcharia is a registered sex offender stemming from a charge in the 1960’s. Marcharia professed his innocence of the conviction of being involved in the rape of a white woman nearly 50 years ago saying he was the victim of the racial tensions of the 1960’s. Marcharia spent 10 years in prison. Brown says he was taking the high road in the campaign and not mentioning his opponent’s past but he thinks voters ought to know. “I think it will have an impact on the race and folks needs to know who they are elected and their past.”
Marcharia says the voters know exactly who he is because he has served on the Fairfield County Council for over a decade.”I just got re-elected in 2008 for another four-year term. If I don’t win the House District 41 seat, I will remain on the county council for another two years.”
The third candidate in the primary Kenneth Belton received 13 percent of the vote. He has since thrown his support to Marcharia, however Brown charges that the Legislative Black Caucus unlawfully influenced Belton’s candidacy.
They sent out a piece for hims saying that he was endorsing my opponent and he had officially withdrawn from the race. He never officially withdrew from the race, he never actively campaigned. I’m not really worried about his vote that didn’t have much of an impact, I’m just going out getting my votes.
Marcharia says the voters have gotten involved in the race for several reasons including their need to know where the property tax money is going that has been paid by the V.C. Summer Nuclear Plant.
Since that nuclear plant’s been there, they have paid more than 400 million in property taxes and when you ride through our community, it is like we’re living in the 1960’s. That’s one reason that motivated to vote; the other reason is that we have not had an African American person in this majority African American district elected to that house seat in 120 years.
Also factored in the race is the controversy involving the majority black Fairfield County School Board. In March, Brown along with state Senator Creighton Coleman, who are both white, pushed a bill through the General Assembly to strip the majority black school board of its financial authority. The measure would also expand the school board. Several county residents, including Marcharia, filed suit in U.S. district court saying that the pending laws violate federal law.
The federal government is currently examining the measures. Marcharia says the Justice Department requested more information from Brown and Coleman.
They are asking them for some specific details like for instance, did you ever meet with the community, when they never have. Did you ever meet with the school board, which they never have. They were saying that they had 70 percent of the community supporting them when they never held one community meeting.
Brown says it will be a few more weeks before the Justice Department makes a ruling.
We are waiting on them. They requested more information, which is usually a good sign,but we don’t know if it actually is this time. But at least we’ve sent them the information they asked for and now they have another 60 days to look at it. We’re looking at late July or early August before we know anything.
The voters in District 41 will have their say in Tuesday’s runoff.