Photo: Former Education Secretary John King announced bid for Maryland Governor in April. He’ll be speaking in Harlem Park tomorrow at 6 pm.
By Doni Glover, Publisher
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(BALTIMORE – September 30, 2021) – Ahh, yes! The statewide political scene is expeditiously shaping up on both sides of the aisle. So many questions abound. For instance, with Maryland’s population and demographic changes, one question surrounds the diversity of candidates.
From an African American perspective, I long to see a Black governor and a Black US Senator. Hell, it’s 2021. We’ve had a Black president. What’s the hold-up?
And that leads to another question: It surrounds a Black agenda. Considering that Black people comprise 30% of the state population and are the most loyal Democratic voting bloc who can sway most any election, where is the love?
I mean, how long must we wait?
I will say this: Like Fannie Lou Hamer, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired” on waiting!
Yes, there has been a new norm in place since Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s tenure: the Black lieutenant governor. However, it has only come with a white male heading the ticket; Ehrlich, Gov. Martin O’Malley, and Gov. Larry Hogan all led those tickets.
I see Baltimore County the same way: Only white males have been county executives. From Michael J. Birmingham in 1956 to the current exec, Johnny Olszewski, it’s been a consistent pattern of white male leaders.
So, for me, it’s time for some diversity. And it’s time for more than mere symbolism. It’s nice to rename BWI Airport after Thurgood Marshall, for example, but how about ensuring the Black contractors in Maryland get a nice chunk of that $1.5 billion dollar expansion? At least, that’s what I touted back then in 2005.
The point is, we need more than just a Black face in a high place. We need a Black face with a full-blown Black agenda that falls in line with Maryland House Speaker Adrianne Jones’ Black agenda. Let’s stop pussyfooting and get it done!
And so, while the Republican list is extremely short with Kelly Schulz having a strong advantage in that race, the Democrats, on the other hand, have a hot mess on their hands. There are too many candidates. Consequently, they are crossing wires and wasting resources. Hence, the Democrats in Maryland need a voice – a strong voice – to rally the troops. Otherwise, the Republicans extend their influence in an unprecedented fashion (at least in modern times).
“I believe this is Franchot’s race to lose as he is the one that’s been elected statewide the most times and has the most name recognition,” said Catalina Byrd.
The retired political pundit continued, “That being said, I can’t remember an election where these many endorsements were handed out with no gubernatorial candidate having a declared running mate. They’ve endorsed half a ticket and won’t be able to take it back should their values not align with who’s picked later. [This election] will be interesting to watch play out.”
Franchot, the state comptroller, has been eyeing the governor’s seat for quite some time. He hails from Montgomery County where he served as a delegate.
Franchot has over 100 elected and former elected officials supporting him. That list includes former Delegate Shawn Tarrant. While he’s no longer a resident of the state, he’s still connected. He’s a property owner here and he is a former Maryland elected official. Further, he is a mentor to people in Maryland, including the children of late Baltimore City Councilman Kenneth N. Harris.
Tarrant told Bmorenews in an exclusive interview that Franchot has been a longtime supporter of his efforts, so he is only returning the favor.
One person who has come in with a splash is the incomparable Baltimorean, Wes Moore. His name is ringing in certain circles like a fire alarm. According to the Afro, Moore is racking up Baltimore support and is making significant strides in raising funds. Moore, who is Black, is aiming to make history with this, his first run for office. He even has the support of noted-Attorney extraordinaire and massive political supporter William “Billy” Murphy, Jr.
The Afro reported this week: “Sen. Antonio Hayes (District 40), Del. Marlon Amprey (District 40), Del. Frank Conaway, Jr. (District 40), Del. Melissa Wells (District 40), Councilmember John Bullock (District 9), Councilmember Phylicia Porter (District 10), and Councilmember James Torrence (District 7) all endorsed Moore in a video released by the campaign.”
The historic Black weekly newspaper based in Baltimore also reported: “In addition to VoteVets PAC and Pittman, Moore has earned the endorsements of Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (At Large); Baltimore City Councilmembers Odette Ramos (District 14), Mark Conway (District 4), Eric Costello (District 11), and Zeke Cohen (District 1); and Chair of the Baltimore City Delegation Del. Stephanie Smith (District 45).”
Moore’s campaign made other news this week when Tisha Edwards, a top aide in Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration who was clocking $220k per year, resigned “to work for longtime friend Wes Moore”, according to the Baltimore Brew.
In Prince George’s County, Rushern Baker is doing a better job solidifying support than he did in his last race for governor. The former county executive has garnered support from 9 out of 11 council members. The last time, the list was extremely thin.
According to Maryland Matters, Baker’s support includes “Council Chair Calvin S. Hawkins II, Vice Chair Deni Taveras and Councilmembers Franklin (At-Large), Dannielle M. Glaros (District 3), Todd M. Turner (District 4), Ivey (District 5), Davis (District 6), Rodney C. Streeter (District 7), and Sydney J. Harrison (District 9), all Democrats.”
Last time around, O’Malley endorsed Baker.
While Byrd suggests that Franchot has the upper hand on the Democratic aisle, longtime political operative Mark Clack cautions, “It seems to be pretty wide-open now.”
Clack is a New Jersey native with a 35-year political track record in the DMV including years serving as an aide to Rep. Kweisi Mfume during his first Congressional tenure.
He continued, “You have some strong candidates out there, yet nobody is too focused right now.”
The Maryland Primary Election is June 28, 2022. The General is November 8th.
I am curious as to how the minority candidates will do.
He added that while Franchot has the financial lead, “the campaign season hasn’t started in earnest.”
Clack said that as we head into the winter months, television advertising will be important.
He said that for now, “It is about funding and creativity. I wouldn’t want to handicap the race at this point. Sure, Franchot has the name recognition and the money, at this point anything can happen. I have not seen any polls. I’ve only monitored the news.”
Clack did put a plug in for Sean Burns for House of Delegates in the 46th district.
One Prince George’s County politico, Mark Spencer, is also no stranger to politics. And when it comes to his home county, there isn’t a fiercer defender of Black business.
Spencer noted to Bmorenews that when it comes to this election, one must first understand the blue part of the state, including Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Charles County.
“The rest is red,” said Spencer. He added, “The Black vote is always the key in Maryland.”
His concern, however, is how that vote is parlayed.
“It is our failure to leverage that power,” he said.
He said that the Black community lacks a Black agenda.
“Franchot is the only candidate to promote a Black agenda. We’re in a time when Speaker of the House Adrianne Jones is speaking of a Black agenda, yet Black candidates have not put forth a Black agenda themselves.”
Baltimore funeral entrepreneur and radio host Carlton Douglass, however, brings up a point about Franchot’s relationship with the Maryland Democratic Party.
“He’s got a problem with the Democratic Party because he has worked closely with Hogan,” said Douglass.
He added, “Thus far, the Democratic Party has not shown their hand in terms of who they will support. Somewhere down the road, the Democratic Party will have to make a decision.”
The question for Douglass is “if they can produce a [winning] Black candidate.” He takes issue with the Maryland Democratic Party’s lack of support for a Black governor.
He said, “What they did to Ben Jealous was deplorable. They didn’t back him. He was not the one they wanted. So, they did not support him financially or otherwise. He had a good chance of winning. In essence, [by not supporting Jealous], they actually backed Hogan. Hogan damn sure couldn’t win with just Republican votes.”
Douglass hosts two local radio shows. On Fridays on WOLB 1010 AM from 10 am-12 noon, he hosts “The Frank Conaway Show”, and on Wednesdays from 1-2 pm, he hosts a show on WFBR 1590 AM.
Of the gubernatorial race, well-known pollster Patrick Gonzalez said, “Let the parade begin!”
Although no gubernatorial candidate has called him thus far to do a poll, he said, “I did a poll last May and in that poll, Baker was at 22%, Franchot was at 18%, Tom Perez was at 10%, and others were in the lower single digits.”
He said that in that poll, 40% were largely undecided.