By Doni Glover, Publisher
I Am Black Wall Street
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
Thursdays at Midnight on WEAA 88.9 FM
(BALTIMORE – January 2, 2022) – In 1999, then-Baltimore City Council President Lawrence Bell was under the belief that then-Councilman Martin O’Malley was his friend and could be trusted. If not, that was certainly the general perception. People viewed the two as chums.
And then, in what looked like a race between Bell and then-Councilman Carl Stokes, O’Malley sucked up more votes than both combined and became mayor of Baltimore. The ailing Delegate Howard “Pete” Rawlings gave O’Malley the proverbial nod while securing a political future for his daughter, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
What is unforgettable is how initially, O’Malley appeared to be friends with Bell.
Fast forward 7 years to O’Malley’s 2006 gubernatorial bid. Remember, he fell back in 2002 to allow Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend to commit political suicide: She chose an overnight Republican – Admiral Charles R. Larson – as her running mate; she ran a really crappy campaign, and she seriously dismissed Black leadership along the way. She was actually more arrogant than O’Malley (imagine that) and it cost her tremendously. As a result, Maryland has now had two Republican governors – the first time such a political trend has happened in Maryland in decades.
In 2006, O’Malley chose the clean-cut Prince George’s County delegate/war hero Anthony Brown as his running mate.
To his credit, O’Malley has historically demonstrated a smarter, more organized campaign than his opponents in Maryland. He has simply outthought them, probably with a copy of “Art of War” by his bed and his brother, Peter, at his side.
Once in Annapolis, he masterfully dominated the political scene. And although he championed MBE efforts on behalf of Black businesses like no other, he was also a bully and cleverly manipulated too many Black politicians way too many times. He rewarded his supporters and punished his enemies. He was a tad Hitler-ish. And considering his legacy of locking up more Baltimoreans than any mayor in history, he is now remembered as the lad from Montgomery County who reiterated the mass incarceration of Black people in Baltimore.
2006 was also the year the Maryland Democratic Party snubbed Kweisi Mfume’s run for Senate. The Party dismissed a Black political champion without a second thought.
Now, it’s 2022, and the O’Malley curse is upon us again. Less than 2 days after his former running mate, now-Congressman Anthony Brown, announced his bid to become Maryland’s first Black Attorney General, O’Malley’s wife entered that same race.
Seriously! How cruddy can you get?
This is highly reminiscent of what happened to Bell in 1999. Some say a leopard doesn’t change his spots. I mean, one minute, they’re all chummy chum, eating together, laughing at jokes. The next minute, there goes the knife in the back.
“Where they do that at?” Maryland! The same state where Blacks overwhelmingly support a Democratic Party that has consistently taken the Black vote for granted and failed to deliver one Black statewide elected official. Are they waiting on the rapture or the aliens?
Nonetheless, the question remains: Will Brown be able to run a well-strategized, well-funded statewide political campaign to become the first Black Democrat in that position, and reverse the deadly O’Malley curse? Or, will the retired Baltimore District Court judge benefit from the vestiges of her father’s legacy as well as her husband’s political capital, and become the first woman in that post?
Tell you what: If ever there was an election that will boil down to race and gender in Maryland, it is this one. So I ask you, who do you think will best serve the interests of Marylanders, including Black people? O’Malley or Brown? (Vote in our online poll)