By Doni Glover, Publisher
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(BALTIMORE – March 9, 2022) – Regular readers of this column know that I am a huge fan and watcher of elections going back to the mid-90s. While the Maryland General Assembly heads into its final month of the annual 90-day session, this year’s statewide election will soon kick into full gear.
Expect to see more television and social media campaign commercials in heavier rotations than in years past as weak candidates will try and compensate for time missed in the field because of the pandemic.
Knocking on doors used to be the key. However, CDC restrictions have changed the political environment. Candidates are balancing caution with aggression. That has to be challenging.
In any event, one race to watch is the delegate race in the 10th. For the uninitiated, that’s the Liberty Road corridor that Blacks have been trekking full-time for the past 50 years. Many of these Baltimore County residents originate out of West Baltimore. First, it was Woodlawn; then, Randallstown became the go-to for those fleeing the city; and then, the wonderful oasis called Owings Mills was heavily developed.
With state Senator Delores G. Kelley finally stating that she is not seeking re-election, Delegate Ben Brooks has stepped up for that position.
Mind you, none of this is official until Tuesday, March 22nd – the filing deadline for all state candidates.
So, theoretically, the question becomes who will take Brooks’ delegate spot.
Just yesterday I saw a “unity ticket” promotion for one 10th district team. It included, of course, Speaker of the House Del. Adrienne Jones and Brooks. There are also two new names, sort of: Jennifer White, and N. Scott Phillips. Phillips made an unsuccessful run for office several years ago.
Much has changed since then, including Kelley stepping to the side. This leaves Jones as a very powerful politician for the Liberty Road corridor, as well as Greater Baltimore, and the broader state.
There’s one caveat, however, to this “unity ticket”. His name is Delegate Jay Jalisi. A proven campaigner, Jalisi is the first non-Black to represent the majority-Black Randallstown district in years. How did he do it? He outworked the competition, which leads to a burning question: Who’s going to get bumped this year?
Sure, White and Phillips are on the main ticket. At the same time, placement on the ticket does not ensure victory. As a matter of fact, in the 2018 election, Jones garnered 27.4% of the vote (33,830 votes), Brooks got 26.8% (33,066), and Jalisi took 26.4% with 32,587 votes.
The burning question becomes whether White and Phillips, both of whom are great candidates with respectable resumes, can actually get more votes than Jalisi. I’ll tell you this: Jalisi is a fierce campaigner. So, if you’re planning to take his lunch money, be sure you bring your lunch box. It’s going to be a long day!