(CLINTON, MD – November 7, 2022) – In the vastness of the Mount Ennon Baptist Church, Maryland Gubernatorial Candidate Wes Moore belted out the lyrics of “All Together Worthy.” He didn’t need a hymnal because he knew the words. This was communion Sunday. Some parishioners make sure they bring their children to replenish in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“As supper ended, he handed the cup (filled with wine) to his disciples, and said, ‘this is my blood which is given up for you … he then took the bread and said, ‘take this all you (a piece of bread). This is my body which is given up to you,’” said Pastor Delmar L. Coates, Ph.D. It is a ritual that is performed at thousands of churches on the first or second Sunday of the month.
This was different because candidates like Moore know this is where you plant the seed for Tuesday’s election. “I stand here as a child of God,” says the candidate. He reminds the faithful that he comes from a long line of teachers and ministers, including his late grandfather.
He remembered a sermon his grandfather gave about the last 40 years of Moses’ life. As he recalled his grandfather’s words, ‘God told Moses to let Joshua finish the work.’ In analyzing these events, his grandfather said, “Job well done. You have done everything I asked, and now it is Joshua’s turn.”
Returning to those in the hall who were hearing the gubernatorial candidate speak, “My ask of you is on Tuesday, the baton is in your hands. Generations came before us so we can have Tuesday.” He launched into a litany of why’s…they fought, bled, sacrificed, and marched. “They did their job … to make sure we can be in control of our own destiny.” The crowd rose to its feet in applause.
This was his second stop at a Prince George’s County church. Southern preachers have deemed these Sunday services as “souls to the polls.”
How persuasive is a strategy to target “church-going folk?” It hasn’t been lost in the Moore Campaign. For the last year and a half Moore has spent time in churches across the state (I, unfortunately, heard a former Democratic Maryland Gubernatorial candidate tell me that he “didn’t need to worry about churches.”).
“I take my faith personally and I wasn’t going to mask my faith on the campaign trail,” said Moore, who shrugged off the idea of faith being a political strategy. “It’s an important lift.”
With a late infusion of cash, Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox has sunk a lot of it in television ads. Cue the spook music, and darken images. FYI, expect to see many of these TV ads during the Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints game which is a part of Monday Night Football (a large Maryland audience).
Sunday, Cox held a rally at a Brunswick Firehouse just outside of Frederick his home base. The Republican nominee, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump, has painted himself into a unique corner. Members of the Maryland GOP have tried to stay arm’s length away from him, especially Governor Larry Hogan (Gov. Hogan’s only TV ad is with Barry Glassman, who is running for Comptroller).
In the strange world where there are questions about election integrity, I notice a number of armed police officers at polling stations. I expect this to continue because of the climate. I know a lot of GOP voters who have concerns are being told to “vote late.” This idea surfaced as a way to stall those who want to legitimately vote after work. The sense is, these people will see long lines and leave. The other is to force courts to extend voting hours (which the courts have done) for people who are in line. I will watch to see if this plays out.
I don’t expect this in Maryland, but a number of “Poll watchers” may challenge voters’ registrations. These challenges will mean voters will have to vote with “provisional ballots.”
Lastly, this state has a number of questions at the state level and the local level. On average, it may take you 15 minutes to complete the process. “Hang in there.”