Maryland Voters go to the Polls: A Look at the Races

The MSU Spokesman

Morgan students, faculty and staff join other Maryland residents voting today in statewide mid-term elections.

Top among the races is the gubernatorial election which has drawn national attention as Republican candidate Larry Hogan has steadily gained on Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in this largely Democratic state.

According to Real Clear Politics, the race for Maryland’s governor is now a toss-up, with Hogan leading the most recent polls by 5 points.

Hogan has tightened the race with his focus on cutting taxes and creating jobs. He has also focused on small businesses to ensure that they are not wronged by legislation. If Hogan wins, he will be only the second Republican governor elected in the last four decades.

Brown, who was the Lt. Governor under Martin O’Malley for two terms, has emphasized the importance of better education for Marylanders, from universal Pre-K to more affordable college. Increasing minimum wage, backing “common sense gun laws,” and keeping women’s right to choose on the subject of abortion are also on Brown’s agenda. If elected, Brown would be the first black governor of Maryland and his campaign literature is a clear appeal to the state’s black voters.

Some of the other closely watched local races include Attorney General, State’s Attorney and Comptroller. One city council district has an open seat and eight Maryland congressional seats are up for grabs but polls show the seven Democratic and one Republican incumbent are likely to hold onto their spots.

Three candidates are running for outgoing Attorney General Douglas Gansler’s seat: State Senator Brian E. Frosh (Democrat), Towson attorney Jeffrey Pritzker (Republican) and Parole Commissioner Leo Dymowski (Libertarian). In this democratic state, however, this race is unlikely to be close.

The Baltimore Sun endorsed Frosh last week, describing this chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee as “a straight shooter, a person of substance and principle and, yes, an independent-minded lawyer.” In short, the editorial board wrote, he is “someone who can be trusted with this important job.”

Pritzker is running on a pro-business platform while Dymowski is focused on legalizing drugs like marijuana. “I will work tirelessly to end the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of non-violent drug ‘offenders’ who have harmed no one else,” he writes in campaign literature.

Another seat up for grabs is the comptroller’s. Democratic contender Peter Franchot is the incumbent running for a third term in office.  His Republican opponent, William Henry Campbell, is running for the first time.

Franchot has received national recognition for his “efficient and effective” comptroller’s office and has campaign with a promise to get taxpayer’s their refunds within three days of filing.

Campbell was the chief financial officer for the US Department of Veteran Affairs and has run a campaign focused on the economy. He said that he believes recent tax increases punish taxpayers and discourage small business. He intends to change this. “I have always been a pragmatist and have worked across organizational and ideological divides to get the job done,” he told The Spokesman last week.

When it comes to the State’s Attorney race, democrat Marilyn Mosby, an insurance lawyer who beat incumbent Gregg Bernstein in the primaries, is fighting local defense attorney Russell A. Neverdon Sr., who has mounted a write-in campaign.

Neverdon has made police brutality an issue in his campaign “We need the police. We need the very best from them,” he told The Spokesman last week. “But if you’re out there doing wrong, I’m going to push to get you out. I believe the community should police itself, but law enforcement should enforce the laws.”

Mosby has campaigned on the issue of community safety, emphasizing that she intends to have state’s attorney’s office focus on repeat offenders. Still, she acknowledges that there is some mistrust between Baltimore residents and the police when it comes to law enforcement and she hopes to stem that, particularly among youth. “That means getting to our children before they get to the criminal justice system,” she told The Spokesman last week. “Seeing kids in classrooms as opposed to courtrooms.”

Voters at the polls will also be deciding on several bond issues. Four of the city’s cultural institutions—The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters, The National Aquarium and The Port Discover Center—are asking are asking for $200,000 to $800,000 for renovations and upgrades. The Parks and Recreation Department is asking for $47 million, while the schools are asking voters for $34 million.