Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Baltimore voters are not to blame for the unexpected defeat of Anthony G. Brown, whose electoral total, including early voting in the city, did not break the 100,000 mark.
An early supporter of Lt. Gov. Brown who lost yesterday to Republican dark horse Larry Hogan in Maryland’s general election, Rawlings-Blake said she worked “very hard in collaboration with the Brown campaign” since she endorsed his candidacy in 2013 and had “encouraged people to get out the vote” in the city.
Admittedly, she said, voter turnout in Baltimore was “slightly lower” yesterday than in the 2010 election when Gov. Martin O’Malley handily beat Republican challenger Bob Ehrlich.
“It was like 20,000 [fewer voters] came out this year, but that still wouldn’t have delivered a win,” she told reporters at her weekly press availability, adding with some emotion: “Look, I know that everybody is waking up looking for somebody to blame, but the data does not support it was Baltimore City’s fault.”
Hogan beat Brown statewide by approximately 76,000 votes. Even a strong showing by the overwhelmingly Democratic Party electorate in Baltimore would not likely have changed that outcome.
But data from the state Board of Elections did show a marked erosion of support for Brown, the party’s first African-American candidate for governor, compared to Martin O’Malley in 2010.
Brown garnered 99,091 votes in the city, including early voting. That’s 34,000 fewer – not the 20,000 figure the mayor cited – than the 133,068 votes O’Malley garnered in 2010.
While O’Malley got 83% of the city’s vote in 2010, Brown mustered only 75%.
While voter turnover differences between 2010 and 2014 would not have changed the course of the election (as the mayor correctly observed today), a higher vote in Baltimore would have made the Maryland Democratic Party’s defeat less dramatic.
Yesterday’s voter pattern also indicates that some party members, in a city dominated by Democrats since the Civil War, are willing to cross the partisan divide and vote for a Republican.
I Know Little about Hogan
Rawlings-Blake said she had not yet congratulated Hogan on his victory, but was planning to speak to him later today.
“I am hopeful that we will be able to work together to move the city forward,” she said. “I think the city is crucial and vital as a part of the state, and we will have some shared priorities that we can work on.”
“But do you think the governor-elect shares that view that the city is crucial and vital,” a reporter wanted to know.
“I have no idea,” the mayor replied, adding, “I have had very little engagement with him or his campaign.”
Rawlings-Blake declined to discuss the status of the national Democratic Party in the wake of last night’s election rout, except to say “it was a very very rough night.” Regarding her future role as secretary of the Democratic National Committee (she was appointed to the post in early 2013), she said, “I tend not to mix my roles with the DNC and here.”
Asked to reflect back on the Brown campaign, the mayor said she wouldn’t “stand here and second guess his campaign.”
“He was certainly the right choice for Baltimore,” she said, going on to characterize Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, as “incredible public servants.”