It was business as usual in Baltimore as voters turned out to elect a solid slate of Democrats for state, federal and local offices and to ratify capital spending priorities already crafted by City Hall.
Voters also approved Question F (which would help the Inspector General investigate fraud and waste in city government) and Question G (which would place the Director of Legislative Reference as an “at will” employee of Mayor Catherine Pugh and Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young).
The 49,225 votes against Question G (as compared to 99,120 in favor) were the closest any ballot question came to defeat.
Otherwise, lopsided votes for Democratic incumbents resulted in the return to Washington of U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Representatives Elijah Cummings, John Sarbanes and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger.
As expected, Republican Governor Larry Hogan drew far fewer votes in Baltimore City than Democrat Ben Jealous, while easily winning the statewide vote for a second term.
But given the 8-to-1 margin of Democrat over Republican registered voters in the city, Hogan outperformed – winning 53,500 votes to Jealous’ 112,200.
No Hogan Coattails
If Maryland Republicans hoped Hogan would sweep others into office with him, they were disappointed.
They failed in the “Drive for Five” campaign to flip enough legislative seats to block the Democrats’ ability to override gubernatorial vetoes. In Anne Arundel and Howard counties, where Republican incumbents sought re-election, both were defeated by Democrats.
In Baltimore County, Republican Al Redmer Jr. was trounced by Democrat John “Johnny O” Olszewski 57% to 42% in the county executive race. Redmer had banked his candidacy on his prior business experience and his endorsement by Hogan.
An incumbent-laden Baltimore County Council was returned yesterday for another four years in office.
The 4-3 Democratic majority was maintained, with Democrat Izzy Patoka easily winning the 2d councilmanic district vacated by Vicky Almond. (Almond ran and lost to Olszewski in the Democratic primary for county executive last June.)
Back in Baltimore
In legislative races around the city, Democrats Jill P. Carter, Antonio Hayes, Corey V. McCray and Mary Washington ran unopposed to become members of the Maryland Senate. Incumbent Shirley Nathan-Pulliam blew past nominal opposition by Republican Victor Clark Jr.
An unopposed Marilyn J. Mosby also glided to her second term as state’s attorney, as did Sheriff John W. Anderson, Register of Wills Belinda K. Conaway and Clerk of the Circuit Court Marilyn Bentley.
Mosby’s husband, Nick, will return to the General Assembly representing West Baltimore’s 40th district, along with incumbent Frank M. Conaway Jr. and newcomer Melissa Wells.
In northwest’s 41st District, Dayla Attar made a strong showing to become the first Orthodox woman from Baltimore in the state legislature. She will be joined by Del. Samuel I. “Sandy” Rosenberg and community activist Tony Bridges.
In the 43rd district, Del. Curt Anderson won reelection despite being stripped of his leadership positions after an investigation into multiple sexual misconduct allegations.
Anderson trailed several thousand votes behind his two Democratic colleagues, Del. Maggie McIntosh and newcomer Regina T. Boyce.
Green Party Setbacks
The Green Party staked its claim in four delegate races, but came up short in all of them.
Joshua Harris, who ran as Green candidate for mayor in 2016, garnered 14% of the vote in the 40th district, while Drew A. Pate got 6% in the 41st and Bonnie “Raven” Lane picked up 8.5% in the 43rd.
Steven “Andy” Ellis and Glenn L. Ross, in the 45th District, each ran ahead of Republican candidates, but lagged far behind Democratic victors Cheryl D. Glenn, Talmadge Branch and Stephanie Smith.
“Yes” to Bond Questions
Mayor Pugh, Comptroller Joan Pratt and members of the City Council were not on the ballot yesterday (they come up for election in 2020), but plenty of bond questions were.
Voters authorized the city to float up to $160 million in bonds between now and 2020 to rehabilitate public buildings, schools and parks; to plan, develop and execute community, commercial and industrial development; and to plan and develop affordable housing.
These programs are part of the city’s capital budget, which is authorized to spend up to $80 million a year, but is non-binding and subject to considerable changes and modifications.
City voters also approved two state constitutional amendments.
The first requires Governor Hogan to dedicate specified amounts of gaming revenues to public education. The second authorizes the General Assembly to permit same-day registration and voting in future elections.