Elections | WYPR

Elections

Local election coverage from WYPR programs and newsroom.

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Photo Courtesy Jim Shea for Maryland

Jim Shea has an impressive resume—successful lawyer, chair of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents—but he’s never held public office. Nonetheless, he says he’s the only one in the crowded Democratic gubernatorial primary field, who can beat incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in November.

Mary Rose Madden

Ben Jealous has had the advantage in Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary of having prominent national figures show up to stump for him. There were senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris as well as comedian Dave Chapelle.

And he’s won the endorsements of liberal leaning national organizations, like SEIU and Friends of the Earth.

Yet he styles himself as a guy who spent childhood summers with his grandmother in West Baltimore.

John Lee

 

Early voting is under way and Baltimore County residents will for the first time elect some of the members of the school board. The way it’s being done can be confusing, but there are those who think electing school board members is the key to mending the current, fractured board. WYPR’s John Lee joined Nathan Sterner in the studio to talk about it.

 

 

Maryland House of Delegates

The state legislature’s ethics committee is investigating Baltimore City House Delegation Chair Curt Anderson for alleged sexual misconduct.

Last month, Valerie Ervin shook up the Democratic primary race for Maryland governor when she announced her candidacy to replace her former running mate, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, who died suddenly on May 10th.  Yesterday, Ms. Ervin shook up the Democratic gubernatorial race for the second time, when she announced her withdrawal from the contest, and her decision to support Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker in his primary bid to challenge Governor Larry Hogan in the general election in November.

Valerie Ervin joins Tom Hall on the line from Silver Spring to discuss her recent moves, and how they might impact the Democratic race to win back the Statehouse.

In this installment of Conversations with the Candidates, Tom Hall is joined in the studio by Sheldon Laskin, a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Maryland’s 11th district, which includes Pikesville, Owings Mills, and Hunt Valley in northwest Baltimore County. 

John Lee

The race for the Republican nomination for Baltimore County Executive pits an establishment candidate with the governor’s seal of approval against a self-described crusader who is counting on votes from Trump supporters. The battle between State Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Junior and Delegate Pat McDonough has been contentious.

Ivan Bates Campaign, Marilyn Mosby Campaign, and Thiru Vignarajah Campaign.

The race for Baltimore State’s Attorney has become one of the most contentious in the city’s history, and it’s anyone’s guess who will win the top prosecutor’s job.

Rachel Baye

Former Montgomery County Council Member Valerie Ervin is dropping out of the governor’s race and endorsing Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker, she announced Wednesday.

Frederick Board of Elections

Early voting in the Maryland Primary begins tomorrow (June 14th).   Marylanders can vote early, at locations around the state, for a week, until June 21st.  Then, there’s a four-day break in voting until Election Day on Tuesday, June 26th.  A reminder that if you are not yet registered to vote, you can register and vote on the same day -- if you vote earlyYou will not be able to register on Election Day. 

The last time Maryland held a primary election for important offices like Governor, County Executive, or State’s Attorney was in 2014.  In the primaries that year, barely more than 24% of eligible Democrats participated in the election, and even fewer Republicans cast a vote in their primary.  The turnout in the General election was also very low.  Let’s hope that isn’t the case again this year.  

Rachel Baye

Four Democratic candidates for governor and three for lieutenant governor discussed education policy at a forum Tuesday night hosted by the Real News Network in Baltimore.

The forum’s focus was the state panel studying how to revise Maryland’s education funding formulas and modernize the state’s approach to education more broadly. The group is known as the Kirwan Commission because it’s led by University System of Maryland Chancellor Emeritus Brit Kirwan. It plans to publish its recommendations at the end of the year, and they are expected to come with a large price tag.

marilynmosby.com

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates with Baltimore City State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby.  She is running for re-election in the Democratic primary that takes place on the 26th of this month.  Early voting begins on Thursday.  She is opposed by two other candidates, Ivan Bates and Thiru Vignarajah.  The winner of the primary will run unopposed in the general election.   

Marilyn Mosby drew international attention when she indicted six Baltimore police officers in the police-custody death of Freddie Gray in 2015.   None of those indictments resulted in a conviction, but Ms. Mosby points to a 95% conviction rate to date for her office overall.  The State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted more than 41,000 cases last year.

Rachel Baye

Democratic state Sen. Richard Madaleno has known he wanted to run for office since he was 9 years old.

John Lee

Construction is getting under way on the controversial $350 million Towson Row project after years of delay. Once it’s done, it will be home for shops, offices, student housing, residences and a hotel. The project is considered the transformational centerpiece of Towson’s redevelopment. But only one of the candidates running for Baltimore County Executive  supports it.

 

 

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The nine Democrats running for governor faced off Wednesday in their fourth debate, which was taped and will air on WMAR-2 News on June 13 at 8 p.m. WYPR’s Rachel Baye discusses the debate with Nathan Sterner.

John Lee

The Baltimore County School Board meets Thursday evening to talk about naming an interim school superintendent for the next year. The issue of whether the current interim superintendent, Verletta White, should remain on the job is dividing not only the school board, but the candidates running for county executive as well.

 

 

John Lee

Democratic voters in Baltimore County soon will be making a choice between three political veterans who are running for the party’s nomination for county executive. Early voting begins next week, on June 14.

 

The hotly contested three-way race is between State Senator Jim Brochin, County Councilwoman Vicki Almond, and former State Delegate Johnny Olszewski Jr.

 

 

photo courtesy Thiru for Baltimore.

Continuing our series of Conversations with the Candidates, our focus today is on the Democratic primary election later this month for Baltimore City State’s Attorney Three candidates, including the incumbent, Marilyn Mosby, are competing in that race to be the city’s top prosecutor.

It’s a big job, overseeing more than 200 lawyers and tens of thousands of prosecutions every year, and it's a job our guest today would very much like to have. 

Thiru Vignarajah is a former prosecutor who’s spent most of his legal career in public service.  He was born in Baltimore to Sri Lankan immigrant parents, both of them Baltimore City public school teachers. Vignarajah himself is a product of the public school system, having gone from Edmondson Heights and Woodlawn High to Yale University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review . He went on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and he served as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, working under then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein. Vignarajah subsequently moved to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office, where he headed the Major Investigations Unit.

photo by Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun

Today we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates...

Here in Baltimore, the city’s top prosecutor is the Baltimore City State’s Attorney, an elective position that's often in the eye of the storm surrounding some very high profile criminal cases.  The incumbent State’s Attorney, Marilyn Mosby, attracted national attention with her decision to indict six officers involved in the arrest of Freddie Gray in 2015.  Mr. Gray died while in police custody.  None of the indicted officers were convicted of a crime.   

But while cases like those involving Freddie Gray get a lot of scrutiny, the State’s Attorney’s office prosecuted more than 41,000 cases in 2017.  The State’s Attorney oversees more than 400 people, including more than 200 lawyers, and the salary is the highest of any city employee.  It’s a big job, and there are two people challenging the incumbent for it in next month’s Democratic primary. 

Tom's guest for the hour today is one of those challengers. 

Ivan J. Bates is a veteran litigator, defense attorney and city prosecutor.  He earned his BA in journalism at Howard University in 1992 and got his Law Degree at William and Mary in 1995.  He was admitted to the Maryland bar that year and after clerking for Judge David B. Mitchell on the Circuit Court of Baltimore City, he served as an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore, where he worked in the Juvenile Crime Division and later, the Homicide Division.  He started his own law practice in 2006.

Dominique Maria Bonessi

During the last General Assembly session, lawmakers created a temporary fix to stabilize Maryland’s Obamacare exchange after Congress repealed the individual mandate to buy health insurance. Now, the Democratic gubernatorial candidates are backing what they say would be a permanent fix.

John Lee

Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki Almond Tuesday night took herself out of the running to complete Kevin Kamenetz’s term as county executive. Kamenetz died nearly two weeks ago and his term ends December 3. Almond said no thanks even though she had enough votes on the County Council to land the job.

 

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates  who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland.

Tom’s guest today is Valerie Ervin.  She is one of nine Democrats running for Governor this June.  The winner will go up against Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the general election in November. 

Last week, the former Montgomery County Councilwoman announced that she would be taking the place of her former running mate, the late Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, as a Democratic candidate for Governor.  She is the second woman, and one of four African Americans running for Governor in the Democratic primary. 

Ervin’s career includes politics, education and labor advocacy.  She was the first African American woman to serve on the Montgomery County Council where she served two terms; she was only the 2nd African American woman to serve on the Montgomery County Board of Education. 

Her running mate is Marisol Johnson, former Baltimore County school board Vice Chair.  She is the first Latina to hold public office in Baltimore County. 

Valerie Ervin also took your questions, emails and tweets.  Like all of Midday’s Conversations with the Candidates, this program was streamed live on the WYPR FB page.  Check out the video here

Rachel Baye

Eight Democrats vying for their party’s nomination for governor shared the stage at their first televised debate Monday. The debate was taped Monday morning and aired at 7 p.m. on Maryland Public Television, WBAL-TV, WBAL Radio and WEAA. In addition, it was simulcast online.

At the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture in Baltimore, the large group of candidates struggled to distinguish themselves in just one hour of debate.

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates, which includes those who already hold public office.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is Tom's guest in Studio A, for the hour today.  He has represented Maryland’s 2nd congressional district since 2003.  That district includes parts of five jurisdictions: Baltimore City and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Harford and Howard Counties.

Rep.  Ruppersberger serves on the House Appropriations Committee as well as the Subcommittee on Defense and the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations & Related Programs. He is a former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. A number of institutions and organizations in his district are involved in cyber security issues.

Like all but one of the eight members of the Congressional delegation from Maryland, he is standing for re-election this year. He is being opposed in the primary by a political newcomer, Jake Pretot.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  If you missed it, check out the video here. 

Friends of Rushern Baker III

Today, we continue our series of Conversations with the Candidates who will be on the June 26th primary ballot here in Maryland. 

Yesterday, former Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin entered the Democratic primary race for Maryland governor, following the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Kamenetz, with whom she'd been running as a candidate forLieutenant Governor. 

We begin the program with WYPR's Baltimore County politics reporter, John Leeand his analysis of the changing dynamics of the governor's race.  

Tom’s guest for the balance of the hour is Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, also a Democratic candidate for Maryland governor. 

Rushern Baker is one of three candidates in the race who is not a political outsider, and now, the only one currently serving as a county executive.  Baker entered politics in 1994, serving in the Maryland House of Delegates until 2003.  He lost his first two elections for Prince George's county executive, but in 2010, he beat incumbent Jack Johnson.  Soon after that election, federal prosecutors arrested Johnson on corruption charges.  Mr. Baker has been widely credited with improving the county’s image and ending its “pay to play” legacy.

Rachel Baye

Thirty-five-year-old Cory McCray checked his list of registered Democratic voters before climbing each set of porch steps and knocking on each door in a Northeast Baltimore neighborhood on a recent afternoon.

“I’m Cory McCray, your state delegate,” he told a resident who answered her door. “I’m in a very contentious race, so when you go to the ballot in June, I’ll be trying to elevate from delegate to senator, and I’m just hoping and praying to get your consideration.”

McCray said it was his third time knocking on doors in the neighborhood, so he hoped most people there knew who he is.

Valerie Ervin for Governor

When Valerie Ervin announced Thursday she would run for governor, she tapped as her running mate former Baltimore County School Board member Marisol Johnson.

 

The campaign hopes Johnson will help them in what is considered a key battleground in the governor’s race.

 

Photo courtesy Donna Brazile

Tom's guest today is Donna Brazile.  A Democratic political operative for more than 40 years, Ms. Brazile encountered a firestorm of criticism last fall when she published her memoir of the 2016 election, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.  Many of her fellow Democrats read the book as a bitter diatribe from a disgruntled member of the old guard.

But perhaps lost in the scrum of discord were Ms. Brazile’s alarming accounts of Russian interference in the electoral process.  Yesterday, the Republican Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee affirmed the conclusion of multiple intelligence agencies that the Russians did indeed act to support Donald Trump and discredit Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the US presidential election of 2016. 

Photo Courtesy Kevin Kamenetz for Maryland

Few events in recent MD history were as shocking or disruptive to the political landscape as the death of Kevin Kamenetz last week, from a heart attack. The 60 year old Baltimore County Executive was one of the leading contenders in the crowded field of hopefuls vying for the chance to run against incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in November.

With just a month until early voting starts in the primary, candidates are scrambling to assess the new and uncertain dynamics of the race. Will Valerie Ervin, Kamenetz’s running mate in the primary, choose to run herself, and if so, with whom? Will she run at the top of a newly formed ticket, or will she maintain her position in the Lieutenant Governor slot?

Kamenetz’s death also occasions many questions about the future of Baltimore County. Three Democrats and two Republicans are running in their respective primaries to face-off for the County’s top job in the fall. In the meantime, who will the County Council appoint to serve-out the remainder of Kevin Kamenetz’s term?

Today on Midday, Tom explores these and other questions with Pamela Wood, who covers Baltimore County government and politics for the Baltimore Sun; and Bryan Sears , government reporter for the Daily Record.

AP Photos

Tom's guests today are two longtime politicians, one a Republican, the other a Democrat, who are now working together to try to fix the dysfunction in political Washington.

Former Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District from 1987 until 2003. President George W. Bush appointed her U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a position she held in Paris from 2003 until 2007. She was the first former member of Congress to be named ambassador to the OECD. Ambassador Morella currently serves on American University’s faculty in the Dept of Government and as an Ambassador in Residence at AU’s Women & Politics Institute.

Former Democratic Congressman Tim Roemer represented Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District from 1991 until 2003. From 2002 until 2004, he served on the 9/11 Commission. He was U.S. Ambassador to India during the Obama Administration, from 2009 until 2011. Ambassador Roemer is now a senior counselor at APCO Worldwide, a global consultancy.

Together, they co-chair the Re-Formers Caucus, which includes nearly 200 former governors, cabinet secretaries and members of Congress -- Republicans and Democrats, from all 50 states -- who have banded togethet to work on bi-partisan solutions to the dysfunction in Washington that, they say, threatens American democracy. They join Tom on the line from NPR studios in Washington, DC.

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