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Without A Baltimore Candidate, Ruppersberger Endorsement Matters

Tom Chalkley
Credit Tom Chalkley

Anthony and Dutch -- they’ve been doing the endorsement dance for months now.

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger thought at first about endorsing himself. For months, the possibility he’d run for governor floated in the electoral winds. It seemed unlikely from the start. He’s been stimulated by his House Intelligence committee assignment. Finally, he stepped back.

And Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown stepped up. He urged the Baltimore County congressman to throw his considerable weight in another direction – toward Anthony Brown. And it has happened.Ruppersbergerannounced Tuesday that Brown was his man. Not Del. HeatherMizeurand notAtty. Gen. DougGansler, the other two Democrats in the race.

Ruppersberger had been playing hard to get, it was said, out of concern for Baltimore. Which of the three Democratic candidates for governor would look out for the region? Which of them seemed likely to win was a factor as well, no doubt.

But who will speak for Baltimore?

For decades, Baltimore’s population – its voter strength—seemed to guarantee that someone from the city would be in the Annapolis leadership: the governor, a senate president, House speaker, or one of the important committees. No longer. The preponderance of voters live now in the DC suburbs.

Ruppersberger did have some leverage though. Brown wants support in the Baltimore region. Ruppersbergers’ nod now—with only a few weeks until the primary—could help. Oh yes, Brown’s been leadinginthe polls. Dutch will help himatthe polls.

If Brown wins, the congressman can remind him that the Baltimore region helped.

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Fraser Smith has been in the news business for over 30 years. He began his reportorial career with the Jersey Journal, a daily New Jersey newspaper and then moved on to the Providence Journal in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1969 Fraser won a prestigious American Political Science Association Public Affairs Fellowship, which enabled him to devote a year to graduate study at Yale University. In 1977, Fraser was hired away by The Baltimore Sun where in 1981, he moved to the newspaper's Washington bureau to focus on policy problems and their everyday effect on Marylanders. In 1983, he became the Sun's chief political reporter.