The first day of early voting brought out long lines of voters throughout Maryland Thursday.
It also brought out the political big guns in Baltimore County, where a Democrat and Republican are locked in a tight race for County Executive.
At the early voting site at the Honeygo Run Community Center in Perry Hall, the Republican candidates outnumbered the voters Thursday evening.
That’s because Governor Larry Hogan was making a campaign stop there. To this crowd, he is a political rock star, a popular Republican governor in a blue state. Hogan was stopped multiple times for pictures.
Those candidates want that picture because they are counting on Hogan’s coattails. That includes Al Redmer, the GOP candidate for county executive. Redmer needs voters like John from Perry Hall. He wouldn’t give his last name. John said he voted Republican top to bottom, including for Redmer.
“Mostly because he’s team Hogan,” John said.
John added he is voting for the first time in a mid-term election because President Trump fired him up.
“He’s a little kooky sometimes but he’s the only one fighting for actual people,” John said.
On the other hand, there are Hogan voters like Jerry Withers of Kingsville. He’s splitting his vote by backing Democrat Johnny Olszewski in the county executive’s race.
“I look at the person, not the political affiliation,” Withers said.
When told about Withers’ voting plans, the governor took it in stride.
“I’m sure there are going to be some of those but you can’t get them all,” Hogan said. “But I happen to think we both are going to finish on top.”
But the Democrats brought out a big name as well.
At the Early Voting Center in Randallstown, Congressman Elijah Cummings urged Olszewski’s supporters to not mess around, and vote early rather than waiting for election day when you run the risk of getting busy.
Cummings said, “The next thing you know you say the polls are closed. No no no no no. This election is too important for that.”
And it appears voters, Democrats as well as Republicans, are heeding that advice.
Ruie Lavoie, administrator for the Baltimore County Board of Elections, said turnout on the first day of early voting was up, compared to the last mid-terms four years ago.
“This is like a presidential,” Lavoie said. “Very good turnout.”
It was not unusual to see long lines of people waiting to vote Thursday. Ally Lieberman brought her friend Marvin Pearlmutter to Randallstown to vote but gave up.
“Because he’s 92 years old and we’re not going to wait an hour in line,” Lieberman said.
At the early voting center in Towson, the line was out the door. Louise Baron, a high school student who lives in Pikesville was standing in line with her mom Susan. Baron says her classmates are planning to vote as well.
“Being in high school and watching the 2016 presidential election happen, I think we all got really in to politics through that because it was something that mattered to us,” Baron said.
Baron was voting Democratic. Brenda Parker, also waiting her turn to vote, was still deciding. But Parker said she always votes early.
“Being African American it’s very important to me to be able to vote because I remember a time when it wasn’t easy for African Americans to vote,” Parker said.
Early voting continues statewide until November 1st.