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Local election coverage from WYPR programs and newsroom.

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Courtesy of nickjmosby.com

Coronavirus has altered the election calendar for many states, including Maryland. The Primary Election for president and local offices has been postponed from April 28th to June 2nd. 

There still is an election on April 28th, to choose a successor to Elijah Cummings in the 7th Congressional District.  That election will be mail-in only.  The State Board of Elections will be mailing ballots to 7th District voters soon.  Be sure to check the Board of Elections website to make sure your address is correct. 

Today, Del. Nick Mosby is Tom's guest, as we continue with our Conversations with the Candidates series.  Mosby is a Democrat.  He has represented Baltimore in Maryland’s House of Delegates since 2017.  Before that, Mosby was a member of the Baltimore City Council for five years, representing Central West Baltimore.  Now, he’s running in the June primary against several other candidates for president of the Baltimore City Council.  

Before he entered politics, Mosby was a manager at Verizon Communications and Baltimore Gas and Electric.  He’s a Baltimore native and a Poly grad.  He holds an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Tuskegee University and a master’s degrees in telecommunications management from Stevens Institute of Technology.  He is 41 years old. He and his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, live with their two children in Reservoir Hill.  He joins us on the phone from his home.   


We begin today with a look at the results of a new poll released this morning by WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore on the race for Baltimore City Council President.   This new voter survey comes on the heels of another WYPR/Sun/UB poll released yesterday that's given us one of our first insights into the status of the race for Baltimore mayor.  Tom is joined in the studio by WYPR's city hall reporter Emily Sullivan for a review of key findings in both polls.

The conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  Watch the video here, from the beginning until 08:45 into the feed.


Almost 40% of Democratic primary voters say they’re unsure who they’ll pick to become the next Baltimore City Council President. But among those who say they have decided, Delegate Nick Mosby has a nine-point advantage, a new poll released by WYPR, the Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore finds. 

Mosby enjoyed 26% support in the poll, followed by former City Councilman Carl Stokes with 17%.

Jamyla Krempel / WYPR

A new WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and University of Baltimore poll finds Shelia Dixon narrowly ahead in the crowded Democratic Baltimore mayoral primary, and Delegate Nick Mosby leading the City Council President race. The poll results show a large pool of undecided voters in both races.

Today, we continue our Conversations with the Candidates series with the two candidates who are running for Baltimore City comptroller, which is one of only three positions elected citywide. 

Joan M. Pratt has served as Baltimore City’s comptroller since 1995. Ms. Pratt is a Certified Public Accountant.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Hampton Institute in Virginia, and a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Baltimore.  Comptroller Pratt began her career at the accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. She also served as Comptroller of the Baltimore Legal Aid Bureau. She is 68 years old and she lives in Homeland.

Bill Henry has represented District 4, in North Baltimore, on the Baltimore City Council since 2007.  Mr. Henry serves on the Council’s Biennial Audits Oversight Commission and the Budget & Appropriations Committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies and Public Policy from Johns Hopkins, and an MBA from Loyola University Maryland. He is 51 years old. He and his wife and their two daughters live in Radnor-Winston.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

The race to win the Democratic primary for Baltimore City mayor is defined by a large pool of undecided voters, with former mayor Shelia Dixon enjoying a small lead, followed by Brandon Scott and Thiru Vignarajah, according to a new poll from WYPR, The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.

Courtesy of MPT and POLITICO

It’s Midday on Politics.

For analysis of Saturday’s South Carolina Primary, and the end of the road for candidates Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer, plus a preview of tomorrow’s Super Tuesday battle among the remaining Democratic candidates -- and where we might find ourselves on Wednesday morning -- Tom is joined by two skilled political observers:

Charles Robinson is the longtime political/business reporter for Maryland Public Television.  He is here in Studio A.

Zach Montellaro is a campaign reporter for POLITICO and the author of POLITICO’s Morning Score newsletter.  He joins us on the line from NPR in Washington, DC.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 


Two election days, two early voting periods, dozens of races, more than 100 candidates...we know it can be a lot to keep track of, so we've created a calendar with voting days and registration deadlines to keep you organized and ready to vote! 


AP Photo/Meg Kinnard

Low turnout among African American voters was a significant factor in Hilary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump in 2016. In the 2020 election cycle, many of the remaining Democratic presidential hopefuls are struggling to connect with voters of color. 

Last night in Charleston, the Democrats made a final, desperate, and at times chaotic, appeal to black voters and others ahead of the South Carolina and Super Tuesday primaries.  

Courtesy of Mary Washington for Mayor 2020

State Senator Mary Washington joins Tom to discuss her campaign for Mayor of Baltimore.  After two terms in the House of Delegates, Dr. Washington was elected to the Senate in 2018, besting her former district colleague and longtime incumbent, Joan Carter Conway, by 492 votes. 

She is one of the most progressive legislators in the General Assembly.  One of her signature legislative victories came last spring when the House and Senate unanimously passed the Water Taxpayer Protection Act, prohibiting tax sales of homes or churches whose water bills are in arears. 

Sen. Washington holds an undergraduate degree from Antioch University, and Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University. 

She was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2010. She repreented the 43rd district in Baltimore City for two terms, before her election to the Senate. 

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls barrel towards the Super Tuesday primaries in less than two weeks, President Donald Trump's re-election campaign continues to amass a huge war chest.  The Trump juggernaut plans to spend more than one billion dollars on his re-election. According to Tom's guest today, a lot of that money will be spent on a media disinformation campaign unparalleled in US political history.

Photo by Ayyub Hanif / FourSight Studios

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates running in the 2020 elections for offices to lead Baltimore, the region and the nation.

This week, we've turned our attention to the race for Baltimore City's second-most-powerful post, after the mayor --  the office of City Council President. It's a job being sought by eight contenders — seven Democrats and one Republican.  One of those Democrats is Councilman Leon Pinkett, who was elected in 2016 to represent Baltimore’s 7th Councilmanic District in West Baltimore.

Leon F. Pinkett III was born and raised in Baltimore. He earned a degree in economics from Guilford College in North Carolina.  He was the senior economic development officer at the Baltimore Development Corporation, or BDC,  for nine years. He later joined Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration as Assistant Deputy Mayor in the Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development.

On the City Council, Pinkett serves as the vice chair of both the Budget & Appropriations Committee, and the Transportation Committee. 

Councilman Pinkett is 52 years old. He and his wife, Marika, have two teenaged children and they are long-time residents of the Reservoir Hill community. 

We welcome audience comments and questions for the candidate.

This conversation is being live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  You can watch the video here.

We apologize for the brief microphone problem at the beginning of today's interview.

Courtesy of Shannon Sneed

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed was elected in 2016 to represent Baltimore’s 13th Councilmanic District, where she’s lived since 2008. She is a Democrat and one of 8 candidates running for Baltimore City Council President.

Ms. Sneed holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and a Master’s Degree in Communications Management from Morgan State University. 

Before she became involved in local government, Sneed worked in local journalism as a producer and editor for Fox45 and WJZ Channel 13.

This conversation was live-streamed on WYPR's Facebook page.  You can watch the video here.

When Kweisi Mfume resigned from Congress in 1996, a four-term Maryland Delegate named Elijah Cummings won a crowded special primary and special election to complete Mfume’s term.  Cummings, who went on to become one of the most respected leaders in the Democratic Party, died in October. 

Last night, Mfume won a crowded special primary to succeed Cummings in MD’s 7th District. He will face-off in a special general election against first-time Republican candidate Kimberly Klacik, an occasional commentator on Fox News from Middle River. She has promised to move to the district if she is elected. 

Joining Tom with analysis of the election is WBAL-TV’s lead investigative reporter, Jayne Miller.

In other election news: The Open Society Institute is holding a Mayoral Forum tonight at 7pm at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.  It is sponsored by the  Open Society Institute, and 24 of the 32 candidates running for Mayor of Baltimore are set to attend.

Tom Hall will serve as moderator of that event with Lisa Snowden McCray of the Baltimore Beat and the Real News Network.  Click here for more information.

Emily Sullivan/WYPR

  Kweisi Mfume pulled ahead of a crowded field of 24 Democratic candidates in the special primary election to fill the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' seat on Tuesday, paving the way for a April general special election win in the deep-blue 7th congressional district.

“Experience matters,” Mfume, 71, said during a Tuesday night victory speech in northeast Baltimore. He earned 43 percent of Democratic votes.

Jamyla Krempel

The polls opened to some light rain Tuesday morning in the special primary election to fill the late Congressman Elijah Cummings’ seat representing Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. One West Baltimore elementary school saw a slow but steady stream of voters, though not everyone had their minds made up before casting ballots.

Mary Rose Madden

Despite Tuesday's unseasonable temperatures, it's the middle of winter, a time when folks don't typically vote. 

But that's not the only unique detail about the 7th Congressional District Special Primary Election. 

Emily Sullivan

Voters in Maryland’s 7th Congressional District are heading to the polls to cast their ballots in a primary race to determine who will carry out the rest of Congressman Elijah Cumming’s term. 

WYPR reporters are at voting precincts all around the 7th District, speaking with voters about what brought them out to the polls. 

Jose Luis Magana (top image) & Julio Cortez (bottom image)/AP

 Days after the emotional funeral of congressman and civil rights icon Elijah Cummings, Governor Larry Hogan announced a Feb. 4 special primary to fill his seat – and Democratic candidates in the deep-blue 7th congressional district were off to the races. 


“The whole race has been very fast. It's been emotional,” Martha McKenna, a longtime Democratic campaign consultant and advisor to Maya Rockeymore Cummings, said. “It's been the kind of race where people talking to each other about... why they're supporting individual candidates has a lot of meaning because the whole election has come so quickly, over the holidays and into the new year.”


Mary Rose Madden / WYPR

It’s Sunday morning mass at Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore. The choir is small but the organ is mighty. The pews hold a scattering of women wearing fancy hats and a few young men in suits. But for a Sunday morning, there are a lot of empty seats in this church.

For years, the black churches in Baltimore were hubs for the city's African American community - and their collective influence on Maryland politics showed results in electing judges and politicians. 

Courtesy of Mary Miller for Mayor Campaign

Mary Miller is Tom’s guest today, as our Conversations With The Candidates series continues. She is one of 24 Democratic candidates running for Baltimore mayor.

This is Ms. Miller’s first run for political office, but she is not new to government. In 2009, as the country plunged into recession, Ms. Miller was appointed by President Obama to top jobs at the Treasury Department. After holding several senior leadership positions, she left the Treasury in 2014 as the first woman to serve as the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance.

Before that, she had a long career at T. Rowe Price, here in Baltimore, where she ran the bond division.

For the last few years, she has been a Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University where she has worked with the Hopkins 21st Century Cities Initiative.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch the video. 

Photo Courtesy/ Catalina Byrd for Mayor of Baltimore

  Catalina Byrd was born and raised in Sandtown-Winchester on Baltimore’s West Side.  

Ms. Byrd is a political strategist, community activist, and media personality.  In 2017 she was appointed by former mayor Catherine Pugh to serve on the Community Oversight Task Force.  She currently serves as the Chair of the Domestic Violence Committee of the Women’s Commission of Baltimore City

Ms. Byrd mounted unsuccessful campaigns for Judge of the Orphan’s Court and Mayor in 2010 and 2011.  As an unaffiliated candidate, she was unable to procure enough signatures to get on the ballot in both races. 

There are 92 days until the primary elections for Mayor on April 28th.  If you aren’t registered to vote,  you can register on the Baltimore City Board of Elections website.  The deadline to register is April 7th.  

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  Click here to watch.

Photo Courtesy/ Wright 4 Mayor

Pastor Shannon Wright was born in New York.  She is a former Vice President of the Yonkers NAACP; and also served on the New Jersey NAACP state board of directors. 

Ms. Wright relocated to Baltimore in 2013.  In 2016 she was the Republican nominee in the race for City Council President.  She lost in the general election to now incumbent Mayor “Jack” Young.   

There are 92 days until the primary elections for Mayor on April 28th. If you aren't registered to vote, you can register on the Baltimore City Board of Elections website.  The deadline to register is April 7th.  

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page.  Click here to watch. 

Courtesy of T.J. Smith for Mayor Campaign

T.J. Smith, the former Baltimore Police Department spokesman, is Tom’s guest today -- part of our Conversations With the Candidates series.  He is one of 19 announced Democratic candidates running for Baltimore mayor.

Mr. Smith joined the police department with the arrival of Commissioner Kevin Davis and served as the chief of communications from 2015 until 2018. After leaving the Police Department, Mr. Smith served as Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Jr.

Mr. Smith lives in Northwest Baltimore. He grew up in the Dolfield neighborhood, and attended Poly High School before graduating from Woodlawn.

He holds two master’s degrees — one in Strategic Communication from Washington State University and another in Management and Leadership from Johns Hopkins University, where he also earned his undergraduate degree.

He is 42 years old and the father of a young son. If elected Mayor, Mr. Smith says that he will change what he calls the culture of gun violence in our city — with a crime plan that he says will make a difference on Day One.

We livestreamed this conversation on the WYPR Facebook page.  Click here to watch.  

Courtesy of the Spikes for Congress Campaign

Harry Spikes was an aide to Rep. Elijah Cummings for 15 years, serving most recently as district director.  He is also the vice president of the board of directors of the Community Assistance Network, a non-profit organization in Baltimore County that helps individuals and families who are homeless.

In 2014, Mr. Spikes ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He is 37 years old. He lives in Oliver, on the east side of Baltimore. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Morgan State University and a Masters of Public Administration in Public Policy from the University of Baltimore.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page. Click here to watch.

Courtesy of the Rabb for Congress campaign

Saafir Rabb is the CEO of a company called Interculture. He also leads a local non-profit and he was an advisor on the transition team of President Barack Obama.

Mr. Rabb grew up in Baltimore City and Howard County. He graduated from Poly High School. He holds a BA in Government, Politics and African American Studies from the University of Maryland, an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a Diploma in Arabic and Islamic Jurisprudence from Abu Nour in Syria.

Saafir Rabb is 43 years old. He lives in Howard Park, in Northwest Baltimore. He is married and has three children.

We livestreamed this conversation on WYPR's Facebook page. Click here to watch.

Credit Like_the_Grand_Canyon via Flickr

Baltimore mayoral candidates have raised more than $2.3 million towards a race that recent polls suggest is wide open, according to Board of Elections financial reports due late Wednesday night.

Mayor Jack Young has about $960,000 on hand and raised over $1 million total. A big chunk of that cash was raised during a $4,000-a-plate high-profile dinner fundraiser in October, hosted by restaurateurs Alex and Eric Smith of the Atlas Restaurant Group. His cash reserve, the largest of the crowded field, may help the incumbent hold onto his current seat. 

photo courtesy Dante Swinton

Midday's series of Conversations with the Candidates continues with this special Web-only edition: Tom's January 14 conversation with Dante Swinton, one of more than a dozen Democratic candidates vying in the April 28th primary election, hoping to be the party's nominee for mayor of Baltimore in the November 3rd general election.

Mr. Swinton brings to the mayoral race his experience over the past 5 years as an environmental justice researcher & community organizer for Energy Justice Network.  The Philadelphia-based not-for-profit group led the charge for passage last spring of the Baltimore Clean Air Act, which, pending a ruling in a federal law suit, could severely restrict or possibly shut down the city's largest air polluter, the Wheelabrator trash incinerator, and the nation's largest medical waste incinerator. Mr. Swinton's campaign also addresses a wide range of issues facing the city, from violence reduction and criminal justice reform to transit improvements and economic development.

Mr. Swinton grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He received his B.A. in environmental studies and political science from Winthrop University in Rock Hill in 2010. He received his Masters in nonprofit management and social entrepreneurship from the University of Baltimore in 2017. 

At 31, Dante Swinton is the youngest candidate in the mayor's race.  He lives in Baltimore.

More information about Dante Swinton's bid to become Baltimore's next mayor can be found on his campaign Website, dcs4bmore.org.  

Photo courtesy of Carter for Congress 2020

Today, another in our series of Conversations with the Candidates. Tom's guest for the hour is State Senator Jill P. Carter, one of the Democratic candidates running to fill the the vacancy in the 7th Congressional District created by the death of Representative Elijah Cummings. Twenty-four Democrats and eight Republicans have filed to run in a special primary election on February 4th. 

Senator Carter represents District 41 in the Maryland Senate, a seat she’s held since April, 2018. Before moving to the Senate, she served in the MD House of Delegates for 14 years; she was only the third African-American female attorney to be elected to the Maryland General Assembly.  She also served as the Director of the Baltimore City Office of Civil Rights during the Pugh Administration. 

By Nate Pesce / Maya for Congress

 Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is a public policy consultant who holds a doctorate in political science.  She’s the former head of the Maryland Democratic Party and she worked for several years on Capitol Hill.  For a brief period, she was a candidate in the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race. 

Maya Rockeymoore Cummings is 48 years old.  She lives in Baltimore’s Madison Park neighborhood, on the west side.