Mosby mops up the Conaway mess while Sneed tries to sneak past Branch
We are 14-hours past the worst Primary Election in Baltimore City history, at least in terms of voter turnout; as only approximately 70,000 Baltimore City voters, or 22% of the 324,000 or so eligible Primary voters came out to vote yesterday – which is less than the turnout of Sunday’s Ravens v Steelers football game! The sad part of this atrocity is that while most of the incumbent legislators who have been blamed for the continued ills of this City actually won re-election for another four years; as more people seem to be complaining about the low turnout on social media sites, than the numbers of those who actually came out to vote yesterday – which means they were a part of the problem, not the solution?
With one of the most crowded fields of highly qualified Mayoral candidates in Baltimore election history, it still did nothing in relation to inspiring and motivating the electorate to the polls? As charter-appointed Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won her first full term as Baltimore’s Mayor last night – similar to her appointment to elective position as Council President in 2007 – she now becomes the undisputed leader of a City still struggling with multiple hi-profiled and serious issues of budgetary concerns, educational and employment voids, along with a rising property tax structure and a discombobulated zero-tolerance-styled police department. However, those who did not vote for the Mayor, need to respect the position, and more so respect the voters who voted her into the position, and assist this administration in moving this City forward; even if she was classless and too arrogant to even mention her opponents and thank them for a fierce election process?
While Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan Pratt (unopposed) and Council President Bernard ‘Jack’ Young (who received more votes than any other challenged Democratic candidate, including the Mayor) each dominated the citywide top of the ticket; other positions were up for grab yesterday as some are still being decided? First off, the most talked about election this afternoon will surely be that of the 7th council district, which seems to be almost a certainty that Nicholas Mosby, the outside challenger; has beaten the two-term councilwoman Belinda Conaway, in a district thus far reporting 88% of the votes, with 21 of the 24 precincts reporting? As Mosby leads Conaway by 648 votes (2,747 to 2,099) in these ‘unofficial numbers’, with absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted; he seems primed to have won the seat against the woman who has come under fire over the past year due mainly to the investigative stories originated from this Examiner site, written by fellow Examiner colleague Adam Meister!
Conaway received a homestead tax credit for a house in Randallstown, clearly way outside the Baltimore City district lines in which she was elected to represent, as revealed by a Meister article. Conaway thereby followed suit by filing a $21-million lawsuit against the accurate reporting of Meister, by citing that Meister’s article contained “slanderous writings” while naming both Meister and the Clarity Media Co. owned Examiner publications in her suit. The claim, which was minor and somewhat under the radar to most area residents, took a life of its own when Belinda and her father filed the lawsuit and continued to talk about it on Frank Conaway’s WOLB 1010AM talk show; making Conaway the butt of many political jokes throughout 2011. She later dropped the lawsuit, too little to late, and was reported to have resorted to dirty tricks in filing an ethical investigation into Mosby by the state Comptroller’s office run by friend Peter Franchot! However, despite the back and forth between the two, Mosby stayed pretty much above the fray, remaining cool, calm and collected while addressing the needs of the voters and seemingly becoming the people’s choiceas well as this Examiners! Congratulations brother Mosby!
Also, another race of interest was that of the 13th district where former WJZ-TV13 writer and producer Shannon Sneed led almost the entire night before incumbent Warren Branch eventually took a 15-vote lead at close of voting. With such a close contest this race has not been decided as the official counting of the ballots begins tomorrow at the Board of Elections; where both candidates shall have representatives and lawyers on hand to possibly challenge absentee and/or provisional ballots along with being present as EVERY vote is counted. The soft-spoken, yet resilient, Sneed took on the machine of the Branch’s with not much money, yet rich in heart, desire and support; even getting the very important blessing of former Mayor Sheila Dixon who tried to garner support, financial or otherwise, from ValueMyVote2011 Freedom Fund Breakfast honorees and attendees two weeks before the election. With 100% of the 21 precincts reporting in the 13th, Sneed trails Branch 1,713 to 1,698; while other competitors Kimberly Armstrong, Antonio Glover and Gamaliel Harris garnered a combined 1,000 votes between the three, which would have more than likely went to Sneed and allowed her to win hands down? More to come on this race when it becomes final!
Also of note, though certain great candidates lost they had great showings such as 12th District candidate(s) Odette Ramos, who would have become the city’s first Latina elected official; as well as Devon Brown(21) who would have been the city’s youngest ever elected official. These two great candidates, along with the other great candidates in that race such as another young leader Jermaine Jones, as well as community leaders Ertha Harris and Frank Richardson; all should be proud of their service to this district as well as their campaigns; as it was just too much to overcome the name recognition of Carl Stokes. Other great young men running were 8th district candidate Dayvon Love, President of the Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle; garnered a few hundred votes yet not enough to overcome the re-election of Helen Holton? My man and the Examiner endorsed council candidate Brandon Scott trounced his competitors in the 2nd district becoming one of the youngest ever elected council reps, included in a group that consists of 11th district councilman William ‘Bill’ Cole-who ran unopposed- as well as Scott’s mentor and ally Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake!
Incumbents James ‘Jim’ Kraft, Robert ‘Bobby’ Curran, Bill Henry, Sharon Green-Middleton and Mary Pat Clarke each won another term as all were also endorsed by this Examiner. The two closest races seemed to that of the 3rd with Curran and former Baltimore City School Board member George Van Hook, as well as the 4th district race between freshman councilman Henry and former appointed state delegate Scherod Barnes. Each won handily (3,499 to 1,346 in the 3rd) (3,589 to 2,259 in the 4th) while even the challenged freshman in Northwest Baltimore, Sharon Middleton took on two challengers yet came out on top with ease, doubling up both of her opponents votes combined! (3,262 SGM, 1,156 Mark Hughes and 731 Rhonda Wimbish). Also winning was “100-term” councilwoman Rochelle ‘Rikki’ Spector, who easily glided to victory over four great candidates, the woman who has served this district since the year after I was born in 1976, (she took over her husband’s seat in 1977 as he got tapped for a judgeship) which made many shake their heads in disbelief; as she also does NOT live in the district she is elected to represent, admittedly living downtown with her ‘sugar-daddy’?! SMDH…
One of the more interesting and the most crowded districts in terms of candidates was the lowest performing district in terms of voter turnout and registration historically, while leading the city in terms of having the most social and economic problems such as vacant housing, unemployment and blight – the 9th council district. The long-time incumbent Agnes Welch retired last year while having her son Pete serve the remainder of her term, William ‘Pistol Pete’ Welch seemed like the possible victor based on name recognition and too many candidates in the field. This analysis of this race was right on, as Welch won last night while the rest of the field divided up the anti-incumbent vote with none of the challengers receiving more than 700 votes – as Welch garnered only 1,655 total votes. The Baltimore Sun endorsed the white candidate – who did not even fill out the Sun’s questionnaire form yet was reportedly walked into the Editorial Board rooms by Senator Bill Ferguson and received the endorsement – Abigail Breiseth; as the Teach for America candidate had the most votes of all challengers with 661 votes. This district’s race (pun intended) should awaken the racial sleeping giant throughout the City of Baltimore, to allow black folk to realize that there is a continuous movement, led by white outsiders, which is well organized and strategically planned in getting these candidates elected to low turnout and depressed predominately black districts; in order for their folks to come in and buy up all our land and houses, accumulate all our resources while eventually pricing blacks out of the city – selling them a false sense of county living pride which will slowly erode and leave poor and despondent African Americans stuck out in the suburbs without a pot to piss in, nor window to throw it out? Congratulations Councilman Welch!
After asking multiple political analysts and pundits following last night’s results who they thought would run against Rawlings-Blake in 2015, it may have been a mixed bag of opinions and remarks, yet the candidate remained the same – Sheila Ann Dixon! This election seemed to have sickened many who were scratching their heads and wondering what does someone have to do just to get the majority of the disengaged voters out to the poll, the same in which they saw in 2008 for President Barack Obama. “There has not been an Obama type candidate in Baltimore, with the only candidate coming close being kicked out of office allowing for this corrupt administration to take over – and her name is Sheila Dixon,” said GCOMM Media Co contributor Shaun Louis. “Dixon cared about this city and every citizen in it, she did not bow down to developers, instead making them bow to her and the citizens of Baltimore; however, this current administration is the polar opposite and will dig this city’s grave over the next four years?” The question remains though, will she be warmly accepted by the super voters who always show to vote, as well as questioning whether or not she plans to make another run for Baltimore’s top spot?
“Well Hassan I’m not ready to begin thinking that far into the future, as I am just enjoying life day-by-day each time God blesses me to open my eyes each morning,” said the former Mayor. “I do want to congratulate those who won, and even those who ran a great campaign; as we all need to now come together and be committed to moving this city forward, as I’m hoping that those who were victorious understood the frustration in the voice of their constituents, putting selfish behaviors behind them and coming together in the spirit of democracy in order to ensure the success of this great City we call Baltimore!” After a lengthy discussion into her thoughts about the possible ramifications of such a low turnout and Dixon says she feels that ‘everyone, win, lose or draw, needs to come together and become ambassadors in reaching out to the citizens of Baltimore and relaying the importance of the vote and the critically important democratic process’!
After our discussion, along with other conversations with Baltimore political leaders, all seem to be in agreement that something needs to change in terms of the election process in Baltimore City. Being the only jurisdiction in a State that sees the other 23 counties having elections aligned with the Gubernatorial process, Baltimore needs to re-analyze the bang for the buck it receives out of spending so much to have a separate election. “It honestly makes no sense to have Baltimore’s process separate from the rest of the state, which really garners extreme animosity from other state legislators in Annapolis towards the City,” said Mr. Louis.
Another possibility is opening up the Primary Election process to begin having what is known as ‘open primary’s’ which would allow for all registered third party voters eligible to vote for the candidates in the race; which including those Independent (Unaffiliated) voters who are the second largest registered base of voters in Baltimore, would allow for such individuals to be candidates and voters in this early process; seeing the top two candidates face one another in the General Election – regardless of their party affiliation. This process has been supported and articulated by the Independent Movement Political Action Committee (IMPAC) for years now, along with exploring the possibility of on-line voting – possibly on social media sites or creating a voting app for easier accessibility of those too lazy to physically go to the polls?
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