Sneed concedes in the Primary, yet her candidacies support surges for the General Election
The September 13th Primary Elections of 2011 may have had a historically low turnout in Baltimore City, with not much excitement amongst the electorate to come out and vote for the top of the ticket; however, a few candidate’s push for elected office that came up short in September, are hoping for better luck in November?
Shannon Sneed, the 30-year writer and producer at WJZ TV-13, who entered the political fray for the first time this year in order to seek change in the 13th district located in East Baltimore, came up short in her Primary challenge against an entrenched incumbent. However, the excitement behind her possible candidacy has not died down and seems only to be gaining momentum instead of losing it? After the numbers came trickling in on Election Night, Sneed found herself trailing by only 15-votes, after leading the pack almost the entire evening. Yet, after the Board of Elections had a chance to calculate the added absentee and provisional ballots submitted through mail and various other methods, Sneed ended up losing by a total of 43-votes!
Warren Branch, the first term councilman – who’s brother Talmadge is a well-liked leader in the House of Delegates, representing the area surrounding Warren’s council district as a delegate in the 45th legislative district – who shies away from verbal leadership and constituent related services, may have only beaten Sneed by God’s grace, along with some added help by three other contenders who may have taken away the votes Sneed needed to topple the Branch machine. For many political analysts believed that had the trio of Kimberly Armstrong, Antonio Glover and Gamaliel Harris Jr. not had been in the race, or had backed out and threw their support behind Sneed, that the young community activist – who comes across more as a PTO advisor or loving parent or sister like figure – would have easily pulled off the upset?
However, despite Sneed’s concession on Facebook, or her comments to this Examiner that she “believed it to be a great opportunity to effect change in the district and that she would now continue working with Councilman Branch and community leaders to improve the lives of those who reside in this downtrodden district” – she now has a growing base of district voters, as well as citywide leaders and supporters, who are encouraging the 13th district voters to Vote Sneed in the General Election, through a well organized and highly publicized write-in effort. Though Maryland does not allow a candidate who loses in the Primary, to then register as an Independent or other third-party candidate that would have their names appear on the ballot in November; it does allow for those individuals to submit their names as a write-in candidate, which would then allow for voters to go into the voting booth and write-in the last name SNEED, thus allowing for her to possibly still be able to become victorious during her first electoral process.
“Though it is a very hard process to ensure that the usually ‘lazy voter’ goes into the booth and actually writes-in the exact last name of the candidate waging this type of candidacy, with the voter support being the catalyst that is driving this effort, rather than the actual candidate; anything can happen,” says GCOMM Media election analyst Shaun Louis. “Most loyal democratic voters’ who pushed Branch over the top, usually don’t show up in the General Election, as Baltimore has a long tradition of seeing the Primary-elected Democrat win easily in November. Yet, we have yet to see someone who’s run such a close candidacy in the Primary election, who is also a Democrat, though a different type of change Dem, who is able to now get the votes of Republicans, Independents, Greens and other third party voters, along with not having the unfortunate circumstance of three other challengers eating up the anti-incumbency vote – which makes for possibly the ‘Perfect Political Storm’?”
However, despite the strong surge of her supporters Mrs. Sneed has yet to consider such a candidacy, which would also mean more time, energy and added finances to possibly be successful. “Though Shannon is certainly appreciative of the love and support she has received throughout this campaign, including those who now continue to support her efforts; she has yet to make a decision as to what’s next, except that she wants to ensure that whatever she does is in the best interest of the people who reside in the 13th district,” says campaign supporter Kimberly Wiggins. With that said, some of those mounting this write-in candidacy aren’t actually taken her decision for granted, yet seem to be pushing forward with, or without, her approval. “We believe she represents our interests, and the interests of the 13th district in its entirety,” said one of the main organizers. “We’d like to obviously have her support and commitment to this effort, yet we are willing to put up the needed money, signs, mailers and even poll workers on Election Day to make sure that the voters know they still have a choice for proper representation in the district – so they know they aren’t resigned to having another four years of do nothing representation by Branch!”
The confirmed candidacy of Michael Eugene Johnson in the 9th council district has many heads turning, as the longtime community activist and council challenger who came in fifth during the Primary Elections, now seems content on mounting a one-on-one challenge to the first time incumbent. “I have received so many calls from friend’s, family and strangers, to continue in the electoral process; and after many conversations with people throughout the district neighborhoods, today I have become an official write-in candidate for Baltimore’s 9th district city council seat,” said Johnson, at a September 25th press conference before a lively crowd of district supporters, standing in front of a new write-in banner his campaign created.
Asked by this publication as to the extreme difficulty in mounting such a campaign, and rationalizing the fact that he did not come in as the runner up, as he did in years past against the challengers mother who was the past 9th district rep for 27-years before her retirement last year and Johnson says the following: “It is the proper response when we see that the current primary winner was rejected by over 65% of the people who came out to vote, while the very crowded and qualified candidates in the race split up the much needed votes to unseat what is evidently not the choice of the people.” And he will most certainly need the support of the three candidates that received more votes than he did in the Primary, for if he receives the amount of votes as Abigail Breiseth, Chris Taylor and Professor John Bullock did on September 13th, along with the close to 500 votes he [Johnson] received himself, then he could possibly knock off sitting Councilman and the Primary selected Democratic nominee, William ‘Pete’ Welch – however they are a lot of ‘ifs’ to overcome!
Another ‘if’, possible Democratic candidate who lost her seat yet may launch her own independent write-in candidacy is two term councilwoman Belinda Conaway – who was the only incumbent to lose her seat in this year’s Primary Election. The daughter of ‘Papa Bear’ Frank Conaway, Baltimore City’s Court Clerk who leads the family dynasty with a Delegate as a son, an elected wife who serves as the city’s Register of Wills, as well as his 8-year council veteran daughter who now has no other choice but to mount such a campaign in order to keep the entire family in elective office. After contacting the councilwoman this morning, she declined to comment in regards to the possibility of her filing as a write-in candidate, yet word on the street is strong as to her possibly being the strongest of each of the candidates in terms of having a great chance of pulling it off. “Belinda has strong name recognition, especially compared to that of Nick Mosby; who while he did a wonderful job of mobilizing Primary support and poll coverage, to do such twice in one election cycle is a hard thing to accomplish,” said GCOMM Media’s Louis. “It will take a lot of hard work, along with a lot of coordinated manpower and increased finances to pull it off, yet while we know that Frank can bring forth the money needed for Belinda, the question would be how much is the Mayor, and Governor O’Malley, willing to put up on behalf of Mosby – who has been seen as the administration’s golden boy?”
After speaking with the 7th district’s Democratic nominee Nicholas James Mosby, he spoke strongly to the point as though the rumors were no surprise to him and whether they were true or not, he was not taking any election, Primary or General, lightly! “Hassan, I am a different type of candidate, and had a different type of race to run over in the 7th than did others from around the city, as I had an opponent who was an incumbent with great citywide name recognition; therefore, I never allowed myself, nor my team, to be presumptuous,” said a cool, calm and collected Mosby. “We will continue preparing for this General Election race as if it’s the Primaries all over again!”
Each campaign remains coy as to the possibility of mounting such a difficult election campaign, for as stated before in this article, a write-in candidacy is usually never won, for most voters are lazy and barely want to push the button for the person listed on the ballot in front of them, let alone have to write the persons last name in as well. And while these Democratic nominees see this process as another possibility at victory in this year’s 2011 election process, you also have other Independent candidates who were not fortunate enough to gather enough registered voter signatures to be placed on the ballot as an Independent candidate; therefore they too will have to file as write-in candidates in this year’s General Election. They are Catalina Byrd for Mayor, Urcille Goddard in the 4th council district, as well as Adam Van Bavel in the 10th council district.
Whatever the case, and whatever the party affiliation, this certainly makes for good politics, and great press! Therefore, we wish them all the best and this Examiner will continue to keep the readers informed of this very interesting dynamic!
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