Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday she’s confident Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown will lead Maryland “in the right direction,” if he sails to victory in November’s race for governor.
Rawlings-Blake said she is pleased with the results of the primary election that handed Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, the Democratic nomination. The pair will face Larry Hogan, a former state Cabinet secretary, and his running mate, Boyd Rutherford, in the general election.
The mayor said Brown and Ulman ran “a very good race,” but she said she was concerned by Tuesday’s low turnout.
About 20.5 percent of eligible Maryland voters cast ballots Tuesday and during the state’s newly extended eight-day early voting period. That’s among the lowest turnouts in a primary election in at least 30 years.
“This was the first time we had the June primary, so we have to get people in the habit of this early primary, and we have a baseline now and something to build from,” Rawlings-Blake said.
Rawlings-Blake said before she would call for state leaders to move the primary back to September, she needs more information.
“The first thing you have to do is look at the reasons, the motivation for moving it to June,” the mayor said. “What were those reasons and based on that, did we reach any of those goals and based on those goals, do we have room to grow?”
Rawlings-Blake said the answer may be to work harder to educate voters about the change in the date and an increase in efforts to get them to the polls.
“There are a whole lot of factors to getting people to the polls, and not just the date,” she said.
The turnout in Baltimore City nearly mirrored the state at 21.38 percent, a number that could have been higher Rawlings-Blake said if the there were more competitive local contests.
“All politics are local and if you’re in a district that doesn’t really have a competitive race, we know that the voting turnout tends to be lower,” she said. “So you have more races that aren’t really competitive and it lends itself to the trend that we have.”
On the night’s biggest upset, Marilyn Mosby’s win over the incumbent Baltimore state’s attorney Gregg L. Bernstein, Rawlings-Blake said both contestants ran admirable campaigns and worked hard.
“Every four years we have an election and the public speaks and tells you in what direction they want to go,” Rawlings-Blake said. “Marilyn is smart, very hard working, and if she is the winner in the general, I am looking forward to working with her.”
Mosby, a former prosecutor and the wife of City Councilman Nick Mosby, will face defense attorney Russell A. Neverdon Sr. in November.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun