Three law enforcement unions have endorsed Kim Yon Oldham for Howard County state’s attorney.
Oldham, a Republican and a deputy state’s attorney, is running against Democrat Rich Gibson in the November general election.
Gibson’s endorsements include several county and state current and former elected officials and the AFL-CIO union’s local chapter.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 131, the Howard County Police Officers’ Association Lodge 21 and the Police Supervisors’ Alliance jointly endorsed Oldham in September.
The groups have more than 500 members.
“I am particularly proud of these endorsements because the law enforcement officers in Howard County know my work here firsthand [and know] my work as a prosecutor and what it takes to be a chief prosecutor,” said Oldham, 47, of Ellicott City.
Throughout her 21-year career with the prosecutor’s office, Oldham has formed partnerships with the Howard County Police Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, the Maryland State Police, as well as the county’s detention center and health department, she said.
“We have been fortunate that we’ve had a 21-year relationship with Kim,” said Ed Simmons, president of Lodge 131. The lodge has 67 members, including both active duty and retirees.
For the endorsement process, Lodge 131 waits to be contacted by candidates and only contacts candidates if “we have no other option,” Simmons said.
Oldham contacted Lodge 131 but Gibson did not reach out, according to Simmons.
“We know every little about him,” Simmons said.
Gibson, who has been a prosecutor for 14 years in Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, said he did not reach out to Lodge 131 “but I didn’t reach out to them because that is now how endorsements typically work from entities.”
“Most entities reach out to the candidate, it’s not the other way around,” the 42-year-old Ellicott City resident said. “It is not normal practice for the candidate to reach out.”
The county’s police union did send out a questionnaire that Gibson completed and contacted the union’s president Chris Davis and asked to have a sit down chat, which the two had.
Davis did not respond to requests for comment.
Generally speaking the unions do not disagree on which candidates to endorse, Simmons said.
“At the sheriff’s end of things, we are looking forward to the continued partnership with the state’s attorney’s office,” Simmons said.
The law enforcement unions, all nonpartisan organizations, do not look at the political party of the candidate and “that is important to know that [what] is important to them is someone’s strong legal reputation,” Oldham said.
Gibson’s endorsements include outgoing Howard County Council members Calvin Ball, Jen Terrasa and Jon Weinstein; Doug Gansler, the former Maryland attorney general and Montgomery County prosecutor; Frank Turner, an outgoing state Delegate for District 13; Jim Robey, former State Senator for District 13; and Glenn Ivey, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney. He is also endorsed by the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Metro Baltimore Council, the largest federation of unions in the United States.
“I have been endorsed by an overwhelmingly number of elected officials in Howard County,” Gibson said. “The people who the community has seen fit to say they understand what we need now and when need to go forward.”
Gibson ran for state’s attorney in 2014 against incumbent Dario Broccolino, also a Democrat. Gibson lost in the primary, earning 7,012 votes to Broccolino’s 15,570.
Broccolino, who is not seeking re-election, has endorsed Oldham.
Oldham’s endorsements also include Gov. Larry Hogan, County Executive Allan Kittleman, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy and Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Lance G. Richardson, according to her campaign website.
Gibson had nearly $31,000 in his campaign account as of the Aug. 21 financial reporting filing date; Oldham had almost $30,000. The next campaign finance reports are due Oct. 15.