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Republican Al Redmer for Baltimore County executive

Maryland voters face a lot of tough choices in this month’s elections. The Republican primary for Baltimore County executive is not one of them. Al Redmer is by far the best choice.

Mr. Redmer is well prepared for the role of leading the region’s largest local government. He has substantial experience in both the public and private sectors. A protege of the late Helen Bentley, he served in the House of Delegates, rising to become minority leader, and in two stints as the state insurance commissioner. In the private sector, he has run companies large and small. He has a nuts and bolts, pro-business vision for Baltimore County that focuses on strong management, public safety and education. His commitment to better customer service and increased transparency is welcome and necessary.

By no means do we agree with Mr. Redmer on all the issues, but between him and his opponent, Del. Pat McDonough, there is no contest. Mr. McDonough has moderated some of his more bombastic and bigoted instincts in this election — you hear only occasional derisive references to Mexicans from him on the campaign trail — but his record of race baiting, anti-immigrant rhetoric and Islamophobia is beyond dispute. Even putting that aside, his insistence that the county executive should take charge of education up to and including setting school disciplinary policies is a bad idea, and his talk about making Baltimore County a “law and order” jurisdiction is straight out of the 1960s.

Mr. Redmer, on the other hand, represents Baltimore County’s fiscally conservative traditions and offers experience in working across the political aisle, something that would be necessary if county voters elected the first Republican executive in nearly 30 years. He is in important ways cut from the same cloth as Gov. Larry Hogan, who has taken the somewhat unusual step of endorsing him in a competitive Republican primary. There’s good reason for that. Not only would Governor Hogan be able to count on Mr. Redmer for a strong working relationship should they both succeed in November, but Mr. Hogan stands a much better chance of winning that second term if he has an ally like Mr. Redmer on his ticket this fall.

But Republican primary voters don’t need to play the political angles to see who would be the better leader for the county. Al Redmer has the management ability to keep county government running efficiently and effectively, and he has the political skills to build support for his agenda. He has our endorsement.

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