Over the past week, The Baltimore Sun editorial board endorsed candidates in four primary races of particular importance to our readers: the governor, comptroller, attorney general and the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office. We made our conclusions after reviewing the candidates campaign materials and responses to The Sun’s voter guide questionnaire, and conducting interviews with candidates and community leaders. Below is a roundup of our selections for the Democratic and Republican primaries.
Democrat: In a race that features a former state attorney general, two Obama administration cabinet secretaries, a bestselling author and the outgoing longtime state comptroller, one individual stands out above the others among those vying for the Democratic nomination: Tom Perez, 60. The former Montgomery County Councilmember, Harvard-trained civil rights lawyer, state and federal labor secretary and Democratic National Committee chairman is by far the most qualified and battle-tested of the candidates. He is The Baltimore Sun’s choice as Democratic nominee to be the state’s 63rd governor.
Republican: In the Republican primary, the choice is obvious. Former Frederick County Del. Kelly M. Schulz, 53, who has also served as Maryland’s labor secretary but more recently as commerce secretary, is the hands down pick in an otherwise not-ready-for-primetime field. While her campaign platform tracks GOP national talking points on matters of taxes, police reform and school choice, it is at least reality-based, and we believe there is common ground to be found across parties in her goals of improved public safety and educational opportunity, even if we don’t necessarily agree on the means to achieve them.
Democrat: The deep experience in legal strategy held by retired District Court Judge Katie Curran O’Malley, who spent 20 years on the bench and 10 years as a prosecutor, gives her an edge over her opponent. Judge O’Malley, 59, is well-acquainted with the law, knows what it takes to win across a variety of areas, can effectively strategize alongside office attorneys and is well-positioned to evaluate their advice. She also knows how to make difficult decisions every day, and when to push back and say “no” — a skill that cannot be underestimated in holding public office. She has The Baltimore Sun’s endorsement for attorney general in the Maryland Democratic primary race.
Republican: We endorse Jim Shalleck, 76. A one-time federal prosecutor and former assistant district attorney in New York who says he helped prosecute “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz, Mr. Shalleck has been in private practice for the past three decades. If elected he would focus on public safety and crime.
Democrat: Maryland needs a comptroller who recognizes that the economic health of the state hinges on a more prosperous Baltimore. Del. Brooke Lierman, 43, a Fells Point resident and Democratic candidate for comptroller, understands this. That’s among the reasons why The Baltimore Sun endorses her in the primary race. Not only has she represented the city’s 46th legislative district since 2015, but she has developed expertise in relevant issues such as transportation infrastructure and state pension finances, having served on the committees that oversee those matters. She would seek to modernize the comptroller’s online presence, advocate for taxpayers and serve as the “people’s advocate” on the Board of Public Works.
Republican: Outgoing Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, 60, is unopposed in the Republican primary.
Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office
Democrat: The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s office needs to be rebuilt, re-energized and refocused on its mission. To do that, it needs a person at the top whose sole ambition is to serve as state’s attorney, as it’s going to take years to reverse the office’s decline; someone who is well-known in Baltimore communities and well respected by colleagues, who can attract good people eager to do this very important work; and someone who listens to others and values collaboration, understanding that they can’t do it all themselves. Of the three Democratic candidates vying to run this office, Ivan Bates, 53, best represents what the office needs now: a stabilizing force whom others want to work for and with. He has our endorsement in the Democratic primary.
Republican: There are no Republican candidates in this race.
Baltimore Sun editorial writers offer opinions and analysis on news and issues relevant to readers. They operate separately from the newsroom.