In Maryland, the office of governor has extraordinary institutional power, more than in all but a handful of states. Choosing the best person to serve in that influential position is often the most important and impactful decision Maryland voters make every four years. This year, it may also be among the easier choices on the ballot. The Baltimore Sun endorses Wes Moore — an author, entrepreneur, Rhodes scholar and U.S. Army veteran — to serve as Maryland’s 63rd governor.
The Baltimore Democrat, who turns 44 on Oct. 15, has demonstrated a solid understanding of the issues facing state government. He has the kind of energy, compassion and charisma that inspires others, and should serve Maryland well. He also would be the first African American person to be elected to statewide office, other than as lieutenant governor on a two-person ticket, a milestone that’s been too long coming. Moore’s running mate, Aruna Miller, 57, is also a strong candidate. The two-term, former state delegate from Montgomery County, has long been an advocate for working families, the environment and STEM education, and would represent the first Indian American elected to statewide office.
What makes this an even more obvious choice for Maryland voters, however, is that Mr. Moore’s Republican opponent, Del. Dan Cox, is ill-suited to the job. Maryland’s outgoing Republican governor, Larry Hogan, has repeatedly questioned the mental stability of the Donald Trump-endorsed Cox. Indeed, Cox’s own efforts to pivot away from his extremist, election-denying background have been halfhearted at best, as demonstrated by the 48-year-old Frederick County lawyer and one-term delegate’s effort to thwart early counting of mail-in ballots — a position not only at odds with the state election board but with common sense.
There are other candidates whose names will appear on the ballot, including David Lashar, who heads the Libertarian ticket, and Nancy Wallace, who does the same for the Green Party. None comes close to the Moore-Miller team in life and professional experience, aptitude or ambition, however.
Moore-Miller also offer the best hope for real commitment and investment from the state in Baltimore City. Moore lives in the city and has donated his time to it as a volunteer. As governor, he has pledged to put Baltimore at the center of conversations about the health of the state and to tackle the tough issues — including education, transportation and public safety — in partnership with city leadership. Our current governor has too often sought to distance himself from Baltimore and its problems, including a legacy of systemic racism that has resulted in ongoing issues of crime and poverty. The city cannot afford another disengaged governor, nor can Maryland. We are confident that the Moore-Miller team will work to address Baltimore’s core needs and to leverage its assets to the benefit of the entire state.
It’s that kind of attention to detail that will ensure Maryland’s success. And on that front, we would offer some words of caution to Mr. Moore. The recent news that the water bill at his family’s residence hadn’t been paid in more than a year, accruing to $21,200, is troubling.
After The Baltimore Brew first reported the delinquent account, a spokesman for the Moores told The Sun that the family immediately paid the bill “out of an abundance of caution while they review the accuracy of the charges” and that they were unaware of the outstanding balance — despite not having paid a monthly water bill since March of 2021, according to online city records.
Being unaware is also the reason Wes Moore gave in 2013 after The Sun reported his family was erroneously receiving a Homestead Property Tax Credit on a Riverside Avenue property and owed back taxes. “We really just did not know,” he said at the time.
Simply put, these are things he should know, as other homeowners do, especially if Maryland residents are to have confidence in his decisions while guiding the state and developing its budget. We expect that the unpaid water bill — and the news reporting on it — will serve as a lasting reminder to this. There were many qualified people in the Democratic field running for the primary nomination, and Moore won. He owes it to voters to live up to their expectations.
The Baltimore Sun editorial board endorses political candidates in races that are of particular importance to our readers for reasons such as the critical nature of the work, the tightness of the election contest and the dearth of available information that occurs when an office has no incumbents competing for it. We make our conclusions after reviewing a range of data, including: the candidates’ campaign materials and responses to The Sun’s voter guide questionnaire, news stories written about the candidates, debates they’ve participated in, and interviews we’ve conducted with community leaders or the candidates themselves.