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Brown has lost this Democrat's vote

I woke up on the first day of early voting in Maryland to a depressingly familiar front page headline in The Sun — "Race for governor resorts to untruths" (Oct. 23). With it came the usual mix of disgust, anger and frustration that I have felt every day of this gubernatorial campaign, which has been called the most negative in the nation. As a Democrat who resides in Baltimore City and who cares deeply about the direction of our city and our state, much of this frustration is caused by the incredible missed opportunity on the part of Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

During the primary I was an enthusiastic supporter of Del. Heather Mizeur. A year ago at this time, I had never heard of Delegate Mizeur, and then I went to a small house party on the recommendation of a friend, and I was so impressed with the passionate and eloquent way she spoke about the issues of the day and the practical, creative, collaborative and sometimes controversial ideas she introduced to pay for the programs she was proposing. Heather Mizeur put her ideas and opinions out there clearly and enthusiastically, saying to each Maryland voter: here is what I think and why. Her enthusiasm and positive approach to complex problems was infectious, and she went on to wage an inspiring campaign based on her passionately held progressive beliefs, winning 21 percent of the vote despite being overwhelmingly outspent by her better known opponents.

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But as a Democrat, I woke up on June 25 and accepted the fact that Mr. Brown had won the party's nomination. And as a Democrat, I planned on voting for him as I have always done. Anthony Brown had my vote. And then I stepped back and watched carefully what he did after winning the nomination, the way he campaigned. Had I been influenced by the incredibly positive, issues-driven, innovative, courageous, bust-your-heart-wide-open campaign that I witnessed Heather Mizeur run? Absolutely. And was that a lot for Mr. Brown to live up to? Absolutely. And what has he done since June 25? Well, instead of taking a page from the positive campaigning of Delegate Mizeur, instead of taking that wide open and incredibly delicious 2-to-1 Democratic majority enjoyed in the state of Maryland and soaring — getting out there with passion and hope and crowing from the rooftops about all of the policies he is excited about enacting as governor and why — he went in a completely opposite direction with the most negative attacks imaginable.

No, I take that back. It is beyond belief what Mr. Brown has done with the incredible opportunity he was given in June. The way he has squandered it, wasted it, made a mockery of it — words cannot hope to do it justice. And even if one could, for a moment, put the nasty, distorted, fear-mongering negativity aside, whenever the lieutenant governor is asked about policy details or issues that move him and matter to him, his eyes go empty and he resorts to obviously memorized canned statements put together by some ad hoc committee of political aides. Do I, as a Maryland citizen, deserve better than that? Do we all? Again, absolutely.

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In the last three months, Mr. Brown has lost my vote, piece by piece and that is on him. I can't endorse the daily flaunting failure of integrity, heart, humanity and hope that is his campaign. I can't hold my nose and vote for him as that would be a signal to every other candidate that it is OK to squeak by with campaigns so bankrupt of any substance and passion on real issues because they know that enough people will sigh and shake their heads but vote party line. None of us can afford that kind of cynical leadership in today's world. I will not vote for Anthony Brown.

I will not vote for Larry Hogan, as I could never endorse a person who has entered a race for governor with so little care, thought and attention to all of the social issues which he must grapple with as the leader of a state. I will not write in Heather Mizeur's name, although I know that her time will come. I will look at the other candidates for the first time in my life and vote for the best alternative.

I stay positive, and I will work to let the next governor of Maryland know the causes that are important to me. And in the meantime, I will do all that I can in my own personal world to help others, to appreciates the gifts I am given and not squander them and to emit positive energy. In other words, I will enact just a few of the lessons I learned from Ms. Mizeur. And that is what we should all expect from our political leaders.

Jeanie Ferretti, Baltimore

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