xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

The void left by Kamenetz's death

As mourners paid respects to Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz on Friday, his wife Jill told the crowd of Maryland politicos she had recently warned her husband his campaign for governor was "killing him." (Ulysses Muñoz, Karl Merton Ferron, Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun video)

I read with interest your editorial of June 27 analyzing what you deem to be a shockwave to the Maryland Democratic Party chiefly as a result of the successful campaign of Ben Jealous to become the party’s nominee for governor (“How Ben Jealous won Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary — and what could lie ahead”). No doubt that the dynamics of Democratic politics have changed here with the State House occupied by a popular Republican governor. Nor is there any doubt that the national political landscape has been turned upside down, and Maryland is not immune to the national upheaval.

My problem with your analysis is that the editorial makes no mention of the void caused by the sudden passing of former Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz whose death occurred a mere seven weeks before the election. Based on Sun reporting at the time of Kamenetz’s death, he "consistently polled among the top three" Democratic contenders for governor and had accumulated $2 million more in campaign contributions than any other candidate. Moreover, The Sun reported that his campaign had made plans for $1 million worth of television ads apparently ready to be broadcast as the election drew near. He was formidable.

Advertisement

Your analysis asserts that Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker was the party establishment's candidate based on endorsements. But the Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and Attorney General Brian Frosh endorsements were from men who hail from suburban Maryland, Mr. Baker's backyard. Former Gov. Martin O'Malley's endorsement came after Kamenetz passed away. Your article on May 10, 2018 had identified Kamenetz as the "dominant" candidate from the Baltimore region. Mr. Baker may have solidified the establishment backing following the county executive's death (Indeed, Kamenetz’s running mate, Valerie Ervin, later endorsed Mr. Baker), but my point is that a case can be made that Kamenetz was a party establishment candidate, given his donor base, the large sums of campaign monies he amassed as well being a force in Central Maryland politics. Had Kevin Kamenetz lived, there were good odds that he may have bested both Messrs. Jealous and Baker. If that had occurred, you would have been hard pressed to conclude that the party had made a statewide left turn.

Mr. Jealous is a good candidate. I realize we can only deal with the here and now, but I am not so sure the leftward tilt you describe is authentic. I do not believe that the Democratic electorate necessarily swerved left in seven weeks but that the void that occurred meant that a large block of voters had to choose someone else and that name recognition is as likely a factor as any. Taking into account Mr. Kamenetz’s presence and absence in the election would have made for a more thorough post election analysis.

Advertisement

Joel C. Richmond, Baltimore

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement