The Democratic candidates for governor on Monday fanned out across the Baltimore-Washington corridor to rally voters to support their campaigns in Tuesday’s primary election for Maryland governor.
The two front-runners in the Democratic gubernatorial nomination — Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and former NAACP president Ben Jealous — stopped in Baltimore and expressed confidence in their chances when polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary will face Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in the November General Election.
At Lexington Market downtown and R House in Remington, voters posed for pictures with Baker and asked how he would reduce violence in the city and improve schools.
In Northwest Baltimore, Jealous knocked on doors and discussed the same issues with voters on their front porches.
Glenn Wallace, 55, works as a custodian at Lexington Market and said he plans to vote for Baker because he believes the candidate will “cure the violence” in his neighborhood.
“When I was coming up, we had a lot of recreation centers and stuff like that,” Wallace said. “We do not have that anymore for the children. All the children see is corners for them to be on … and a lot of kids make it their life.”
As he posed for a picture beside Baker, Wallace paused to answer a phone call from his wife, saying: “Let me call you back — I’m taking a picture with Mr. Baker.”
“You did the right thing” by answering, Baker said, smiling.
Baker cancelled at least one Tuesday morning campaign stop because his wife, Christa Beverly, who has early onset dementia, was briefly hospitalized. The candidate is his wife’s primary caregiver.
Audiel Vera, 35, had a somewhat testy conversation with Baker, encouraging the candidate to spend more time seeking the votes of black, Latino and lower-income Baltimore residents. Baker said he had campaigned throughout the city and state, earning an “I’ll look you up” from Vera before Baker left the food court.
“There needs to be something for the Latino community,” Vera said after Baker departed. “I’m focused on black and brown issues.”
“He came to the R House — he should go to the hood,” Vera said. “I just paid $15 for shawarma and $6 for a Natty Boh — do you think I’m struggling?”
Walking around a quiet neighborhood in a blue suit and red tie, Jealous said his campaign has an “incredible wind behind our backs going into the home stretch” and touted endorsements from labor unions.
Jealous sat on the front porch of Phillipe Williams, 37, a mechanic for the Maryland Transit Administration, who said the most important issue for him was improving the city’s infrastructure and creating more jobs.
Williams said he had never seen a politician campaign in his neighborhood in the three years he has lived there and found Jealous to be sincere.
“For any politician to come out, that’s something that on a grassroots, neighborhood level, I can respect,” Williams said.
Julio Leila, 42, said from his front porch that he wanted the next governor to close charter schools and invest in city schools. He said he was debating between Jealous and lawyer Jim Shea, but expects Jealous to come out on top on Tuesday.
Later, a local minister pulled over in her car to speak with Jealous.
Jealous said he was committed to ending gang violence in Baltimore and enacting a progressive agenda. When Baker’s name came up, Jealous said his opponent “would get lost driving around Baltimore.”
Three of the other candidates hit Metro stations on Monday to greet voters.
State Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Montgomery County Democrat, and his volunteers greeted commuters in Prince George’s County at the Greenbelt Metro station.
Baltimore lawyer Jim Shea was in Montgomery County engaging with voters at the Shady Grove Metro Station.
And entrepreneur Alec Ross met with commuters at the New Carrollton station, saying on Twitter that he had “MARC + METRO commute between Baltimore & DC for 13 years.”
Krish Vignarajah, a former policy advisor to First Lady Michelle Obama, posted a video of herself with volunteers. In it she said she was “within striking distance” and encouraged her supporters to go to the polls.