Thursday, May 04, 2006

Maryland Politics & the Black Vote ...

Montgomery County Executive & Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan needed to find something dramatic to cut into favored Dem front-runner, rising political rock star and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (who is actually a lead singer and guitarist for a local Irish rock band). O'Malley did it first by picking Black Md. House Delegate Anthony G. Brown (D-Prince George's), who represents the nation's Black socio-economic mecca, and resolved not to make the dummy move like Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend (D) made in 2002 by picking a senior-aged White moderate Republican running mate (retired Admiral Charles Larson), hence woefully underestimating the clout of the African American electorate in Maryland.

That certainly isn't happening in 2006.

Duncan is following that lead by picking former Baltimore State's Attorney Stuart O. Simms. So, Duncan goes after O'Malley's hometown base, which is a sharp move. Duncan is almost certain to get an endorsement from former CBC Chair and Baltimore Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) - but, it remains to be seen how far these latest moves will split the Black political establishment in Maryland, since Congressman Albert Wynn (D) in Prince George's County could very well go with O'Malley to back homeboy Brown.

Plus, it may be too late based on his most recent polling numbers. And, it's all about locking Prince George's County during statewide races in Maryland and O'Malley has definitely done that by picking Brown. Still, the fact that both candidates are playing very close attention to the pulse of Black voters in Maryland is interesting. Maryland, in our book, is the most compelling Black political state in 2006, with two Black Gubernatorial running mates and two Black Senate candidates, all showing strong in the latest polling data. With Mfume suddenly rising, we may get that Senate race we've been wishing for.

Not certain what reigning Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich will do once he loses Steele to the U.S. Senate. Black Republicans in Maryland are few, so he'll have to dig deep in the party crates to find someone with appeal who has a credible track record. At this point, Ehrlich should be putting out feelers for another gig. We predict O'Malley being the next Governor of Maryland, barring any unforeseen political disaster or unveiled scandal.