All 373,171 registered voters in Baltimore City are free to cast ballots in the Nov. 4 general elections—if they haven’t already, since early voting opened on Oct. 23. It’s an opportunity many voters either couldn’t or didn’t take advantage of in the June primary, when 75,212 votes were cast in Baltimore City—23 percent of the eligible electorate of 295,302 registered Democrats and 30,341 Republicans. The rest of the city’s roughly 50,000 registered voters—a mix of Greens, Libertarians, and others, the vast majority of which decline to affiliate with any political party—were shut out of voting in the primary, the outcome of which, given the overwhelming proportion of registered Democrats in Baltimore, tends to determine the officials that ultimately win.
The general election, though, is when everyone gets to participate—even if some “races” aren’t races at all, but foregone conclusions because there is no competition. Such is the case, for instance, with the choices for state’s attorney and most courthouse positions, including for circuit- and appellate-court judges. While addressing the well-covered, statewide races this year, City Paper will focus on the local races that many city voters may know nothing about at all, since the media generally hasn’t covered them. Also suffering from a dearth of easily available and independent information are the statewide and city-specific law-making questions that ask for yes-or-no votes, which often prove perplexing when voters read them in the booths.
Here, then, is City Paper’s guide to competitive, under-covered local races and the seemingly cryptic questions Baltimore City voters will face on Election Day.
Democrats: Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman
Current Lt. Gov. Brown and Howard County Executive Ulman are banking on the prospect that Maryland’s voters want more of what they got during eight years under Gov. Martin O’Malley’s guiding hand. Together, their campaign committees reportedly have about $900,000 in the bank. Notably, both Brown and Ulman’s committees recently have pulled in a lot of funds from a group of Clearwater, Florida, companies related to Boston Finance Group, which also have recently made big-ticket donations to American Crossroads, one of the national GOP’s main “super PACs.” An independent Maryland super PAC backing Democrats, called One State, One Future, has also benefited the Brown/Ulman team, and has another $95,000 in the bank.
Republicans: Larry Hogan and Boyd Rutherford
Hogan, the head of a commercial real-estate brokerage who served as appointments secretary during the mid-2000s tenure of Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R), and Rutherford, a lawyer who served as Ehrlich’s general-services secretary, are hoping voters think, after eight years of Democratic management, that Maryland is ripe for a return to the Republican brand. The Hogan/Rutherford team chose to tap into Maryland’s public-financing system for elections, which severely curtails the amounts they can raise, but has reportedly resulted in nearly $125,000 in cash on hand.
Libertarians: Shawn Quinn and Lorenzo Gaztanaga
U.S. Navy veteran Quinn and Gaztanaga, a perennial candidate, are carrying the banner this year for Maryland’s Libertarian Party, which, among a host of other detailed proposals, wants less government spending, lower taxes, an end to subsidized development and special-interest preferences, more school choice and elected local school boards, and free-market environmentalism in which polluters are made to pay through civil litigation. Together, the two have nearly $900 in campaign cash on hand.
Democrat: Peter Franchot
As comptroller, Franchot oversees tax collection and generally serves as the state’s chief financial officer. Since ousting former governor William Donald Schaefer in the 2006 elections, Franchot has distinguished himself on the three-member Maryland Board of Public Works, on which he sits with the governor and the state treasurer, as being willing to openly criticize O’Malley’s priorities and the fiscal management of Maryland’s Democratic lawmakers. He also was an outspoken critic of the successful 2008 and 2012 drives to expand gambling in Maryland. His campaign has more than $1.2 million on hand, and notable among his recent top donors are numerous offshoots of the liquor-store chain, Total Wine & More.
Republican: William H. Campbell
Campbell, a former chief financial officer for Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs who currently is the chief operating officer of the management-consulting firm Atlantic Financial Navigation, lost to Franchot in the 2010 election with 39 percent of the vote. Campbell recently tweeted that Maryland is suffering from “economic Ebola,” and his website, whcampbell2014.com, decries the state’s “reckless increases in public debt” and calls for pension reform and “improving financial transparency and accountability,” because “Maryland’s true financial position is difficult to determine.” His campaign has nearly $3,500 on hand, with the conservative-supporting political group The Presidential Coalition among its top donors.
Democrat: Brian Frosh
A member of the Maryland General Assembly since 1987, serving as a senator since 1995 and as chair of the Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee since 2003, Frosh, a liberal with a strong environmental and social-justice record, won a bruising three-way Democratic primary battle in June, with nearly 50 percent of the vote. His campaign has nearly $235,000 on hand, and among his recent top donors are unions, lawyers, businesses, and the campaigns of fellow politicians.
Republican: Jeffrey N. Pritzker
Pritzker last ran for attorney general in 2002, when he lost a close Republican primary with 49 percent of the vote. At the time, he told City Paper (for which he’d provided occasional legal advice from 1977 to 1987) that his interest in taking the reins of what is essentially the law firm of the State of Maryland was kindled by outrage over then-Attorney General J. Joseph Curran III’s decision to have a private law firm, Peter Angelos’, rather than state-employed attorneys handle historic litigation against the tobacco industry. His campaign has about $1,300 on hand, and his website, pritzkerforattorneygeneral.com, calls for investigations into: Maryland’s troubled Affordable Care Act roll-out; the legality of various taxes, including its newly instituted “rain tax” to raise revenues for Chesapeake Bay pollution control; and the utility of various rules and regulations that hamper the state’s business climate.
Libertarian: Leo Wayne Dymowski
A Maryland Parole Commission hearing officer who used to work for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Dymoski lost the 2012 election in Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District with 3.2 percent of the vote. His campaign has $80 in cash on hand, and his website, vote4leo.org, emphatically calls for ending “drug prohibition” and “citizen disarmament” immediately, along with repealing the “rain tax,” abolishing speed cameras, disbanding Maryland’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, and stopping the practice of having a state trooper work as “chauffeur” for the attorney general.
Three Maryland Congressional districts include Baltimore City precincts: the 2nd (about 45,000 voters), which includes Brooklyn and Curtis Bay and some neighborhoods lining the city’s eastern boundary near Dundalk and Rosedale; the 3rd (about 105,000 voters), which snakes from the southwestern border eastward to the harbor, then takes in the city’s northeast corner and heads westward to the northwest corner; and the 7th (about 223,000 voters), the city’s biggest district spanning West Baltimore and a good chunk of the east side.
Democrat: Incumbent C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, III
Deemed a “liberal populist” by ontheissues.org, a website that tracks politicians’ records to get a read on their positions, Ruppersberger, a former Baltimore County executive, succeeded former U.S. Rep. Robert Ehrlich (R) in 2003, after Ehrlich’s successful bid for governor. His campaign has nearly $1 million in the bank cash on hand, with nearly three-quarters of his funds from PACs, while his top individual donors include space-transport firm executives Elon Musk and Gwynne Shotwell; Under Armor CEO Kevin Plank; Ollie’s Bargain Outlets president Mark Butler; and Baltimore-area developer Edward St. John. Among Ruppersberger’s notable positions during this term were his support of enhancing cyber security by sharing data with the government and raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016, and his opposition to giving workers compensatory time off for overtime and mandating that states must require welfare recipients to work.
Republican: David Banach
A cook for the chain-restaurant company Brinker International (most famous for the Chili’s brand), Banach, who graduated from Towson University this year, has almost $600 in campaign cash on hand. His website, davidbanachforcongress.com, states that “I am a poor man running against a rich man, in a district filled with poverty, unemployment, degrading education, homelessness, voter disenfranchisement, and endangered rights,” and that “it is time to stop this, and reverse it.” To do so, Banach outlines a lengthy set of policy prescriptions, touching on marijuana (“legalize it, and clear all non-violent criminal records related to marijuana”), discrimination (“LGBT’s should receive the same equal protection under the law as everyone else”), guns (owners should have “the right to carry his firearm in public, concealed or open carry,” once they’ve cleared all background checks and passed mandatory training), abortion (only “in cases of rape, incest, child molestation, or . . . where the mother’s life is in danger”), and security (“immediately end the Patriot Act” and “all spying on United States citizens” by the NSA).
Green: Ian Schlakman
A self-employed information-technology specialist, Schlakman is the largest donor to his campaign, which has almost $300 on hand. His campaign website, ian42.com, extols his “unique background in guiding people and organizations on complicated technology issues” and his “passion for innovating and reinventing our economy,” calling him “the right choice for our country’s future.” Schlakman helped found Civilization Systems, a Fells Point-based worker-owned IT cooperative that helps schools, and has been involved with local efforts, such as the alternative currency Baltimore BNote and the time-bank LETSBmore, to “create whole new systems of how people can trade with others even when they don’t have any money.”
Democrat: Incumbent John Sarbanes
A “populist-leaning liberal,” according to ontheissues.org, Sarbanes, the son of former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes, in 2006 won the open seat left when Ben Cardin successfully ran for U.S. Senate. With about $800,000 in campaign cash on hand, nearly all of Sarbanes’ re-election funds came from individuals, including large sums from his father; the beauty-industry power couple Nikos and Carol Mouyiaris; Aris Melissaratos, special adviser to the Johns Hopkins University President Ronald Daniels; and James and Theodore Pedas of Circle Management Co., a Washington, D.C., property-management firm. During his current term, Sarbanes’ efforts included sponsoring measures to extend federally subsidized student-loan rates until 2015, to enhance hydrogen-sulfide emissions restrictions, and to stop allowing de-licensed gun dealers to sell off their inventory as private collections, thereby sidestepping background-check requirements.
Republican: Charles A. Long
A retired instrumentation specialist at the Johns Hopkins University chemistry department, Long’s campaign has about $150 cash on hand. His website, charleslongforcongress.com, explains the foundation of his policy platform: that “the number one job for any member of Congress is to make sure citizens are safe from threats, whether they are from foreign terrorists, street crime, or poverty and sickness.” To do so, “we need to lower corporate taxes” to spur investment that “grows the economy and broadens the tax base” so that “Main Street can finally recover from the great recession that Wall Street caused.” Among his proposals are a treaty-based scheme for immigration reform involving neighboring countries, a two-step marijuana plan to decriminalize and study, then legalize and regulate the drug, health-care reform that makes Obamacare “live up to the promise of increased access to medical care and affordability,” a minimum wage that rises with inflation, ending the Clean Water Act loophole for fracking, and using tax incentives to promote renewable energy. “We need to stop partisan bickering and negotiate to get things done,” Long’s website declares, adding that “one-party politics doesn’t serve all the citizens of Maryland.”
Democrat: Incumbent Elijah Cummings
Cummings, who’s been in office since winning a tough 1996 special election to fill the seat vacated by Kweisi Mfume, is dubbed a “hard-core liberal” by ontheissues.org. His re-election campaign has about $925,000 in cash on hand, and the bulk of its funding came from PACs, though dominating his top individual donors are eight members of the Chouest family of Louisiana, famous for its Edison Chouest Offshore company providing service vessels for offshore marine operations, who all told gave his campaign $36,400. Among his notable positions during the current term were calls to end bulk-data collection under the Patriot Act, crack down on offshore tax havens by corporations, and repeal “stand-your-ground” laws.
Republican: Corrogan Vaughn
Vaughn is a perennial candidate in Maryland, especially for the U.S. Senate as a Republican in almost every race since 2000 (although he briefly filed to be the Green Party’s gubernatorial candidate in 2010), but his effort his year is decidedly low-budget, as his campaign-finance committee has recorded no activity. He’s a “populist-leaning conservative,” according to ontheissues.org, which documents his evolving views on affirmative action (which he supported in 2000, then opposed in 2008) and his complicated views on immigration (supporting federal aid to states with high immigrant populations, while proposing a constitutional amendment to make English the nation’s official language and opposing citizenship for children of immigrants who entered the country illegally). On his campaign website, vaughn4congress.com, Vaughn announces that his candidacy is “good news” for those who “are like-minded and feel our State and Country need help,” since his “solid conservative stands for traditional, Constitutional values” have “earned the support of a large and diverse body of constituents, faith leaders, members of Congress, business leaders, local elected officials, national figures, and bi-partisan voters.”
Libertarian: Scott Soffen
A senior investment officer for Atapco, the Baltimore-based firm that began as the Blaustein family’s petroleum empire, Soffen is also a director of Calvert Education Services, the distance-learning business that Calvert School sold to a private-equity firm last year, and serves on nonprofit boards at CASA of Baltimore, Planned Parenthood of Maryland, and the Center for Urban Families. He’s reported no campaign-finance activity, but his campaign website, whyvotelibertarian.com, summarizes his policy priorities: legalizing and regulating marijuana; preventing frivolous lawsuits by adopting a “loser pays” system; encouraging charter schools and vouchers or tax credits for sending kids to private schools; completely equal rights for LGB people; avoiding “mission creep” that leads to U.S. military over-involvement across the globe; paring down federal-government spending to allow for a balanced budget; easing the path to citizenship for immigrants; health-insurance deregulation leading to portable, renewable policies purchased by individuals rather than corporations; and ending government interference in free trade.
Maryland General Assembly44th District Senate Race
This former West Baltimore district’s boundaries were recently redrawn so that it now mostly represents Baltimore County residents in the Woodlawn, Catonsville, and Ellicott City areas. The city portion of the district, dubbed 44A, is a sliver of West Baltimore that has 23,183 registered voters (87 percent of them Democrats), and the county portion, 44B, has 52,187 registered voters (71 percent Democrats).
Democrat: Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
Nathan-Pulliam, a registered nurse, has been a 10th District state delegate since her 1994 victory, and now seeks the 44th District senate seat currently occupied by veteran Baltimore politician Verna Jones, who announced her retirement earlier this year. With about $47,500 in campaign cash on hand, Nathan-Pulliam’s recent top donors include the Baltimore City Sitting Judges Committee, Brian Frosh’s campaign, and the Realtors PAC. Among the bills Nathan-Pulliam successfully sponsored during her current term were measures to reform the licensing and certification of nurses and other medical practitioners; to create better access to oral chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients; to study improved ways to prevent lead poisoning; and to ensure electric companies take steps to reduce the public’s risk of electrocution.
Republican: Bernard Reiter
A retired correctional officer, Reiter in 2010 unsuccessfully challenged Jones, garnering less than 10 percent of the vote, and his campaign this year currently has a little less than $400 in cash on hand. His website, bernardreiter.com, declares that “a one-party system benefits the party, not the people,” and describes him as “not a politician,” but “a simple man” who wants to repeal a host of tax hikes, cut the income tax for the elderly, lower tolls and vehicle-registration fees, and require that bills in Annapolis be posted on Facebook before they are voted on.
45th District House Race
Spanning parts of East Baltimore from mid-town out to the city’s northeast corner, the 45th District has 70,092 registered voters, 82 percent of them Democrats.
Democrats: Incumbents Talmadge Branch and Cheryl Glenn, and primary-election victor Cory McCray
Branch has been a delegate since his 1994 election to the open seat left by former state Del. John Douglass, and, while running the government- and public-affairs firm Trocha, is the House majority whip in charge of getting House Democrats to vote as their leadership wants on key issues. His campaign committee is currently more than $55,000 in the red, despite significant recent contributions from the Alabama-based builder Capstone Building Corp. and developers Pennrose Development and BWI Technology Park Phase II LLC. His successful bills during his current term required use-of-stun-guns reports to be filed annually by law-enforcement agencies; created a transit-oriented development fund for Baltimore City; allowed casinos to exclude from their proceeds any money given away for free-play promotions; and instituted Baltimore City liquor-board reforms.
A longtime official with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, Glenn has been a delegate since the 2006 elections, when she won the seat vacated by retiring state Del. Clarence Davis while serving as the Carpenters’ lobbyist. With almost $33,000 in campaign cash, her recent top donors are dominated by unions, including the Carpenters’. Glenn’s successful bills during her current term include measures requiring schools to have carbon-monoxide detectors near fuel-burning equipment, to ease patients’ access to medical marijuana, to allow motorcycles to park at all public-parking facilities, and to allow victims of domestic violence or sexual assault to break leases.
McCray, an electrician, real-estate investor, and former organizer for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, helped found B.E.S.T. Democratic Club, which works to spawn a new generation of young Maryland politicians. After a hard-fought primary, McCray’s campaign committee has nearly $10,000 on hand, and its top recent donors include McCray himself, Frosh’s campaign, and Maryland Social Services Employees Local Union 112. His website, electcorymccray.com, puts forth his ideas on education (good pay and benefits for teachers and expansion of after-school and Head Start programs), jobs (living-wage requirements for state-subsidized businesses and more public funding for small businesses that hire locally), public safety (competitive pay and benefits for police, stiffer penalties for violent offenders, and more resources for ex-offenders), sanitation (fight illegal dumping and have youngsters canvass neighborhoods and report problems), and small business (pursue ways to level the playing field, so that small businesses get the same benefits as large corporations).
Republicans: Rick Saffery and Larry O. Wardlow Jr.
A self-described Libertarian activist and information-technology professional, Saffery ran unsuccessfully for 45th District delegate in 2010, coming in fourth with 4.5 percent of the vote. This time, his campaign has not raised or spent sufficient funds to warrant reporting. His platform, described at length on his website, ricksaffery2014.com, includes a strong pro-gun, anti-tax stance, along with proposals to end compulsory education, “legalize all drugs,” and “release non-violent drug offenders” from incarceration. His overarching approach is to live up to “a solemn obligation to provide a constitutionally functioning, debt-free government to the next generation,” the website explains, while emphasizing that “no one owes you a thing. Plain. Simple.”
Wardlow also ran for 45th District delegate in 2010, when he came in fifth with 4.2 percent of the vote and, as with Saffery, his current campaign is not sufficiently active for financial-reporting requirements to kick in. He’s vice chair of the Baltimore City Republican Central Committee, the GOP’s local organization, but his campaign website, larrywardlowjr.com, is a dead link, so the only readily available information about him is from the Baltimore Sun Election Center, where he describes himself as a “transportation coordinator” who is “frustrated with the business climate,” adding that “we need more manufacturing jobs because everyone not qualified for a white collar jobs [sic]” and that “we need a [sic] elected school board and term limit [sic] which I would sponsor as a bill.”
Libertarian: Ronald Owens-Bey
Barely has an election gone by in the past decade or two without Owens-Bey on the ballot, and though he’s run as a Democrat, a Republican, and a Populist in the past, he’s been sticking with the Libertarian Party for quite a while now, including in 2012 for U.S. Congress, in 2011 for Baltimore City Council, and in 2010 for 45th District delegate, when he came in sixth with 3.7 percent of the vote. Like Saffery and Wardlow, his campaign committee is financially lethargic, and he has no campaign website. In the past, he’s told City Paper that “I like the Libertarian Party because they are anti-war and they don’t discriminate against gays and lesbians—I am a tolerant human being,” adding that “first and foremost, I would be independent of the influence of the Democratic machine.”
46th District House Race
Covering all the city’s waterfront precincts and extending north to Route 40 in East Baltimore, and to the eastern, southern, and southwestern city boundaries, the 46th District has 66,120 registered voters, 63 percent of them Democrats.
Democrats: Incumbents Luke Clippinger and Peter Hammen, and primary-election victor Brooke Lierman
This is Clippinger’s first re-election campaign since winning the seat left open by retiring state Del. Carolyn Krysiak in 2010. An Anne Arundel County assistant state’s attorney, Clippinger’s campaign has about $7,200 in the bank, and among its recent top donors are the trial-lawyers association Maryland Association for Justice, the Baltimore City Firefighters Union Local 734, and Kaine Investments, a real-estate company headed by R. Brooke Kaine. Among his legislative achievements this term were measures to reduce penalties for minor pot-possession charges, prevent the incarceration of debtors, increase the threshold value of stolen property to prompt a robbery charge, extend the time prosecutors have to bring misdemeanor child-pornography-possession charges, and increase penalties for drivers whose cellphone use causes accidents. He also played a major role in helping to pass this year’s successful transgender-rights bill.
Hammen, the son of long-serving Baltimore politician Donald Hammen, works for the managed-care insurer Riverside Health and is one of the few Baltimore state legislators to chair a standing committee in the General Assembly, the House Health and Government Operations Committee. He’s been serving since his 1994 victory, when he took the seat left open by Anthony “Tony” DiPietro. With almost $54,000 in campaign cash on hand, his recent top donors are dominated by the nursing-home industry. Hammen’s current term has been marked by health-related lawmaking along with tweaking Baltimore City liquor laws and a measure instituting a photo-enforcement system to monitor and ticket too-tall vehicles.
A workers- and disabled-rights lawyer, Lierman is the daughter of former Maryland Democratic Party chair Terry Lierman. With a little over $46,000 in campaign cash, her top recent donors include the campaigns of Maryland U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (for whom her father served as chief of staff) and Virginia U.S. Rep. James Moran and Summit Global Ventures, a company her father founded. Her campaign website, brookelierman.com, provides an exhaustive list of her proposals, including ideas for Baltimore City liquor-board reform, fighting blight caused by vacant housing, local efforts to help address environmental problems, improving and expanding public transportation, spawning business innovation, and preventing housing discrimination based on source of income.
Republicans: Roger O. Bedingfield, Joseph “Joh” Sedtal, and Duane Shelton
In 2010, Bedingfield, a FedEx manager, lost his bid for 46th District delegate, coming in fourth with 14.1 percent of the vote. His campaign has about $225 cash on hand. Bedingfield’s website, roger446.com, explains that he’s running because “our current district representatives have pushed our state to the edge of the fiscal cliff with reckless abandon and it must be stopped,” because “they no longer represent us,” but “their party and their special interest groups while ignoring the very people they are supposed to represent.” His short-term fix is an immediate 10-percent across-the-board spending cut, along with eliminating “every new tax and fee enacted” in the past four years, followed by a long-term plan centered on eliminating “all assistance for illegal migrants in the state,” the subsidies for Maryland’s coastal wind-energy development, and the Red Line transportation project being planned for Baltimore. These proposals are just the start, though; Bedingfield’s site has a host of ideas for shrinking state government and drastically reducing taxes.
Sedtal started his University of Maryland law-school education in 2012, after teaching high school science and writing for the NolaVie, a culture-and-entertainment website hosted by the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, where he graduated from Tulane University in 2011. His campaign has not raised or spent enough money for reporting requirements to kick in. In August 2013, he was charged in Baltimore with two counts of malicious destruction of property and two counts of being intoxicated and endangering another person or property, but prosecutors declined to pursue the charges.
“What happened that night was a misunderstanding between myself and a homeowner in Little Italy,” Sedtal explains in an email, adding that “late one night, I was out with friends and accidentally knocked on a wrong door, startling the homeowner. No one was harmed, nothing was broken.” While he says “I understand that these charges will follow me for the rest of my life,” he asserts, “what is more unfortunate is the fact that there are many Baltimore City residents who cannot move on so easily from a situation like this. I, perhaps more than anyone, understand that people make mistakes, but I believe that given the opportunity, they can overcome them and thrive. As Delegate I will work tirelessly to correct the flawed criminal justice system that prevents individuals from getting jobs and housing because of small mistakes they’ve made in their past.”
Sedtal’s main issues on the campaign trail, he says, “are improving city education, reducing the tax burden on Maryland families, and improving Baltimore City’s transportation system.” His main selling point, he adds, is that “I’m an independent thinker whose primary focus is to reach across the aisle and work with both parties to find common sense solutions for the residents of District 46.”
Shelton, as longtime chair of the Baltimore City Republican Central Committee, is the GOP’s main leader in the city. A financial analyst at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Shelton ran for Baltimore City Council in 2011, losing to then-incumbent 11th District councilmember William Cole (D), 2,537 votes to 634, and in 2007 in the 10th District, when he got 506 votes to incumbent Edward Reisinger’s 1,644 votes. Like Bedingfield and Sedtal, Shelton’s campaign-finance activity hasn’t triggered the reporting requirements. His campaign website, duaneshelton.com, is a dead link, but when City Paper interviewed him during his 2011 outing, he espoused the local GOP’s platform—clean, transparent government; property-tax relief; community-based policing strategies; greater opportunities for addicts to enter drug treatment; more infrastructure investment outside the harbor area; merit-based raises for teachers; and building a two-party system in Baltimore—along with a few of his own: smaller class sizes, adequate facilities, and vouchers in public schools; affordable housing and homeownership incentives; and more rational economic development.
Baltimore City Sheriff
The only competitive citywide race is for sheriff, the elected official in charge of running the law-enforcement agency that serves court papers, executes arrest warrants and peace orders, transports and keeps custody of prisoners during trials, collects fines and court costs, and is generally responsible for aspects of city crime-fighting and traffic enforcement. All 373,171 registered city voters can participate, and here’s the partisan breakdown: 293,242 Democrats, 30,156 Republicans, 1,094 Libertarians, 1,215 Greens, 1,366 registered as members of other political parties, and 46,098 who decline to affiliate with a party.
Democrat: Incumbent John W. Anderson
In a quarter century as the sheriff of Baltimore City, despite occasional criticism and litigation over perceived mismanagement, John W. Anderson has thus far been immune to political challenges. In 2010, he easily survived a six-way Democratic primary race, taking 40 percent of the vote, then pulled in almost 80 percent of the vote in the general against Republican challenger David Anthony Wiggins, who’s his opponent again this year. In the three-way Democratic primary in June, he got 56.5 percent of the vote, but the fight was expensive, leaving him with about $1,600 in campaign cash on hand, with recent top donors including Douglas Paige, who lost his primary run for Register of Wills, and two candidates for judge of the Orphan’s Court, a victorious incumbent Lewyn Scott Garrett and a failed challenger Stephan Fogleman (who writes the Baltimore Beer Baron column for City Paper).
Republican: David Anthony Wiggins
After losing to Anderson in 2010, Wiggins ran unsuccessfully for Baltimore City Council president in 2011, getting 11 percent of the vote. In this run for sheriff, Wiggins’ fundraising doesn’t rate reporting requirements, but his website, davidanthonywiggins.com, puts forth an actual plan. Most importantly, Wiggins explains that he would take “deputies assigned to the current field enforcement units, domestic violence units, and child support enforcement and internal affairs units” and merge them into “a new Community Peace Keeping Division,” that would “promote peace in our communities,” both “within families and the broader community” and “within the governmental operation” of City Hall. Whatever his reform ideas are, though, voters will have to stomach his public rhetoric, which has included overt anti-Semitism and blame-the-victim stances in discussions of domestic violence involving former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice and his wife.