The political world changed a week ago. Big time. Did you notice?
Republican Delegate Johnny Mautz beat Sen. Addie Eckardt in the State Senate primary in District 37. Eckardt has been an Annapolis mainstay for many years. Mautz is an up-and-coming politician. He will face Democrat Naomi Hyman.
Eckardt deserves gratitude and praise for serving District 37 so conscientiously as a delegate and state senator for 27 years with unquestioned integrity. Her constituent service was first-rate.
The Talbot County Council will change, possibly completely, maybe with Chuck Callahan and Pete Lesher still in their seats. It may become more environmentally friendly and anti-development. The Talbot Integrity Project played an outsized role in the outcome of the council elections.
In the Talbot County Council race, I urge voters to view candidates holistically. While the Lakeside at Trappe development is foremost in the minds of many, other issues are equally important, such as racial equality, economic opportunity, education and free speech.
Voters should look at Callahan’s stance opposing the removal of the Talbot Boys Monument and his unwillingness to give the NAACP a fair hearing, leading to a lawsuit. Also, voters should examine David Montgomery’s views on school curriculums and diversity.
Lesher, with deep ties to the county, often was the voice of reason during his first four-year term. Unfortunately, he was normally outvoted in discussions pertaining to Lakeside and Talbot Boys.
Maryland will have a new governor. It could be a Trump acolyte, Republican Delegate Dan Cox, or Democratic newcomer Wes Moore. The campaign will be raucous and rancorous. The media will have a field day.
The comptroller’s race will be a face-off between Del. Brooke Lierman and Harford County Executive Barry Glassman. Both are good, solid candidates. Lierman is an energetic, effective campaigner. Glassman, a former state senator, is a well-liked moderate Republican.
Heather Mizeur will face Rep. Andy Harris in the 1st District congressional race. Like the governor’s race, it will be contentious. Mizeur will continue targeting Harris’ extremist positions and reported support of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Harris will paint Mizeur as an unapologetic liberal unsuited to represent the conservative 1st District. More about this race in ensuing paragraphs.
Were I voting in November, I would support Mautz for state senate based upon his wholehearted support of non-profits and public works projects in Talbot County, his growing influence and savvy in Annapolis and his experience as a small business owner.
Wes Moore is my pick for governor. Despite his lack of government experience, he is charismatic, focused on education and business development and oriented personally to relationship-building. His military experience is a plus for me; he understands leadership.
Cox would take Maryland backward, upending cultural and education norms related to abortion and school curriculums. His relationship with the General Assembly would be constantly adversarial. Republican Governor Larry Hogan characterized him as “crazy” and predicted a Democratic victory in November.
Lierman, a Democrat from Baltimore, is known as a hard-working, persistent legislator respected by her colleagues. Her vision to include consideration of global warming initiatives in the awarding of procurement contracts as approved by the powerful Board of Public Works is spot-on, though likely hard to achieve. She would be the first female state comptroller if elected.
I have supported Lierman almost from the time she filed to run. My enthusiasm for her candidacy continues to grow. She faces a tough opponent in Glassman, who has friends throughout the state. The contest would be one well worth watching.
Rep. Harris is an embarrassment to the 1st District. He supported Trump’s illegal plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election. He opposed the certification of the election results. He carried a gun into the U.S. Capitol. He supports the undemocratic regime of Hungary’s Victor Orban. Harris must go.
Mizeur is a strong Democratic candidate who faces an uphill battle to unseat Harris, who benefits from the gerrymandered 1st District. Harris will attack Mizeur as out of step with right-wing politics on the Eastern Shore. She and her partner own an organic farm near Chestertown. She would serve the district as a congressperson who would lean center-left while attuned to the rhythm of life on the Shore.
Mizeur would represent the district with intelligence and common sense. She would enfranchise so many citizens now alienated by the actions and behavior of Andy Harris.
My political picks are unchangeable. Readers may wonder why I am announcing my selections now. The primary season gave me plenty of time to reflect. One other comment: turnout is critical to both parties. Failure to vote negates the gift of our democracy.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia.