Former prosecutor Marilyn Mosby says her recent win over incumbent Gregg Bernstein in the race for Baltimore City State’s Attorney won’t change her presence on the streets of Baltimore City. There are still about four months until the general election on Nov. 4 (fewer if you consider early voting, which runs October 23-30). Mosby (D), will likely take on Baltimore City defense attorney Russell Neverdon (I), for the job.
Mosby says she’ll be using that time to continue reaching out to the people of Baltimore. “I [was] involved in the community . . . before I ran for elected office,” she said. Mosby said she, her husband, and members of the community hit the streets at 7 p.m. every Friday night for a prayer vigil. “We have to have that consistency,” she said. “Educating voters, attending festivals, attending farmers’ markets – going across the city as much as we can.”
For his part, Neverdon must work double duty. He must continue collecting signatures to get on the November ballot, while working to connect with voters and get them to the polls. Neverdon won’t say how many signatures he has, but says he’s confident he will have double the roughly 4,000 needed for a spot on the ballot.
Neverdon changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent to run for this position. He says that he did it to give city residents more of a choice.
“There are more than just Democrats in Baltimore,” he said, noting that the city is made up of many different kinds of people – people of different nationalities, genders and sexual orientations.
“This is not about me,” Neverdon said. “I really need people to realize that your vote has value. You need to be a part of the process so that people understand that you mean business.”
He says his campaign has teams of people working with citizens to get them register to vote. He also does expungement education workshops to help people clean up their criminal records.
Although the Mosby/Neverdon race is still heating up, both Antonio Hayes and Cory McCray took their districts by storm, earning seats as House of Delegates representatives of Baltimore’s 40th and 45th districts respectively. Both men credit their dogged determination to get face time with as many constituents as possible with their success.
“Social media is an outlet that can motivate enthusiasm around a campaign. But, people have to see you at their door beyond anything else. Meeting somebody on their turf, in their neighborhood – that beats anything.” Hayes said. “That’s why [our] campaigns were so successful.”
McCray made a name for himself while campaigning by trying to find immediate help for people – from contacting the city to fix ongoing concerns to providing on-the-street consultations. It’s something he says he will continue to do. “In Baltimore City we want results immediately. I think it’s like building a relationship. It’s not just about elected officials, it’s about neighbor helping neighbor,” he said.
Hayes said outreach is his greatest post-election priority. “I haven’t been pleased with voter participation, not only in the 40th District, but city-wide.”
He is combining his online presence (he has a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account) with knocking on doors to encourage people to get out and vote. If they can’t readily identify a reason why, he wants to help them identify a reason. “First I was selling who I was,” he says. “The second phase is less about voting for me, but encouraging people to participate in the process because it’s important to them.”