First lady Michelle Obama speaks to supporters during a rally for Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, in New Haven, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
The Anthony Brown-Ken Ulman gubernatorial campaign is bringing serious star power to Baltimore on Nov. 3 to host a “get out the vote” event in support of Brown as the state’s next executive.
First lady Michelle Obama will headline a rally at the War Memorial Building in downtown Charm City, and event organizers expect to have asignificant effect on voter turnout at the polls on Election Day.
“I think she will have a tremendous impact,” said U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), host of the event. “Her favorability remains very high. People across the political spectrum have great respect and admiration for her. And, among African Americans her ratings are off the charts.”
Two-thirds of Americans have a favorable opinion of the first lady, a rating that has remained mostly consistent throughout her time in the White House—unlike her husband, whose favorable ratings have fluctuated throughout his presidency.
Cummings said Mrs. Obama may be just the remedy needed to inject new life into what is expected to be an unmotivated electorate.
“I’ve heard some pessimism,” Cummings said of possible turnout at the polls. However, he said he personally sees signs of voter engagement.
“When I look at the numbers, we’ve already surpassed the number of early votes in 2010,” he said. “And with Mrs. Obama coming to Baltimore on the day before the election, I think that will give us an additional boost.”
The president and his wife, along with other influential Democrats, have been campaigning across the country trying to give Democratic candidates the edge in a number of close races. Democrats are fighting to retain control of the Senate and, at the very least, not lose ground in the House.
In Maryland, a traditionally “blue” state, the gubernatorial race between Lt. Gov. Brown and Republican Larry Hogan is surprisingly close, with some polls putting Hogan within single-digit percentage points—ranging from 2 percent to 9 percent—of Brown.
“Brown and Ulman will win; I have no doubt about it,” Cummings said, “But, it is going to be close, and that’s why people need to get out and vote.”
Cummings said Black voters account for about 30 percent of early votes, and said he believes they will play an integral part in the election.
“The African-American vote in this election is extremely significant,” he said. “I’m pretty sure it will be the African-American vote that will allow the lieutenant governor to win.”