July 6, the filing deadline for the 2010 elections across the state, came and went with few surprises.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler sparked a firestorm and riled up a lot of Republicans and probably some Democrats back in February (when we were buried in snow!), over his support of gay marriage. But, it seems nobody was offended sufficiently to run against him, because the state’s AG is running unopposed.
But, unlike Gansler, four-term U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski attracted a legion of challengers – although none have any real state-wide name recognition – hoping to stop her from being seated for a fifth term.

In Baltimore County, current County Executive Jim Smith is unable to run again due to term limits and Baltimore County Council members Kevin Kamenetz and Joe Bartenfelder have emerged to contend for the Democratic nomination for that seat.

Also in Baltimore County, Councilman Ken Oliver, D-Dist. 4, is carrying some extra legal baggage because of a felony indictment for theft connected to campaign funds.

And perhaps sensing vulnerability, Leronia Josey, a lawyer and management consultant, is vying to become Baltimore County’s first Black woman councilperson by replacing Oliver, the county’s first Black councilperson.

All 188 House seats and 47 Senate seats are up for grabs in the General Assembly and the vast majority of incumbents are seeking re-election.

In Baltimore City, Sens. Lisa Gladden, who represents the 41st district in West Baltimore, and Catherine Pugh, who represents the 40th district also on the west side, are both running unopposed.

However, as I drove through Southwest Baltimore on a sweltering day earlier this week, I saw the familiar orange and black—no, not the lame (N)Orioles!—of the Mitchell political dynasty posted on several small, browning lawns in front of row houses.

Keiffer Mitchell, who was a member of the Baltimore City Council for 12 years before mounting an unsuccessful run for Baltimore mayor in 2007, is making a bid for one of the House of Delegates seats in the 44th district. All three delegates from the 44th – Ruth Kirk, Keith Haynes and Melvin Stukes – are running for re-election.

Perhaps, the most volatile race in Baltimore City is the one shaping up between longtime Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia Jessamy and defense attorney Gregg Bernstein.

Bernstein, a former federal prosecutor, made a splashy announcement of his candidacy earlier this week when he was introduced by none other than flamboyant Baltimore defense attorney Warren Brown.

Brown, who has flirted with the idea of running for office, including state’s attorney several times over the years, proclaimed many of the criminals he has represented don’t fear being prosecuted in Baltimore City, presumably because of Jessamy’s role as the Baltimore state’s attorney.

Bernstein made his announcement with his wife Sheryl Goldstein by his side, which of course is not unusual. However, what is ironic is Goldstein is the director of the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice and often works closely with the state’s attorney’s office.

As I said at the beginning of this column the filing deadline for the 2010 Election passed with few surprises, including the much anticipated rematch between former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich and the man who defeated him current Gov. Martin O’Malley.

However, I would argue what is surprising is the results of a recent poll, which has Ehrlich ahead of O’Malley by about three points. Granted the poll was conducted by right-wing mouthpiece, The Washington Times, so some O’Malley supporters are taking the results with a grain of salt.

But, in a state with one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation and O’Malley recently receiving an award from the National Education Association for being, “America’s Greatest Education Governor,” it seems like the Maryland governor should have fared better in just about any poll. The reality could be the same anti-incumbency sentiment, which may have adversely impacted Ehrlich when George Bush was president, may be resonating with many in 2010 with Barack Obama in the White House.

Stay tuned…


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor