Smart Choice, Puzzling Choice

Two Democratic gubernatorial candidates have already chosen running mates for the Lt. Governor slot on their ticket. One created buzz but the other inspired head scratching.

Wes Moore Picks Aruna Miller

Former Del. Aruna Miller (D-15) is well-liked and well-respected among her former colleagues in the General Assembly and more generally among people active in Montgomery politics. For Wes Moore, a running mate from the D.C. area balances his own roots in Baltimore. It also is a choice that indicates not only that Moore is dead set on becoming governor but also that he’s supported by a respected former legislator and cares seriously about governing.

Four years ago, Miller ran for the U.S. House in the Sixth District. Despite having a good base of volunteer support and solid fundraising, she lost to now Rep. David Trone, who had pots of money and was already well-known in the media market due to his unsuccessful run in the neighboring Eighth. Though ending in disappointment, the run raised Miller’s profile and created a positive impression.

Rushern Baker Picks Nancy Navarro

Baker has thrown any sense of geographic balance to the wind by reaching out all the way from Prince George’s to Montgomery to pick Nancy Navarro. Though a former County Council President, Navarro’s profile in the county is not especially high outside of her council district. Navarro’s emphasis on being a tribune for the Latino community has limited her broad appeal without nailing down the Latino vote, which is sticking with Tom Perez. Navarro is known neither as a prolific fundraiser nor a relentless campaigner.

At the Committee for Montgomery Forum, Rushern Baker touted Navarro’s racial equity legislation that requires analysis of all legislation from a racial equity perspective as what he’d bring to Maryland to address racial disparities. Whatever one thinks of expanding the diversity bureaucracy, it’s a proposal that connects with a narrow base rather than a broad swath of voters and jars with Baker’s image as a proud Black but non-identity based politician.