Category Archives: 2020 elections

Klacik’s Vanity Project

Republican Kim Klacik sure garnered a lot of attention and money for her longshot bid to unseat Kweisi Mfume in the Seventh Congressional District. But she has been far more focused on building her national brand than on Baltimore.

Klacik may have become the first congressional challenger in history to refuse free local TV time when she wouldn’t sit down for a standard candidate profile interview with WBAL at the end of October. As WBAL reported:

Klacik declined an invitation to sit down with 11 News for this election series. A spokesman said Klacik would agree to a live TV interview or nothing.

Klacik doesn’t live in the Seventh District. As she notes, it’s not a legal requirement, and says she’ll move if she wins. Klacik has spent an unusual amount of time outside the district for someone claiming to have a genuine interest in winning it. Klacik traveled to Arizona to take part in rallies with President Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. — not the usual stomping grounds for voters in the Seventh District (at least of Maryland).

Republican blogger Brian Griffiths and I rarely agree on anything political. Seems like he got this one dead right though:

Kim Klacik doesn’t actually give a damn about winning the election. Kim Klacik doesn’t give a damn about the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee, of which she ostensibly remains a member. She doesn’t give a damn about the Maryland Republican Party or even the city of Baltimore. All she cares about is continue to parlay her unearned fame into continued speaking fees and media appearances. Hey, she wouldn’t be the first internet celebrity Republican to follow the money. But for Kim Klacik to do it now, mere days before her election, is an insult of the highest order and she is making a fool out of everybody who has ever supported her or gave her money.

Generally, it’s great for any community to have strong choices and to be courted by both parties. But that’s not what Klacik’s campaign has been about. Maryland voters of all political stripes ought to remember that when she launches her next vanity project.


GOP Gov & Dem Assembly Leaders Join to Support Counting All Votes & Express Confidence in Elections

Earlier today, Republican Governor Larry Hogan joined with Democratic Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson to release this Public Service Announcement expressing firm support for counting all the votes and confidence in our state’s elections.

On the eve of Election Day, this bipartisan announcement is welcome leadership and the right message in these deeply divided times. As in all other states, Maryland’s count will not be fully complete on election night. Nevertheless, as leaders from both parties express, we will count all the votes and can have confidence in the final result.

That’s the right message around the country.


Barr’s DOJ Will Monitor MoCo Election Along with Other Dem Areas.

The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice plans to send monitors to 44 jurisdictions “to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws” on Election Day. Montgomery County, Maryland is one of them.

The 44 selected jurisdictions are almost exclusively ones that the Democrats expect to win in tomorrow’s presidential election. In North Carolina, for example, DOJ will monitor Democratic Wake (Raleigh) and Mecklenburg (Charlotte) but no other counties.

In Florida, the four out of the five counties are among the nine that Hillary Clinton managed to carry in the state. The fifth is Duval (Jacksonville), which she lost by just one point, has a large African-American population, and has been moving away from the Republicans–the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate won by four even as he lost narrowly statewide.

Given the repeated attempts by the Republicans and the Trump campaign to limit access to the polls and to outright disfranchise voters, this seemingly far from accidental targeting of Democratic areas by Bill Barr’s extremely partisan Justice Department merits further investigation.

Here is the complete list of jurisdictions that DOJ plans to monitor:

  • Coconino County, Arizona;
  • Maricopa County, Arizona;
  • Navajo County, Arizona;
  • Los Angeles County, California;
  • Orange County, California;
  • Broward County, Florida;
  • Duval County, Florida;
  • Hillsborough County, Florida;
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida;
  • Orange County, Florida;
  • Palm Beach County, Florida;
  • Fulton County, Georgia;
  • Gwinnett County, Georgia;
  • City of Chicago, Illinois;
  • Cook County, Illinois;
  • Montgomery County, Maryland;
  • City of Boston, Massachusetts;
  • City of Lowell, Massachusetts;
  • City of Malden, Massachusetts;
  • City of Quincy, Massachusetts;
  • City of Springfield, Massachusetts;
  • City of Detroit, Michigan;
  • City of Eastpointe, Michigan;
  • City of Flint, Michigan;
  • City of Hamtramck, Michigan;
  • City of Highland Park, Michigan;
  • City of Jackson, Michigan;
  • Shelby Township, Michigan;
  • City of Minneapolis, Minnesota;
  • Bergen County, New Jersey;
  • Middlesex County, New Jersey;
  • Bernalillo County, New Mexico;
  • Mecklenburg County, North Carolina;
  • Wake County, North Carolina;
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio;
  • Allegheny County, Pennsylvania;
  • Lehigh County, Pennsylvania;
  • Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania;
  • Richland County, South Carolina;
  • Harris County, Texas;
  • Waller County, Texas;
  • Fairfax County, Virginia;
  • Prince William County, Virginia; and
  • City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Keep Voting and Keep Calm

This is that short time every four years when political science professors become popular with the foreign media, which is how I found myself hanging out in the cold this morning in front of my polling place. Overhearing media interviews with voters entering and exiting the polls turned out to be more interesting than I expected.

One man in his late 20s gave what I think of as the standard small-d democratic answer, speaking about the importance of participating in the electoral process. Like many Americans, he preferred not to disclose his voter choice and to get back home to help take care of his kid.

The interviewers struck gold, however, when they managed to find the rare, outspoken Trump supporter in inner Montgomery County. A woman in her late 40s or early 50s, she very politely took time to explain why she preferred Trump to Biden.

Trump will “keep America as it is” while Biden wants to “change it.” Biden wants to make America “socialist.” The specific reason she cited for supporting Trump was his desire to keep out “illegal immigrants” and protect the border. She wanted to vote in person because she doesn’t trust the mail and is concerned that “the Democrats are going to steal the election” through mail ballots.

Put simply, this perfectly pleasant woman was in complete sync with the FOX and Trump narrative. It’s not something you see a lot of in my part of the world where Trump signs are literally nonexistent, and Biden will easily win over 80 percent of the vote. I suppose it’d be like watching someone explain their Biden vote in Carroll County.

The most unsettling part to me is the easy willingness to believe that somehow Biden can inexplicably steal the election by mail. So it remains important for leaders, officials and experts to keep providing accurate information to counter the deluge of misinformation about our democracy that the president and seems eager to spout. People who care about our democracy in both parties should participate, just like the Texas Republicans who are fighting efforts to disfranchise over 100,000 voters in Harris County.

Meanwhile, Democrats need to keep working to get out the vote in the few remaining hours of this election. Let’s also not buy into the panic over counting the votes. America has done this many times before, so it’s not like it’s a mystery. Pandemic or no pandemic, our officials are well prepared to do it again.

The doubt sown over this very question by President Trump as well as his willingness to peacefully transfer power is what fills many Americans with dread rather than hope as we approach election night. It’s what makes this election year so abnormal.

But by far the best response that Americans can provide is to keep streaming to the polls until they close and then to keep calm while we await the complete count. For a variety of reasons, some states may start out red or blue and then go the other way. It is not a stolen election if Florida starts the night as blue (early voters) and then trends red (election day voters). Nor is it stolen if Pennsylvania is red on election night but then mail ballots turn it blue. All votes are equal.

We, the People, need to show respect for our democratic process even if the president does not and goes ahead with his publicly stated plan to declare victory prematurely. I realize that the repugnance of these sorts of actions amplified by social media encourages the opposite. Just remember that we all lose if those boards in front of stores in downtowns across the country turn out to have been necessary.


Ademiluyi and Pierre Beat Incumbent Judges in Democratic Primary

Most of the races in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are very sleepy this year. The judicial races have become a surprise exception. Though there are still votes that have yet to be counted, it looks like challengers upset a member of the incumbent judges slate in the Democratic primary for circuit court judge in both counties.

Maryland judicial races have an unusual process. After being appointed by the Governor, the incumbent judges must face the voters and any other candidates that decide to run. All candidates are placed on each party’s ballot. All of the candidates who place high enough on any party’s ballot continue on to the general election.

Though they lost the Democratic primary, the incumbents will also continue to the general because they still won one of the top four spots in the much lower turnout Republican primaries. In both Montgomery and Prince George’s, the challengers are African-American women and the incumbents are white men who were appointed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Ademiluyi Upsets Bereano in Prince George’s

In Prince George’s County, April Ademiluyi beat incumbent Judge Byron Bereano in the Democratic Primary for Judge of the Circuit Court. The daughter of African immigrants, Ademiluyi is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and received her law degree from George Mason. According to currently available numbers, Ademiluyi won 105,725 votes to 87,017 for Bereano, the son of controversial lobbyist Bruce Bereano.

Bruce Bereano was convicted of campaign finance fraud in 1994–he got his employees to make campaign donations and then illegally reimburses them under the guise of lobbying expenses. Besides going to jail, he was disbarred and lost his license to practice law.

Neither stopped him from coming back as a highly influential lobbyist or from exerting influence on judicial nominations and elections.

As Josh Kurtz explained:

[Bereano asked] his friends to contribute to something called the Prince George’s Committee to Elect Sitting Judges. This is a campaign committee for five Circuit Court judges — four of whom were recently appointed by Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) — seeking 15-year terms to the bench in the 2020 election. One of them happens to be his son, Judge Bryon Bereano, appointed first by Hogan to the District Court, then late last year, to the Circuit Court.

Stranger still, consider the identity of the man chairing the sitting judges’ election campaign in Prince George’s County: That would be Alexander Williams, the former federal judge and close Bruce Bereano ally who is surely Hogan’s favorite Democrat. Hogan has rescued Williams from retirement, appointing him to several key appointed posts. Those include his role as chairman of the Appellate Courts Judicial Nominating Commission.

Bruce Bereano has also been heavily involved in Anne Arundel judicial races.

Despite losing the Democratic primary, Byron Bereano will also appear on the general election ballot. He won a spot with just 4,970 votes — all that was needed in heavily Democratic county home to few Republicans. Bereano attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and formerly worked at Lerch, Early and Brewer.

Pierre Edges Out Fogleman in Montgomery

In Montgomery, challenger Marylin Pierre beat incumbent Christopher Fogleman. Pierre gained 79,673 votes to 77,976 for Fogleman who was appointed by Gov. Hogan. Pierre, a former army lieutenant and Howard law graduate, ran as a progressive alternative to the incumbent slate. Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin was her sole endorsement from an elected official.

This was Pierre’s second attempt as an insurgent judicial candidate. In 2018, Pierre failed to win either party’s nomination. However, she nevertheless did quite respectably for someone not part of the incumbent slate in a contest that is below the radar of most voters.

Fogleman served for three years as a public defender in the 1980s. The American University law graduate also was appointed by former County Executive Ike Leggett to the county’s Juvenile Justice Commission. Fogleman served for ten years, including as the commission’s chair.

Like Bereano in Prince George’s, Fogleman will advance to the general election due to his success in the Republican primary in which he earned 14,085 votes compared to 6,893 for Pierre.

The outcomes in the two party primaries were strikingly reversed for the other incumbents. Incumbent African-American Judge Bibi Berry ran away as an easy first place in the Democratic primary with 106,128 votes — over 23,000 votes more than the second place candidate. But in the Republican primary, Berry came in fourth with 11,492 votes, which is roughly 3000 votes less than her white male running mates.