“I promise to build a world-class resort, if I’m allowed to, in Prince George’s County,” said Jim Murren, whose company has spent nearly $30 million advocating for Question 7. “We’ll build something that you’ll be proud of.”
At the event, statewide associations of police officers and firefighters touted the plan, saying that it would produce revenue for schools and create jobs.
“This is a no-brainer for the citizens of Maryland,” said John Rodney Bartlett, president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police.
On the other side, an anti-
expansion campaign bus rolled into Silver Spring, where Jim Pauli paused in a blustery parking lot to listen.The anti-Question 7 campaign has been funded almost entirely by $41 million in contributions from Penn National Gaming, which operates a West Virginia casino that could lose business.
“Question 7 is a bad deal for Maryland,” Forest Heights Mayor Jackie Goodall said.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot took the microphone and said that gambling interests had made lots of claims but that any revenue would go straight to the state’s general fund and could be spent on all sorts of things. “I hope that people will see that these are false promises.”
Pauli, 57, said he had planned to vote for Question 7 but changed his mind.
Those who oppose Question 4, Maryland’s version of the Dream Act, also worked Saturday but were mostly struggling to make up for lost time after barely mounting a campaign against the tuition measure for immigrants. They coordinated on Facebook and through e-mail to distribute a first batch of printed yard signs and bumper stickers that read “No TAX $ for ILLEGALS – No on Question 4.”
Still, they were far behind the measures’ proponents, which have been backed by $1 million from labor unions.
“You heard about Question 4? No? It’s good: $8,000 versus $26,000 for college,” said Debra Jeje, 51, a Service Employees International Union member, slapping stickers on Prince George’s early voters in Bowie. Jeje’s pitch, which vaguely referenced in-state vs. out-of-state tuition rates at the University of Maryland, was honed over more than two weeks of campaigning she’s done while SEIU, a major contributor, paid her salary.
At the prayer rally in downtown Baltimore, which attracted about 200 people, Derek McCoy, chairman of the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the lead group opposed to the state’s same-sex marriage law, talked about strengthening traditional families at a time “when our culture has several significant challenges.”
Both sides have focused on making sure their voters turn out.
On the other side, Keith Cohen, a retired French and comparative literature professor who lives in the District, was working the phones and called out, “Yay! My first full conversation! And she said, ‘We’re all for marriage equality.’ ”
Laura Vozzella and Susan Svrluga contributed to this report.