The Baltimore pastor explained it like this: Being courted by a politician can sometimes feel like a one-night stand for community activists. In the heat of the moment, there is intense devotion and endless promises. But what happens the next morning?
“We’re not asking you to marry us. This is no request for death-do-us-part relationship,” said Bishop Douglas Miles of Koinonia Baptist Church, addressing Maryland’s three Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls at a packed candidates’ forum in a Baltimore church Wednesday. “But, understand, neither will we be treated as — like the young people say — as a booty call.”
The bishop and other activists with the Industrial Areas Foundation, a 74-year-old network of faith and community-based activists, said they wanted regular meetings with whoever is elected governor so they can push for after-school programs, affordable housing, reducing gun violence and job creation. To make sure that everyone understood exactly what he was talking about, Miles broke into a song inspired by the Shirelles’ 1960s classic, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.”
Here’s how the candidates responded.
Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown: “We can meet in Annapolis. We can meet wherever you want.” He promised to sit down with the group before planning the state budget and before drawing up annual legislative priorities.
Attorney General Douglas Gansler: “The way that I get things done is to meet with the people that share my passion . . . I am excited about meeting with IAF.”
Del. Heather Mizeur (Montgomery): “I think you’re setting the bar a little low to say, ‘Let’s meet a couple times a year.’ . . .We will always be meeting, because we always do. This is how we solve these problems together.”
— Jenna Johnson
The Potomac estate of IT entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam seemed more fitting for a Republican soiree than a Democratic fundraiser, some of Maryland’s top elected officials said Wednesday.
But big-time donors, including developers Aris Mardirossian and Fred Ezra, hotel and nursing home magnate Stewart Bainum and auto executive Tammy Darvish, gathered there to raise big bucks for the re-election campaign of Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).
“There are not too many people who own homes like this who are great Democrats,” Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) told the audience of about 400. Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) said that if you want “to live like a Republican, you have to vote Democratic.”
Leggett, a two-term incumbent, showed a significant cash advantage over his challengers, Council member Phil Andrews and former county executive Doug Duncan in campaign committee reports released in January. The next reports, due later this month, likely will to show a similar edge.
Cardin, O’Malley and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) praised Leggett as a man of reason, civility and inclusiveness who led the county through the challenges of the recession. Leggett said there is unfinished business he wants to pursue, in transportation and other areas, to make the county a better place for the next generation.
The most over-the-top line of the evening came from Cardin,who said there was not “a tougher job in the country than county executive of Montgomery County.”
“Every person living here has at least two or three opinions on every subject,” he said. “And they expect you to come to their home and explain your opinion.”
— Bill Turque