Maryland's Democratic primary, which includes the Baltimore City Mayor's race, is set for June the 2nd. It will be conducted mostly by mail-in ballots.
Polls have shown that six candidates are within reach of winning the Democratic nomination, which typically leads to a win in the general election in November. About 90% of the voters in Baltimore City are registered as Democrats.
WMAR-2 News Christian Schaffer got the chance to sit down with the candidates, virtually, and ask them questions to help guide city voters. Each candidate was given the same question and there were no time limits, although again it was all done virtually.
First, we wanted to know the "why". Why does each candidate want to be the next Mayor of Baltimore City, and what's driving them through their campaign?
Second, we asked about any specific policies, new programs or budget items that candidates are considering as a direct response to what’s going on with COVID-19 in Baltimore City.
Third, we discussed racism. "In Baltimore City, the effects of racism dating back decades, in the form of practices like redlining and blockbusting, had an impact on where and how people lived then, and they still have an impact on where and how they live today. Is there anything you can do as mayor to reverse those effects, without it taking decades?"
Our fourth question dealt with policing Baltimore City, "Can policing in Baltimore City be done for less money than what’s currently allocated in the city’s budget?"
The fifth question stayed with policing and the relationship with police in the community. "Didn’t the actions of the members of the Gun Trace Task Force just confirm, for a lot of people in Baltimore, what they may have already felt about the police department? How do you come back from that?"
Staying on crime, the sixth question revolved around the City State's Attorney's office. "Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby was re-elected in 2018. She is not up for re-election this year. Shortly after she was first elected, she brought criminal charges against six of the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray. None of those officers were convicted; the city police union has been highly critical of Marilyn Mosby. More recently, Governor Hogan has called for the Attorney General's office to prosecute more violent crime cases in Baltimore City. Has Marilyn Mosby been an effective partner with the mayor’s office and the city police department? And would you be able to work with her as mayor?"
Our 7th question focuses on the bottom line for city families, in the city and those thinking of leaving: "The property tax in Baltimore City is more than twice that of any jurisdiction in the state. Would a dramatic drop in the property tax help turn around the decrease in population?"
And, with the final question, Christian asked each candidate about the environment. "There are a lot of Democrats in Baltimore City who are concerned about the environment. Is there anything that, as city mayor, you can do to address climate change?"
Many Marylanders will be voting by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic. The State Board of Elections will mail ballots to all eligible voters and those ballots must be postmarked on or before June 2.
If you are unable to vote by mail, there will be at least one voting location in each county and Baltimore City. To find a location as well as access more information regarding the primary election, click here.