Serious Times Demand a Serious Challenger

Much ado has been made about next year’s race for Mayor of Baltimore. Of course, all of that ado has been focused on the Democratic side. There’s a pretty good reason for that. Democrats outnumber Republicans 10-to-1 in the City. And then there’s the matter of Republican citywide results over the last few elections.

  • 1983 Samuel Culotta 6.3
  • 1987 Samuel Culotta 23.4
  • 1991 Samuel Culotta 27.8
  • 1995 Victor Clarke 21.2
  • 1999 David Tufaro 9.5
  • 2004 Elbert Henderson 12.3
  • 2007 Elbert Henderson 12.1
  • 2011 Alfred Griffin III 12.9

Just because the results will likely not be in our favor doesn’t mean that we don’t owe it to ourselves, our state, and the people of Baltimore to find a serious candidate for Mayor. I know that the Baltimore City Republican Central Committee is working on finding a candidate, and there are several good candidates running or looking to run for City Council, particularly in District 1 (where we have already interviewed Matt McDaniel about his candidacy).

But having a good Republican candidate for Mayor is a necessity for a party that is looking to lead at the state and local level. What better time to discuss the issues facing Baltimore than now? We’ve talked incessantly about the problems facing the city. Crime. Schools. Jobs. Poverty. And we’ve talked about Baltimore’s importance in our state, both financially and culturally. Without a strong Baltimore, Maryland suffers.

Given the issues facing Baltimore, the unrest, the spike in murders, the education system, and the wide-open Democratic primary, a Republican candidate for Mayor will have an unprecedented opportunity to talk about the issues facing Baltimore from a Republican perspective. How to start to turn the economy around. How to fix the schools. How to start to make Baltimore economically competitive. How to attract the 10,000 new families that Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake kept talking about. How to put people back to work. And how to fix the culture of corruption, the unsavory marriage of Democratic politicians and politically connected developers. With the focus on fixing Baltimore, both from local and national media outlets, as well as coverage by online outlets (including this one), a credible, serious, competent Republican candidate has the opportunity to solidify the top of the city ticket, and help turnout votes for City Council candidates across the city, but particularly in District 1 and other districts where the Republican has a chance of being somewhat competitive.

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Right now, there is a Republican who has filed for Mayor. That Republican is Brian Vaeth. Vaeth, of course, does not meet anybody’s definition of a serious challenger given his status as a perennial candidate and his inability to even qualify for the ballot to run for Governor last year.

And then there’s his promises of free energy and legalizing weed…..

While it’s admirable that Vaeth wants to take another stab at electoral office, the Republican Party won’t be well served by having a candidate who’s platform includes “free stuff” without addressing the actual issues Baltimore is facing. Baltimore doesn’t need free solar panels, they need a principled leader with an understanding of the city and what it needs to get turned around.

Once a serious candidate gets in the race (and stay tuned for who I think that might be) and wins the primary, then Baltimore will have a real conversation about the Democrats 50 year war on Baltimore and better chance of breaking the Democratic monopoly next year. A strong leader at the top of the ticket can be the rising tide that lifts all boats. We just need to hope that City Republicans find the right man or woman for the job.

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