Councilman Zeke Cohen published the results of a campaign poll for City Council president this week, marking the first time a Baltimore citywide candidate has done so this cycle.

Cohen, a Democrat, faces incumbent City Council President Nick Mosby. A poll of 702 likely Democratic primary voters by Public Policy Polling first asked residents their opinions of Cohen, then Mosby. The survey was conducted from May 31 to June 1 and has a margin of error of 3.4%; campaign polls tend to paint a rosy picture of the candidates who commissioned them.

Cohen had a 27% favorability rate, while 57% of those polled said they weren’t sure. Mosby appeared underwater: 51% of those polled had an unfavorable opinion, while just under a quarter of respondents said they have a favorable opinion. If the election were held today, 40% of respondents said they would vote for Cohen, 24% said they would reelect Mosby and 36% said they aren’t sure.

“I think that people want leadership that is fighting for them, not just fighting,” Cohen said. “And I think that we’ve shown that and the council president has not.” Mosby did not respond to a request for comment.

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According to poll cross tabulations, Cohen is less familiar than Mosby to likely voters who are Black and seniors — two groups that make up a bulk of Democratic ballots each primary election. The things I’ll keep my eye on are how each candidate attempts to appeal to the large group of voters who don’t know the candidates or don’t know how they’ll vote in the election — and whether any other viable candidate jumps into the race.

Speaking of ...

Another City Council president poll was in the field this week. Some likely Democratic voters were asked whether they would consider voting for Shannon Sneed, a former councilwoman who came in second to Mosby in the 2020 primary. Mosby earned 40.2% of the turnout. Sneed trailed more than ten points behind with 29.4%. Carl Stokes, a former councilman, earned 21.1% of the vote.

Sneed confirmed in an interview that she was behind the poll. She declined to share details, but called the results encouraging. The former 13th District councilwoman, who now lives in Reservoir Hill, struggled with name recognition in the 2020 primary. But after running as former gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez’ lieutenant governor pick in 2022 and placing second in the Democratic primary, she may be a more familiar face to voters this cycle.

“People from all over this city have said, ‘Shannon I hope you run again,’” Sneed said. “I have strangers coming up to me with words of encouragement and saying they’d wish I’d run.”

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She said she will take the holiday weekend to mull the run with her family before deciding whether to jump into the race.

Meanwhile, a third poll reached likely Democratic voters this week, asking residents, among other questions, their opinions of Baltimore City judges as a group. The poll also asked voters whether they think “judges in Baltimore are not doing enough to keep violent criminals behind bars, and elected officials should push for change” or “judicial independence is an important part of our democratic society, and elected officials should respect their decisions.”

Judges Erik Atlas, Charles Mario Blomquist, Myshala E. Middleton and Barry G. Williams all won terms in the Baltimore City Circuit Court last November.

Court less than impressed with Cox

A federal judge had a message this week for defense attorney and former Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox: tamp down the politics in the courtroom.

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Cox is representing a Frederick gun shop owner who has been charged, along with Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, with a conspiracy to obtain machine guns. While attorneys for the typically outspoken Jenkins have taken a cautious approach toward responding to the charges, Cox teed off with a 107-page motion denouncing the prosecution as politically motivated and making accusations regarding the Ukrainian ethnicity of one of the case’s ATF agents.

U.S. District Judge Stephanie Gallagher on Tuesday denied most of the arguments put forth by Cox, including a motion to dismiss the case and a request for sanctions against prosecutors, saying a large number of the issues raised “lack merit and warrant no hearing.”

In a footnote, Gallagher said she gave serious consideration to not allowing Cox to file the motion at all — he had to request permission to file a document exceeding page limitations — “given that a significant portion of his … motion consisted of political statements and unsubstantiated allegations of misconduct.”

She said she would allow the motion to be filed in the interest of moving the case forward but cautioned him against making similar arguments in the future.

“Motions should set forth the relief requested in a straightforward manner, providing factual and legal support,” Gallagher wrote. “Grandstanding and political statements are unpersuasive and are not a good use of scarce judicial resources.”

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Cox’s client, Robert Krop, and Jenkins are both seeking to be tried separately, and a hearing on those requests will be held next month.

Gallagher was appointed to her seat by President Donald Trump.

Alsobrooks picks up endorsements

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks continues to rack up endorsements in her bid to become Maryland’s next U.S. senator.

Alsobrooks added 21 more current and former elected officials to her massive list of endorsers. This round included several politicians from the Baltimore area, including state Dels. Regina T. Boyce and Robbyn Lewis and Sen. Mary Washington from Baltimore; Del. Andrew Pruski, Sen. Pamela Beidle and Council Vice Chair Allison Pickard from Anne Arundel County; and Register of Wills Byron MacFarlane from Howard County.

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Her biggest-name endorsers so far are U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume, Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Treasurer Dereck Davis, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.

In a statement, Alsobrooks said the endorsements are “indicative of the momentum behind our people-first campaign.”

Alsobrooks is one of the leading contenders in the Democratic primary for the 2024 U.S. Senate election to succeed U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin, who opted not to run again. Other Democratic candidates include U.S. Rep. David Trone, Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando and socialist philosopher Jerome Segal.

Comings and goings

This article was update to correct details about how U.S. District Judge Stephanie Gallagher was appointed to the bench.

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