AFRO News backs Scott, Alsobrooks

Baltimore’s historic Black newspaper, AFRO News, has endorsed Brandon Scott for mayor and Angela Alsobrooks for U.S. Senate — a potential boost to their campaigns in the final weeks of the election.

The AFRO’s full list of endorsements in Baltimore’s Democratic primary races includes::

The newspaper did not make an endorsement for the council’s 1st District, where candidates Mark Parker, Liam Davis and Joe Koehler are in perhaps the most competitive race.

For Democratic Congressional primaries, the AFRO issued its endorsement to Johnny Olszewski Jr. for the 2nd District, Mike Rogers for the 3rd District and Kweisi Mfume for the 7th District.

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In announcing its endorsement of Alsobrooks, The AFRO noted that it was the only newspaper that endorsed now-Gov. Wes Moore in the Democratic primary for governor in 2022. The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun both gave the nod to Tom Perez that year.

(The Baltimore Sun’s new ownership said in January that paper would no longer offer political endorsements.)

Alsobrooks also has been endorsed by The Washington Post. That newspaper’s editorial board called Alsobrooks “the better pick” than the other top contender, U.S. Rep. David Trone.

“Ms. Alsobrooks doesn’t take knee-jerk stands. She’s not full of bluster. She studies carefully and talks to all sides before making decisions,” the Post’s editorial board wrote, praising her management of county government and successes in landing state funding for an area known as the Blue Line Corridor and the future FBI headquarters in Greenbelt.

Alsobrooks touted the endorsement in campaign emails, in a radio ad and on a televised debate. Trone, though, said during that debate that he feels like he “dodged a bullet.”

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“I mean, last race they got it wrong for governor, they got it wrong for attorney general, they got it wrong for comptroller,” he said. “So, let’s hope they keep their streak up.”

— Pamela Wood

AG Brown backs Scott for mayor

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown is the latest candidate to weigh in on the Baltimore mayor’s race, tapping incumbent Brandon Scott for reelection with the primary less than three weeks away.

The state’s top prosecutor praised Scott’s Group Violence Reduction strategy, a form of focused deterrence that the mayor and his allies say led to a historic drop in homicides last year. The city is again on pace to hit another reduction for 2024. Brown referred to Scott as a partner in anti-violence efforts during a Thursday announcement at the Everyman Theater.

Scott held a slight lead over a pack of Democrats vying for victory, according to a recent survey from The Baltimore Banner and Goucher College Poll. Of likely voters, 40% said they would cast a ballot for Scott, while 32% said they supported former Mayor Sheila Dixon. Scott eked out a narrow win over Dixon in 2020.

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Brown, a Democrat, was elected Attorney General in 2022. He previously served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Martin O’Malley from 2007 to 2014.

Brown is the latest prominent official to weigh in on the race, with election day less than three weeks away. Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, another partner in GVRS work, endorsed Dixon earlier this month.

— Emily Sullivan

State elections board member dies

Janet Millenson, a member of the Maryland State Board of Elections, died April 19.

Board members honored Millenson at their meeting this week.

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“She was someone that always came prepared and always led with a bipartisan, nonpartisan perspective to get to the good,” said Michael Summers, the board chair. “We definitely honor and respect her for that.”

The state elections board is a five-member panel with three members from the same party as the governor — currently, the Democratic Party — and two from the other main party. Millenson was a Democratic appointee to the board, and her term was due to continue through 2027.

She was a principal with Two Crows Consulting, a data analytics firm based in Potomac, and had volunteered with the League of Women Voters.

Millenson was buried in Montgomery County following a graveside service, according to a notice from Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.

— Pamela Wood

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Moore shows up for Alsobrooks; Trone posts new ad

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore endorsed Angela Alsobrooks for the U.S. Senate last fall but hadn’t been seen out on the campaign trail. This week, he showed up in an Alsobrooks ad alongside other politicians who’ve endorsed her candidacy.

The ad features Moore and U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen prominently, then highlights other politicians, with slightly different versions for the Baltimore and D.C. media markets.

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The Alsobrooks campaign isn’t saying how much it spent to put the ad on air, noting it is in rotation with other ads. Still, Alsobrooks is being significantly outspent on the airwaves by chief rival U.S. Rep. David Trone, who is self-funding to the tune of more than $41 million and leads in the polls.

Moore will also be featured at an “All in for Angela” event at Baltimore’s Woodberry Park at 10:30 Saturday, and he’s headlining a fundraiser for her next week.

Trone, meanwhile, dropped his own new ad this week, emphasizing the slim Democratic majority in the Senate. “The polls say I’m the only candidate who can beat Larry Hogan, so do Maryland officials,” Trone says, naming some of his political endorsers, including Attorney General Anthony Brown and Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.

Recent independent polls in the race so far actually show both Trone and Alsobrooks trailing in a hypothetical general election matchup with Hogan, although one poll conducted last fall showed Trone beating Hogan.

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Trone continues, saying that he’ll use “every ounce of my energy and every resource” to defeat Hogan if he wins the primary. “The stakes are just too damn high,” he said.

— Pamela Wood

Elections board claps back at lawsuit

The state elections board asked a federal court to drop a lawsuit that is seeking to stop Maryland from holding elections in 2024, saying the case is meritless and filed in the wrong jurisdiction, according to court documents.

The Maryland State Board of Elections on Monday said the plaintiffs, Maryland Election Integrity LLC and Missouri nonprofit United Sovereign Americans used “flawed methodology and incorrect calculations” to assert problems existed with the state’s voter rolls and voting systems.

On behalf of the state, Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown argued the federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case because the plaintiffs’ assertions are based on what they say are violations of state election laws.

The plaintiffs alleged that their analysis of state voter rolls showed the state had “lost control” of its voting system and questioned the accuracy of the voter rolls.

Government transparency expert Chioma Chukwu said lawsuits like these are “used to call into question the results of free and fair elections, and to undermine our democracy.” The civil rights attorney serves as interim executive director for American Oversight.

The elections board’s statement referenced an independent audit performed last year that showed elections were conducted with “minimal inaccuracies;” that more than 99% of deceased registrants had been removed from voter rolls; and that of the more than 4 million registered voters in Maryland’s system, a fraction, 268, were duplicated records.

“Maryland voters can cast their votes with confidence that the voter registration system is accurate, current, and maintained in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,” State Administrator of Elections Jared DeMarinis said in a statement.

— Brenda Wintrode

Mayor Scott’s 40th birthday bash fundraiser

Mayor Brandon Scott, one of the youngest officials to ever sit in the Baltimore mayor’s office, celebrated his 40th birthday with supporters on Friday night. Tickets to the event, hosted at downtown’s Garden Rooftop, started at $40. VIP tickets were $2,500.

According to an April 9 filing with the state elections board, Scott reported more than $908,000 in his campaign bank account, nearly double former Mayor Sheila Dixon’s $497,000.

Scott said the event was originally scheduled closer to his birthday of April 8, but was postponed as his administration responded to the March 26 Francis Scott Key bridge collapse. Scott told The Baltimore Banner he managed to spend the Saturday afternoon before his birthday with his stepson Ceron at a trampoline park.

“We played some dodgeball, 20 children versus me, for like an hour,” he said. He said he also rang in 40 with his fiancée Hana Pugh, who gave birth to their son Charm in December. Pugh arranged a private dinner for him at a restaurant.

— Emily Sullivan

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