With registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans 9-to-1 in Baltimore city, general elections here tend to be somewhat perfunctory. Baltimore hasn't elected a Republican mayor in decades, and it's been half a century since the last GOP City Council candidate took office.
Yet the GOP continues to challenge Democrats in local elections, often with thoughtful candidates whose views certainly deserve a hearing. This year Anthony Cobb, a genteel, transplanted Tennessean who now lives in West Baltimore's Irvington community, is waging an uphill battle against Democrat Mary Pat Clarke for council president. Cobb, a self-described liberal Republican, has some sound ideas about how the council could play a more effective oversight role in fiscal matters. Another impressive GOP candidate is Elaine Urbanski, a Baltimore native and BG&E community relations specialist who is running for City Council from the 3rd District.
City Republicans face such tough odds that their campaigns almost inevitably take on a quixotic tinge. Ultimately, however, citizens lose when politics becomes a one-party affair.