Improved Choices for City Voters

September 09, 1994

Time was when one could claim, with some exaggeration but relative accuracy, having met all of Baltimore City's active Republicans at a big cocktail party.

In recent years, the GOP has been making impressive gains in a city which has elected only Democrats for decades. This does not necessarily mean the party is going to win offices any time soon. Democrats still outnumber Republicans by a margin of more than 8-1.

But in the past eight years, the number of registered Democrats has declined from 332,036 to 282,802. In contrast, the number of registered Republicans has increased from 30,584 to 32,813. The only other affiliation that has experienced as strong a growth has been the independents. They now number more than 17,500.

As a result of affiliation growth, the city's Republicans, despite seemingly impossible odds, no longer write off elections. The party may still have no primary contests in city elections, but it has fielded candidates for an increasing number of offices. These trends, if they continue, have some Democratic activists worried. They want their party to take steps to revitalize itself as well.

Each election offers a chance for such a rejuvenation through candidates who are not burdened by incumbency. In Tuesday's primary, The Sun has identified a number of Democratic office-seekers who would strengthen the city's representation in Annapolis. Because they have been campaigning hard and are running from reconstituted districts, they have an excellent chance to win.

In District 40, we urge voters to pull the lever for Lisa B. Williams. She is a social worker with a law degree. In her work for a number of organizations, ranging from the Planned Parenthood to the Governor's Office for Individuals with Disabilities, she has proven her leadership qualities.

District 44 has two newcomers with excellent credentials running against incumbents. Verna Jones is a seasoned housing activist; John E. Hannay addresses a wide variety of community and anti-discrimination concerns. They deserve a strong vote.

Talmadge Branch is a candidate of rejuvenation in District 45; Peter A. Hammen in District 46. In District District 47A, voters have a chance to nominate Randolph M. Collins, a promising newcomer with years of political and organizing experience.

The main thing on Tuesday is to vote. Many elections may be close. Every vote counts.

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