Baltimore City election is near, but there are few signs of fight

November 05, 1995|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,SUN STAFF

Looking for signs of Baltimore's impending election? There are scarcely any in town.

Two days before Baltimoreans go to the polls to choose a new city government, only a few forlorn campaign signs are stuck in yards and plastered on storefronts.

No politicians are fighting over the best downtown intersection to wave at motorists. No sound trucks are cruising the streets blaring campaign slogans. No hotel ballrooms have been reserved for lavish parties on election night.

Even though the city's top elected offices and a $32 million bond package are at stake in Tuesday's general election, political activity and voter enthusiasm have been dampened by the virtual absence of hard-fought races.

"What election?" quipped Arthur W. Murphy, a political consultant. "The only people who will show up are people with perfect voting records."

It is in sharp contrast to the Sept. 12 primary, which featured a bitter Democratic mayoral contest between Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke that drew national attention. Their battle, and the closely contested races for council president and comptroller, led to the largest voter turnout in a dozen years.

But in Baltimore, Democrats outnumber Republicans 9-to-1, making victory in the Democratic primary tantamount to election. Mr. Schmoke, who easily defeated Mrs. Clarke, is an overwhelming favorite to win a third term over his little-known Republican challenger, Victor Clark Jr. So are Democratic candidates Lawrence A. Bell III for council president over Anthony D. Cobb. and Joan M. Pratt for comptroller over Christopher P. McShane.

Democrats are unopposed in the 4th Council District, but one of them, Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., faces a court hearing on whether he meets the residency requirements, though his name will be on the ballot.

One Republican is running in the 5th District, two are running in the 2nd and 3rd, and full slates of three Republican candidates are running in the 1st and 6th.

In South Baltimore's 6th District, Republican Joseph Brown Jr. is believed to have a chance of breaking up the 53-year Democratic monopoly of the council.

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