Every vote matters in today's election

Baltimore primary: When all is said and done, it's the voters who hold the keys to City Hall.

September 14, 1999

TODAY'S CITY primary election is highly unusual: There are no prohibitive favorites. As polls open, not only is the mayoral race a tossup but so are the contests for City Council president and some council seats.

Below, The Sun lists its endorsements for the various offices. Over the past several weeks, we have explained why we believe our choices are most likely to make the difference in governing our troubled city.

Many will agree with our judgment; others won't. The most important thing, though, is for registered Democrats and Republicans to exercise their civic duty.

Poking fun at Baltimore and the field of candidates is easy. Time magazine certainly did so, describing the city as having "more razor wire and abandoned buildings than Kosovo."

That kind of journalistic hyperbole is misleading.

Yes, the city has serious problems. But it also has much promise, including citizen activists and candidates with leadership ability and constructive ideas. It is up to the voters to support such candidates. Otherwise, the city may end up with leaders it does not deserve.

Every vote counts. That's no exaggeration.

In 1979, Kweisi Mfume, who later became a congressman and president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was nominated for the City Council by three votes.

Just four years ago, 1st District Councilman John L. Cain survived renomination by eight votes.

For decades, Baltimore has been such a heavily Democratic city that the party's primary nominees often are shoo-ins to win in November. However, the Republican Party also has a number of primary contests, whose winners promise to present spirited challenges in the general election.

After 12 years of the administration of Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Baltimore is at a crossroads. The next mayor will need to confront complex challenges -- but will also have opportunities to try new solutions. With no incumbent running, a new City Council president will also offer fresh insights.

At the polls today, voters can truly change Baltimore's direction.

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