Sun endorsements

November 01, 2010

Governor: The rematch between Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. offers voters a difficult choice between two accomplished candidates. Both are strong leaders, but Mr. O'Malley's talents and ideas are better suited to the problems Maryland faces today. He has a more holistic idea of economic development and job growth — seeing it as a function of education, infrastructure, work force training, etc. — and would be more likely to make progress on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. He has not laid out a comprehensive plan for fixing Maryland's long-term budget shortfalls, but Mr. Ehrlich's chief campaign promises would actually make the problem worse. Read our full endorsement here. A summary of the two candidates' positions on the issues is available here and excerpts from the two candidates' endorsement interviews are here.

Senate: Campaigning for her fifth term in the U.S. Senate, Barbara A. Mikulski is as feisty as ever. Her positions on issue after issue, such as supporting health care reform, controlling pollution from fossil fuels and dropping the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, track with the views of most Marylanders. And she remains a devoted champion of her state's interests, national defense, equal opportunity economic growth and child care. Her opponent, Queen Anne's County Commissioner Eric Wargotz, is a fiscal conservative with a desire to cut taxes and spending, but he offers too few specifics. Read our full endorsement here.

1st Congressional District: In another high-profile rematch, Rep. Frank Kratovil gets our endorsement over state Sen. Andy Harris. The Democrat carries on former Rep. Wayne Gilchrest's tradition of independent-minded representation for the 1st District, which is centered on the Eastern Shore. We don't always agree with Mr. Kratovil, but his votes do reflect his constituents' views. Mr. Kratovil has voted with the Democrats on important environmental and economic development legislation but against them on health care reform and bank bailouts. Mr. Harris is able to articulate voters' anger, but his record in the State House is heavier on rhetoric than accomplishments. Read our full endorsement here.

General Assembly: The Sun endorsed five Democrats and five Republicans with records of putting problem solving above politics.

The Republicans are: Susan Aumann, 42nd District. Delegate Aumann is influential on budget matters — she has served three times on the conference committee that negotiates a final deal between the House and Senate — and has shown an ability to shepherd complex legislation through the General Assembly.

Steve Schuh, 31st District. Delegate Schuh is also a budget expert, but he boasts a rarer distinction: He is the only lawmaker of either party to get perfect scores from both Maryland Business for Responsive Government and the League of Conservation Voters, proving that it is possible to be both pro-business and pro-environment.

Warren Miller, District 9A. Delegate Miller is a strongly pro-business Republican, but his most notable achievement was his successful sponsorship of the " Google government" act, which put most state spending in a public, searchable web database. He plans to work on more government transparency issues if he's re-elected.

David Brinkley, 4th District. Senator Brinkley helped draft a comprehensive plan for eliminating Maryland's projected budget shortfalls. It was specific and non-political, it and helped influence the state's spending decisions this year.

Allan Kittleman, 9th District. Senator Kittleman has established a principled but collegial tone as minority leader. He has also carried on his late father's crusade to eliminate the $11 million legislative scholarship program, which he likens to state-sponsored vote buying.

The Democrats are: Michael E. Busch, 30th District. The House speaker is a top target of Republicans statewide for his opposition to slot machines, but he's elected by the people of the 30th District, and he's looked out for their interests well, championing the Chesapeake Bay and securing funding for a new elementary school and other important local projects.

Jim Brochin. Senator Brochin is among the most independent lawmakers in Annapolis, and he puts in as much work as any lawmaker into staying in touch with his constituents. He was influential in alleviating overcrowding at Rodgers Forge Elementary School and getting Baltimore County to commit to putting air conditioning in Ridgely Middle School.

James Mathias, 38th District. Delegate Mathias, who is running for state Senate, has shown a willingness to buck party leaders when it's important to his constituents, as in his vote against putting slots at Ocean Downs. He's also been influential behind the scenes on mediating between the agriculture industry and state environmental regulators.

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