In a candidate forum with WBOC’s Steve Hammond Tuesday night, Senator Jim Mathias and Delegate Mary Beth Carozza were given the opportunity to ask each other a question. Mathias lobbed a softball first to Carozza asking her why public service was her chosen profession. When it was Carozza’s turn, she went hard at Mathias asking him who he was voting for in the governor’s race between incumbent Republican Larry Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous.
Mathias responded to the question, but he never said who he would vote for in the election. Carozza asked him again to answer it and he would not. Hammond then checked in with the senator again to confirm he would not make his choice known publicly.
When I asked Mathias last week the same question, it was clear Hogan would get his vote, although he never specifically said it.
“Yeah, I support him. I’ve been working well with the governor. I look forward to the governor serving another term. I mean, quite frankly, how I cast my vote when I go into the booth, it’s still a privilege. It’s sacred,” he said. “… If the governor wants to call me after he reads the paper on Friday, and thanks me again for the several times of talking honest and favor about him, he says, ‘You know what? I’m going to bet both horses in this race.’ I know the conversations we’ve had privately, but if he calls me up and says he wants to bet both horses in this race, I’m ready to tell you who I’m voting for. But, in the meantime, let’s just say I’m a business man. … I think you can figure it out.”
Early voting, which wrapped up yesterday, continues to grow in popularity in Maryland. After six days this year compared to 2014, a presidential election year, early voting turnout is up 132%, from 198,671 in 2014 to 461,041. In fact, on day one of early voting, the turnout more than doubled this year, from 42,880 to 87,409.
It’s always interesting to me to compare early voting results to those on election day. In the primary in June, many of the races, especially those of local importance, changed drastically on election day. In at least three races, the leader after early voting lost their edge on election day. I will report if that trend carried over to the general election next week.
An obvious question to ask each of the candidates for the Ocean City Mayor and Council ahead of next week’s election was where they stood on the referendum. The question before voters involves a charter amendment for the career firefighter/paramedics and whether binding interest arbitration should be allowed for the union.
Both mayoral candidates – incumbent Rick Meehan and Joe Hall – oppose the referendum. Three council candidates – incumbents Matt James and Lloyd Martin and Chris Rudolf – oppose it, while Emily Nock is going to vote for it and Mark Paddack again would not provide his position. Here’s a look at the most interesting comments I thought each candidate made on the topic.
Meehan: To grant the union “binding interest arbitration” would make this process more difficult and ultimately leave the final decision to a third-party arbitrator who is not vested in our city or responsible for setting our tax rate.
Hall: I was exposed to a stubborn management style, therefore had no choice but to support the police referendum. I don’t wish to make that mistake again. I will vote against the referendum.
James: The reason I have not supported the charter amendment is because I believe it is too broad and could force us into arbitration too soon while we are in negotiations and sometimes for issues I feel would not merit arbitration.
Martin: I am opposed to a third party making a determination that might cause us to raise our tax rate or cut other essential services to keep tax rate stable.
Nock: Our firefighters and paramedics have always supported us. It is our turn to help support them and vote in favor of the referendum.
Paddack: I support the voter’s decision, either for or against the question. I have not carried the flag for the IAFF.
Rudolf: I believe everyone should be treated fairly: the Ocean City taxpayers and the firefighters/paramedics alike. … I believe the current system is the fairest of fair deals for all the parties involved.