If you been following mainstream media coverage of the race for governor, you may be under the impression that there are just two candidates for governor – Republican Dan Cox and Democrat Wes Moore.
There are actually five candidates on the ballot, despite all the hurdles that the bipartisan duopoly puts in their way.
David Lashar, the Libertarian Party nominee, is probably more qualified by his experience in state and federal government than either Moore or Cox. A former Republican, Lashar was chief of staff and chief information officer at the state Health Department, the largest agency in state government. Nancy Wallace of the Green Party has lots of good government credentials too. And there is David Harding of the Working Class Party that had never been on the ballot till this year.
Moore unfortunately agreed to just one televised debate against Cox. He declined to participate in others, including one sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Maryland Reporter. I co-moderated that forum with Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters, the other nonprofit website covering state government and politics.
Unlike the debate hosted by Maryland Public TV, which provoked nasty exchanges between Cox and Moore after hostile questioning of Cox by three of the four journalists, the League forum was civil and informative. It can be watched on the University of Baltimore Public Affairs channel on YouTube. Having four candidates on a Zoom forum is a bit crowded, so we only got to ask eight questions during 90 minutes. But those questions covered most of the key topics; qualifications, the economy, taxes, public education, health care, abortion, crime and the environment.
The lack of debates is happening in races all across the country. Candidates of both parties in the supposed lead refuse to give a platform to their opponents. In the League forum for the attorney general candidates that I also moderated, Democrat Anthony Brown, the current congressman and former lieutenant governor, declined to be on the same Zoom platform as Republican Michael Peroutka. We did separate interviews. Here are the links to the Brown interview and to Peroutka.
Brown is an accomplished, articulate politician, as is Wes Moore. Both of them could easily best their Republican opponents in almost any fair fight, virtual or televised. It is a disservice to voters that they refuse to appear on the same stage with opponents whose views they find repugnant.