Baltimore’s indicted top prosecutor faces spending barrage but may yet survive

Baltimore’s indicted top prosecutor faces spending barrage but may yet survive

July 15, 2022 0 By Ellen Novack

Mosby, who rose to national prominence in 2015 just months into her first term when she charged six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, won her primary in 2018 by beating defense attorney Ivan Bates 49-28, while the balance went to prosecutor Thiru Vignarajah. Both men are now back for a rematch, and they’re each benefiting from some well-known backers and serious financing.

Bates’ most prominent ally is former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who resigned in 2010 after she was convicted of stealing gift cards that were supposed to help needy families but nevertheless came close to winning the 2016 and 2020 primaries for her old job. Also in his corner is Mary Miller, who took third in the 2020 mayoral primary and has contributed $435,000 to a pro-Bates group called Building a Safer Baltimore PAC, a donation that appears to represent the PAC’s entire budget.

While Dixon and Miller are former rivals, they’ve starred in what the Baltimore Banner’s Mark Reutter characterizes as “ubiquitous TV ads” touting Bates as someone who is “focused on getting illegal guns off the streets” and will “work closely with all levels of law enforcement to go after the most violent offenders.” The spots don’t appear to have mentioned Mosby, who has clashed with the local police union ever since her unsuccessful prosecution of the officers charged in Gray’s death. Bates’ campaign itself has also spent $190,000 on TV from early June through last week.

Vignarajah, who finished fourth with 12% in the 2020 mayoral primary, this time sports a cross-party endorsement from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Vignarajah, Reutter writes, has spent $340,000 on TV, which is considerably more than what his two opponents’ campaigns have deployed. The candidate, though, earned some harsh headlines last week when 15 of his former colleagues and subordinates, in the words of the Baltimore Sun, came forward to characterize him as someone “who punished both men and women for perceived disloyalty and humiliated them in front of colleagues.”

As for Mosby, Reutter writes she’s spent a mere $20,000 on TV through last week, though she had $182,000 left for the final days. What Mosby lacks in money, though, she may be able to make up with a loyal base. Indeed, some political experts speculated earlier this year that her indictment could actually help her, with radio host Kaye Whitehead arguing, “If you’re a Marilyn Mosby supporter or someone who understands what it’s like to be an underdog, it is going to rile you up.” Mosby, who is Black, has cast the charges as the work of “racially motivated” prosecutors and insisted, “I won’t let others, that’s the media or anyone else, define my narrative.”

No matter what, though, there’s a good chance we’re not going to know the winner’s identity until well after Tuesday’s vote concludes. That’s because state election officials aren’t allowed to even start to tabulate mail-in ballots, which the Washington Post writes could make up a “significant” proportion of the total, until Thursday. In May, Hogan vetoed a measure that would have allowed these ballots to be processed ahead of Election Day; the state board of elections decided not to sue because of time constraints, though it could take action to prevent this sort of delay for the general election.

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Senate

GA-Sen, GA-Gov: New polling for the AARP finds Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock leading Republican Herschel Walker 50-47 in his bid for re-election while Republican Gov. Brian Kemp holds a wider 52-45 advantage over Democrat Stacey Abrams in their rematch. The survey, which was conducted jointly by Democratic pollster Impact Research and Republican pollster Fabrizio Ward, mirrors other recent polling that has found Warnock running ahead of Abrams.

MO-Sen: Save Missouri Values PAC, which is supporting state Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the Aug. 2 GOP primary, is running a new ad painting Rep. Vicky Hartzler as a corrupt creature of “the D.C. swamp” for supposedly taking $1 million in “government handouts,” noting that Trump in a recent not-tweet said he will “NOT BE ENDORSING HER.”

WA-Sen: A new poll from SurveyUSA conducted for the Seattle Times, KING 5 TV, and two local universities shows Democratic Sen. Patty Murray defeating Republican Tiffany Smiley 51-33. That’s the widest margin Murray’s enjoyed in public polling this year, but that larger spread is due to Smiley’s low vote share rather than the incumbent’s own performance reaching new heights; other recent surveys have found Smiley in the low 40s, with Murray generally around the 50% mark.

Governors

AZ-Gov: A new poll for the Arizona Research Consortium, a progressive nonprofit, finds Democratic frontrunner Katie Hobbs with a wider lead over Donald Trump’s pick for governor compared to her more establishment-flavored GOP primary rival. The survey, conducted by Democratic pollster TargetSmart, shows Hobbs beating Kari Lake 47-38 but edging past Karrin Taylor Robson by a smaller 44-39 margin. A Hobbs internal from May identified a similar pattern, with the Democrat up 50-45 on Lake but just 47-46 on Taylor Robson.

Unlike in many other races with such apparent electability gaps, though, Democrats have not spent any money seeking to influence the Republican race, where Lake enjoys a small lead in recent polling. (The state party sent out a press release the other day highlighting Taylor Robson’s past donations to Democrats, but that’s it.) And there’s not much time left, since the primary is fast approaching on Aug. 2, but a last-minute ad buy to boost Lake remains a possibility.

House

FL-07: Former Navy SEAL Brady Duke is the second Republican in this crowded primary to run an ad that uses his military background to implicitly threaten violence against his political opponents. The spot features Duke touting his military record as a sniper before he bemoans “career politicians” whose agenda is “destroying America” as images of Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appear on screen, after which Duke appears in full military garb aiming his rifle offscreen as he clears the chamber and vows to “take aim at Washington.”

Duke’s spot follows an ad by Army veteran Cory Mills, a rival in the Aug. 23 GOP primary who earlier this year ran a commercial where he appeared in camouflage holding an assault rifle while bragging about starting a “riot control” company that sold tear gas used on Black Lives Matter protesters. Claiming that “the liberal media is crying about it,” a giddy Mills said he could help them “shed some real tears.”

NY-10: The Democratic primary for New York’s open 10th Congressional District in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn is a wide open race according to a new survey from progressive firm Data for Progress, which says it polled the contest independently:

  • City Councilwoman Carlina Rivera: 17
  • Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou: 14
  • Attorney Dan Goldman: 12
  • Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman: 9
  • Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon: 8
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones: 7
  • Former Mayor Bill de Blasio: 5
  • Attorney Maud Maron: 1
  • Undecided: 27

This is the first poll of the race from a reputable outfit, but given the large sums already raised by many contenders, the fact that just 10 points separate the top half dozen candidates, and the sizable swath of undecided voters, much can and likely will change between now and when voters head to the polls on Aug. 23.

NY-11: Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and the NRCC have released the first poll of the freshman congresswoman’s rematch with former Democratic Rep. Max Rose, which finds her leading 51-36, per GOP firm 1892 Polling. Democrats sought to make this Staten Island district considerably bluer in redistricting, a move that doubtless inspired Rose to run again. However, those plans were undone by the courts, which restored this district largely to its previous configuration. Under the current lines, it would have voted 53-46 for Donald Trump.

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