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Mosby Victory Shows (Again) Who Votes In Baltimore

Tom Chalkley

Marilyn Mosby’s win over incumbent State's Atty. Gregg Bernstein was in the cards from about the moment Bernstein won the office four years ago.

His opponent in that race, Patricia Jessamy, had been in the office for 15 years. There was little dynamism there. Turnout was light, which probably meant that many of her strong corps of voters didn’t rally for her as they had in the past. They probably didn’t vote against her. But if they didn’t vote at all, that was enough.

This time was different. Bernstein, who is white, should have known it would be different. He ignored his challenger at first. Many thought she was way too inexperienced even to enter the race. Maybe so. But that’s not the point. She was credible to the people that matter: the voters.  She’s black, young and energetic – as Pat Jessamy was in the beginning.

Both were the kind of candidate that Baltimore voters want.

So, you may ask, who is the typical voter in Baltimore? For a number of reasons, the profile of a Baltimore voter is a black, church-going, employed woman.  This, again, is a reporter’s conclusion after watching a number of city races.

History is a guide here. Fifty or 60 years ago (before my time, of course) the late Victorine Q. Adams organized something called Women Power. Her husband, Willie Adams, was very much involved in city politics. She thought: What about me? What about women? We can have an impact, she thought. And so she organized women who had been pretty much discounted in elections. No longer.

If Bernstein had known of Victorine and Women Power, he might have campaigned more actively. But it might not have mattered.

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