Writing in a letter to the editor of The Star Democrat, Warren Davis says “Independent voters should elect Jesse Colvin,” the Democrat running to unseat Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) in the state’s 1st District 2018 congressional race. Harris had held the seat since 2010 after narrowly losing in his first run for it in 2008. Davis believes that independent voters will be critically important to the outcome of this race, noting that “Nineteen percent of registered voters in the First District are registered as Independent.”
Warren argues that as a “centrist Democrat,” Colvin’s views and policymaking will align more closely with independent voters in the district. Independent voters who chafe against uncritical partisanship by legislators may certainly have their doubts about Harris, who votes with the Republican Party on a majority of bills, and who has been categorized by GovTrack as a “far-right Republican follower” and a “rank-and-file Republican.”
But a Democrat is going to have a tough time defeating a Republican in this conservative district. In 2016 Harris won with 67 percent of the vote. His challenger, Joe Werner, received a comparatively paltry 28 percent. The Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district is R+14, which means that in the last two presidential election cycles, MD-01’s results were 14 percentage points more Republican than the national average percentage of Republican voters per district.
And voters– whether they’re affiliated with a party or not– who are weary of intransigent partisanship and gridlock in Washington, do have another choice outside of the two major parties in the state. They just wouldn’t know about it from reading Maryland’s largest circulating newspaper, The Baltimore Sun.
The state’s newspaper of record at least had the decency to publish this letter to the editor by David Briggs, of Columbia, who takes the Sun to task for the glaring omission of the Libertarian Party of Maryland’s candidates for Governor and the 1st U.S. Congressional District this November:
“In your Thursday, Aug. 9 issue you had at least two political pieces that had significant omissions. The two in question are “Ben Jealous lays out his path to victory” on page 2 and the editorial “Year of the woman?” on page 12. Disregarding that the headline for the first seems to assume that Ben Jealous’ plan will result in his election to governor, you again failed to mention that the voters of Maryland will have the opportunity to vote for a Libertarian Party candidate, Shawn Quinn. I guess you continue to think that the voters should not receive complete information about the gubernatorial election. The second piece discusses the numerous women who will be on ballots across the state in November; you do not mention the Libertarian Party candidate for the 1st Congressional District, Jenica Martin. I guess that non-major party candidates do not warrant any “ink” in your newspaper. I think it unfortunate that you continue to ignore options that the voters of Maryland will have on November 6. So much for expecting unbiased coverage of our elections.”
With a commitment to staunch fiscal conservatism, and free market values to improve the economy and health care, Martin’s political philosophy is likely more in line with many of Maryland’s more conservative voters in the Republican Party, and independent voters may appreciate a candidate who they know wouldn’t be beholden to partisan squabbles. It’s ultimately up to voters who to decide for when they enter the ballot booth each November, but when will news companies start engaging in more objective journalism and stop acting as servants to the two party system?