It’s after Labor Day, and two more Democratic candidates for governor are formally joining the race this week: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz gets in Monday, with a rally in front of the county courthouse in Towson, and former Obama administration official Krishanti Vignarajah enters Tuesday, with an appearance at her childhood home in Baltimore.
So it seems like a good time to size up the seven-candidate Democratic field.
What’s noteworthy about this race is how there isn’t a true frontrunner. Most election cycles, one Democrat seems way ahead – or has been pre-selected by party leaders, or both.
By the normal metrics of Maryland politics, Kamenetz and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker should be the favorites for the Democratic nomination. They’re veteran officeholders in large, important jurisdictions, with solid records, good stories to tell, and a lifetime of relationships with party elders.
But let’s face it: They aren’t all that well known – even to party activists, let alone to average voters. When it comes to laying the groundwork for a statewide campaign, each has traveled the state some – but far less, it seems, than most successful gubernatorial contenders have at similar stages of past elections. Each county executive has flaws and skeptics – and critics at home.