Brush up on candidates' views before Md. primary

August 07, 2010|By LINDA DUFFIELD
  • Linda Duffield

Here it is, the second week of August. That means Maryland's primary election is 37 days away.

On Sept. 14, voters will be asked to decide which Republican and Democratic candidates in contested races will advance to the Nov. 2 general election.

During primary balloting, voters will select the candidates who will face each other in November for the 6th Congressional District and U.S. Senate seats, as well as those who will square off for governor.

The primary also will narrow down the fields of Washington County Commissioner and Washington County Board of Education candidates, as well as those running for the state Senate and House of Delegates.

Those candidates who move on to the general election and come out on top in that balloting will have the power to decide a lot of things about our lives -- the amount of taxes we pay and how that money will be spent, what school books our children will read and where they will go to school, what laws we will be required to obey, and much more.


It is in the primary, where the field is narrowed, that we risk having a good candidate fail to make the cut or having a less worthy candidate get enough votes to make it on the November ballot.

There's something to be said for having a say in the primary.

But casting a ballot is only part of the exercise. It's important that we go to the polls armed with knowledge of the candidates.

It shouldn't be enough for a candidate to have name recognition or a sign in our neighbors' yards. There is more to holding public office than sounding good in a sound bite, or in having signs line a street.

Democracy dictates that before we vote, we try to learn about the candidates -- all of the candidates -- so we can make our selection based on their stances on the issues that matter to the individual voter.

There are any number of ways to get familiar with those who want to hold public office.

Some organizations already have held candidate forums and there has been at least one event where those attending could mingle with candidates.

The Herald-Mail has written stories about candidates who filed to run in the primary. If you missed them in the paper, you can check them out on our website at

We also have provided questionnaires to candidates for county commissioner, school board, state Senate and state delegate. We posed the same questions to each candidate running for a specific office and asked each candidate to limit each response to no more than 100 words.

Their responses will be compiled by office sought and will run in The Herald-Mail over four consecutive weeks, with the first set of responses scheduled for publication Sunday, Aug. 15, and Monday, Aug. 16.

The responses also will be posted at

We know 100 words isn't enough to provide a complete insight into a candidate's thinking on a subject, but it's a start.

Don't just go to the polls, go armed with information.

And after the primary, and after the general election, when new candidates or returning ones are seated, remember what they promised, what they said they wanted to accomplish.

And hold them to it.

Linda Duffield is The Herald-Mail's city editor. You can e-mail her at">

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