Editor’s note: The following commentary aired on wbal.com on November 3, 2018.
Election fever has been upon us and the end is in sight. Among the races that has grabbed the most attention has been the battle for Maryland’s Governor.
As voters cast their ballots for Maryland’s highest elected official they are, in fact, voting for both the Governor and Lt. Governor. In Maryland, those two offices are elected as a team. A Lt. Governor’s sole constitutional responsibility is to assume the role of Governor should the Governor die or be deemed unable to fulfill their duties.
Here in the Old Line State, our gubernatorial candidates must announce their running mates prior to the primary election. However, a strong argument can be made that the selection of running mates should be made after the primary. That is the process in a number of other states. Also, our Presidential candidates do not officially select their Vice Presidential running mate until after they have secured the nomination for the top slot.
Allowing each party’s nominee for Governor to select their running mate after the primary election would cast a broader net of potential running mates. A party’s nominee might even select a highly qualified and experienced candidate who unsuccessfully ran in the gubernatorial primary election. A constitutional amendment and voter ratification would be required to set up such a process in Maryland.
Once the dust has settled from this year’s election it is worth debating if changing the selection date for gubernatorial running mates would strengthen the nominating process for our top elected official in the state. In the end, voters and the state as whole may greatly benefit.
I’m Don Fry, President & CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee.