I’ve noted several times recently that Maryland Democrats increasingly face the prospect of losing their stranglehold on state politics given the rise of the state’s African-American Republican Lt. Gov. (and Senate candidate) Michael Steele. The latest evidence comes from this story in The Washington Times. It seems that a Democratic pollster surveyed 500 black voters in Maryland and found that Steele and Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich “have a clear ability to break the Democratic stronghold among African-American voters in Maryland.” The pollster went on to say that Democrats cannot afford to wait until the fall to “knock Steele down.” Rather, they must act now to link Steele to President Bush and convert him “into a typical Republican in the eyes of voters, as opposed to an African-American candidate.”
But Wayne Curry, the Democratic former Prince Georges County executive (and an African-American) believes that plans to discredit Steele’s reputation among black voters are “destructive” and won’t work. Curry says that Steele’s candidacy presents an “enormously historic” opportunity for blacks that “may ultimately break this sort of vices grip by Democrats who feel entitled to black votes regardless of how they treat voters.” He adds that for over 40 years “people would say ‘you don’t have anywhere else to go.’ Now we do have somewhere else to go.”
In fact, Curry may be on his way there. The Times reports that he is rumored to be on the short list of potential running mates for Gov. Ehrlich.