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Ballot Stuffing

Wavin' the Red, Black, and Green

Posted 9/3/2003

It was déjà vu for us the other day when we picked up a piece of campaign literature that had emblazoned across its back the bold red, black, and green colors of African liberation. This isn't a flashback to 1995 when then-Mayor Kurt Schmoke used the same color scheme and the slogan Schmoke Makes Us Proud to solidify African-American support for his campaign, ultimately beating then-City Council President Mary Pat Clarke in that year's Democratic primary.

This time it's 2003, and the African-liberation flag bearer is mayoral contender Andrey Bundley, the principal at Walbrook High School. Across the tricolored flag is the slogan, U Take 2, meaning, as the card explains, "everyone take 2 voters to the polls." The other side, featuring a grinning Bundley, lists half a dozen promises for Baltimore City: better community-police relations, a work-force development program, transitional learning centers, an appeal for minority business, more vocational educational programs, and expanding after-school programs.

Bundley, who is challenging incumbent Martin O'Malley for the job of mayor, says he is making a very open appeal to reach more black voters. "I need to speak to my base as well to galvanize individuals with red, black, and green," he says. "At the same time, it is such a concept that doesn't exclude people. So while it galvanizes people of African descent, it allows for the inclusion of those who aren't African-American."

Besides, Bundley continues, O'Malley's literature--bedecked with the ever-so-humble BECAUSE BETTER ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH slogan--is awash in bright green and white, two colors associated with Ireland and the mayor's Irish heritage. With these colors, he says, O'Malley is making an appeal to an important part of his base: white voters.

And if the mayor can do it, Bundley rationalizes, so can his challengers. "So while he sent a cultural message, other people didn't feel excluded," he says.

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