Joan M. Pratt may be poised for a new job opportunity.
Baltimore’s long-serving City Comptroller (18 years at her post) confirmed that she has been interviewed by Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler as a possible running mate for his soon-to-be-official gubernatorial bid.
Rumors have been circulating for months that Pratt, a black woman with high voter recognition in Baltimore, would make an ideal partner for Gansler, a white male and former prosecutor from Montgomery County.
Now it’s official from Pratt herself that she’s on Gansler’s shortlist for lieutenant governor for the Democratic Party.
Racial and Gender Politics
The ticket would be a near mirror image of Gansler’s chief rival and already announced candidate for governor, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.
Last June, Brown, a black war veteran from Prince George’s County, tapped Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, a white technocrat with a fat campaign war chest, as his running mate.
Gansler has signaled that he wants to fill out his ticket with an African American from either Baltimore City or Prince George’s County, each with a large black voting block.
According to the Washington Post, he has approached state Del. Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. (D-Baltimore), Sen. Catherine E. Pugh (D-Baltimore) and Del. Jolene Ivey (D-Prince George’s) as potential running mates. Pugh has reportedly declined the offer.
Positioned as Taxpayer’s Friend
Another strategic consideration for Gansler is a running mate who is not associated with Gov. Martin O’Malley and free of the stigma of the “O’Malley machine.”
Pratt has fought high-profile battles with Baltimore mayor (and O’Malley ally) Stephanie Rawlings-Blake over escalating water bills, pricey Voice-over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phones and multi-million-dollar payments to sewer consultants, which has earned her a reputation as a watchdog of taxpayer money.
Gansler is expected to officially announce his candidacy next Tuesday and to pick his lieutenant governor next month.
Next year’s Democratic primary election will be held more than four months before the general election, on June 24. In recent primary elections in Maryland, black voters have accounted for over 35% of the Democratic Party turnout.