Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Kweisi Mfume Explains His Endorsement of Senator Ben Cardin: "At Some Point We Have To Be Serious"

UPDATE: In our comments section, Del. Jill Carter responds to Kweisi Mfume. Read more below.

Maryland Juice noted last week that former Congressman Kweisi Mfume decided to endorse his former competitor Senator Ben Cardin for re-election. Today, Hassan Giordano of the Baltimore Examiner printed an unusual interview with Mr. Mfume (see excerpt below), where the former NAACP head explains his endorsement decision. Giordano introduces the topic with the following statement (note: I added the speakers' names for clarity):
GIORDANO: Kweisi Mfume - the only African American statewide candidate to come close to defeating the white-male dominated Democratic structure, here in the state of Maryland – has shocked an entire community, as he recently endorsed the incumbent Democratic US Senator Ben Cardin; who Mfume challenged for that seat only six years prior.
In response, Giordano says Mr. Mfume provided the following explanation:
MFUME: “I have a lot of respect for Senator Muse and his past accomplishments, and we spoke several times since September 2011 of last year in which I explained to him that I unfortunately already gave my written endorsement to Senator Cardin in August; after knowing I was not going to run again, and surveying the field of possible candidates in which nobody at that time, including Anthony, had expressed interest in running for the seat,” Kweisi stated. 
GIORDANO: And his premise for the argument of why he gave Cardin an early endorsement makes perfect sense - at least to those of us who have taken part in a statewide race. 
MFUME: “You cannot run a statewide race, against a 6-year sitting incumbent and expect to win in 90-days,” said Mfume. “At some point we have to be serious with ourselves, and our people; and stop getting our community ‘fired up’ for electoral failure – because at some point their frustrations of losing will keep them at home during critical election years!" 
GIORDANO: ...we’re now focused on a race that is prevalent today, in which Senator Anthony Muse looks to dethrone a Democratic US Senator, who has voted the way of the black caucus 90% of the time, and has the endorsement of the state’s leading black congressional incumbent, Elijah Cummings – and the nation’s leading black political incumbent - President Barack Obama. Certainly, a tall task for anyone, despite race!   
Yet, state senator C. Anthony Muse has seemed to have taken the news fairly well, remaining as cool as the other side of the pillow when he made an appearance in Baltimore this past Saturday.... 
However, the question that looms large, even in such a perfect scenario is; how many of those black residents know C. Anthony Muse? With almost half of the Democratic vote coming from Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George’s County in 2006 (49.8%), which Mfume lost by only 2% of the vote, the question remains as to how the Muse for Maryland movement will infiltrate those areas....
Giordano ends his piece with the following quote from Mr. Mfume:
MFUME: “I’m tired of our folk living in the moment; as we must begin to fight to win – not just be relevant for the time being. What can we seriously begin aiming at statewide in the next 2-3 years, either in 2014, 2015 or even 2016; that will take advantage of Maryland’s growing minority population and allow us to capitalize off of our Democratic power, translating into political office statewide!”
Note: This is only an excerpt from the full article: http://www.examiner.com/independent-in-baltimore (link shortened).

P.S. Maryland Juice is still waiting for Senator Cardin to withdraw his co-sponsorship of the Protect IP Act (aka the Internet Blacklist Bill). Stay tuned for more news on Election 2012 @ Maryland Juice!

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