The Capital Gazette in Annapolis today endorses Anthony Brown in CD4 in a close decision over Joseline Pena-Melnyk.
There is an impressive amount of talent and experience in this race, and the choice between the two top contenders – Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk and former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown – was difficult.
But, on balance, Brown is the candidate with the most extensive experience and most varied background, the best grasp of what a freshman member of the House of Representatives can accomplish and the most specific plans for constituent service. He was vastly more sure of himself and impressive this year than two years ago, when he was running for governor – and notably failing to distinguish himself from Gov. Martin O’Malley.
But it should be remembered Brown had two highly successful terms in the House of Delegates representing Prince George’s County – it’s not every junior legislator who gets tapped for a difficult job like heading a tort reform task force. He was an active lieutenant governor, whose work on such issues as base realignment and closure, public-private partnerships and health care costs far outweighs his one obvious fiasco – his role in the state’s botched roll-out of its health insurance exchange. He has been a military leader as well, earning a Bronze Star for his service with the Army in Iraq.
And while all the Democratic candidates pledged to open offices in the Anne Arundel part of the 4th, he was the only one with specific plans for allocating his staff and making constituent service a top priority.
Pena-Melnyk – a forthright, diligent and passionate legislator whose District 21 extends into western Anne Arundel – also has the potential to be an excellent member of Congress. In a less competitive race, we could have endorsed her easily. But in this case, we think Brown’s depth of experience, particularly in working to get compromises and reaching out to disparate groups, gives him the edge.