Primary choices | WYPR

Primary choices

Apr 26, 2016
Originally published on April 26, 2016 6:29 pm

Primary day in Maryland started with some fireworks when nearly fifteen hundred people showed up at Sandi’s Learning Center on Ellamont Avenue to work for mayoral candidate Catherine Pugh. They said they were promised paying jobs, but it all went south when campaign staffers said they didn’t need anyone else. 

Witnesses said angry people began smashing the windshields of cars parked along the street and someone called police.

Leon Mason, who was in line when it happened, said people “started getting out of control when they said they had a cutoff point they had enough people it was time for me to get out.”

“Why would you have me sign up and I can’t get paid,” he wondered.

Police later charged Jerome Tuggle, 53, with destruction of property. They said he allegedly used a brick or a rock to break out the window on a security vehicle parked in the area.

Pugh said it wasn’t surprising that many people showed up to work, given the city’s high unemployment rate. And she promised to pay them all.

"I said to my campaign we will pay everyone there,” she said. “We’ll be broke at the end of this, but that’s okay. I’d rather see it go to the campaign workers and to people out there who are unemployed who need an opportunity to work today.”

And that’s not the only place things got a little wild. A Donald Trump campaign worker said she was verbally assaulted at a polling place in Annapolis.

The worker, who identified herself only as Paulette, said a woman “lurched” and “lunged” at her, cursed her and threatened to tear up her Trump sign. Paulette said she felt as if her “safe space was being violated.”

She called police, but her alleged assailant was gone by the time they got there.

Elections officials in the region reported steady, but not a significant, turnout by early afternoon.

A line of canvassers wearing Sheila Dixon, Bernie Sanders, Shawn Tarrant and John Bullock T shirts granted voters at Gilmor Elementary school in Sandtown-Winchester, Freddie Gray’s neighborhood.

Lucky Crosby, who works for the city Housing Authority, was wearing a Dixon T-shirt, but he wasn’t necessarily demanding you vote for his candidate.

"It’s not about who you vote for right now,” he said. “ It’s that’s you vote; particularly voting in Sandtown- Winchester who has been historically disenfranchised by politicians that look like us.”

But McDonald McBride, who voted at Lakeland Elementary Middle School, threatened to move back to Boston if his candidate, David Warnock, loses. He’s about to retire, he said, and he’s "going back to where I came from where at least they're clue-full."

The 64-year-old, who has lived in Lakeland for the last 17 years, says he could be convinced to say if Warnock wins, but he’s not holding out a lot of hope.

At the New Era Academy in Cherry Hill, 74-year-old Antoinette Lacy said she voted for incumbent Jack Young for City Council President and for Donna Edwards in the Democratic Senate primary. But she stumbled when she was asked who she voted for in the mayoral primary.

“I think Pugh,” she said after laughing and stammering. “Well, I know that she had influence over the new school that we have in Baltimore, and she's been in a long time and has had a lot of experience."