This post has been updated from a previous version. The changes are reflected below.
We read recently a letter to the editor in the Sun newspaper suggesting that the lack of a Jmore State Senate endorsement in the 11th district was in some way a negative statement about the incumbent. It was not that at all. In fact, had the writer, read the beginning of our article on endorsements we made it very clear that we were only endorsing in races we felt were contested. We did not feel the 11th district Senate race was contested.
Keeping in mind that such letters to the editor are generally encouraged by the campaigns themselves, we found this disingenuous use of our endorsements to be a bit appalling. But it also makes us reconsider whether there is enough going on in the race to make an endorsement.
Sheldon Laskin is putting up a fight and that is admirable. New blood is a good thing in politics. He has made this a contested race. We have a few serious concerns about Mr. Laskin’s international political beliefs especially as they affect Israeli Jews. However, as a very bright young professional, not involved in any campaign, pointed out last night, these issues don’t really pertain to the local campaign or the responsibilities of the intended office.
Having discussed the opponent, let’s discuss the incumbent. Bobby Zirkin. Mr. Zirkin has higher aspirations. He is currently one of four committee chairmen in the Senate. That is a very powerful position. Western Maryland made the mistake of un-electing the Cumberland born Speaker of the House a few years ago and the region has never recovered. We’d like to see Mr. Zirkin take stronger progressive positions on social issues and distance himself from the bail bond industry. Having said that, he has been a leader on environmental issues including the banning of fracking. He led the movement for decriminalization of marijuana. He has also positioned himself as a legislator willing to look at all sides of an issue. That is what he needs to do to continue to move up through the ranks.
In light of being drawn into this race, the Editorial Board has decided to make an endorsement. Mr. Zirkin could become an even more powerful advocate for the district as a likely Senate President. We endorse Bobby Zirkin in the 11th district Senate race.
Editor’s note: We have heard from several members of the Laskin Campaign. We applaud their enthusiasm and dedication. We originally had serious concerns about international positions taken by the candidate. After, a very nice conversation with a smart young professional from the political left, We have amended this editorial to remove that issue. We are willing to accept that our issues of concern are not an 11th district issue.
We wish both candidates great success and hope that whoever wins will represent the district well. Although we make occasional endorsements we actually believe that no one should depend on them. We should all do our own homework and make our own decisions on Election Day.