On Tuesday, April 26, lawyer Matt McDaniel won the Republican nomination for the 1st district council seat that is being vacated by Councilman Jim Kraft.
McDaniel was the first Republican to announce his candidacy, starting his campaign last August. He competed against two other Republicans for the nomination.
He said that his campaign had been volunteer-based and community-driven since the beginning. They were less focused on fundraising and more focused on meeting people.
“For me, my mantra was that the people had to meet the candidates face-to-face. I could not have had, no matter how great they are, somebody represent me and knocking on doors. It had to be me out there.”
He does add that his knuckles are bruised from all the door-knocking he’s done and jokes that Southeast voters should invest in doorbells.
“From a very early point in the campaign, we had written out policies and goals and thought about ways to make the district more successful,” he said.
These policies have had a particular focus on increasing home ownership in Baltimore to encourage economic growth.
Throughout the multiple candidates forums and debates, McDaniel had stressed the importance of lowering property taxes and growing the city’s job and tax base.
He said that homeownership can create a sense of pride and responsibility in one’s community, along with helping the city grow in healthy ways.
McDaniel said that the voters of the 1st District are relatively well-educated and well-informed on the policies that will affect them.
He said they didn’t want just political buzzwords and bullet points, they wanted well-thought-out, long-term, and comprehensive plans.
Among all this, the Southeast voters were open-minded, as they showed by electing Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, despite being in a primarily Democratic state.
“I think ownership, I think job opportunities, better schools, justice reform, I think those all are things that can appeal to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. They’re issues we can all agree on. Those aren’t just Republican issues.”
McDaniel will go head-to-head with the Democratic nominee, educator Zeke Cohen in the general election in November.
McDaniel is quick to praise the other candidates, saying that all of them, even the Democrats, went out of their way to run a civil campaign.
In the next six months, he said he will not run a campaign based around party-shaming but rather in-depth dialogue and conversations on the city’s problems and possible solutions.
He isn’t hesitant to criticize his own party, though.
“The Republican party has failed the city multiple times by not giving people valid options in November. The party hasn’t really tried.”
He added that since there isn’t a “Republican machine” in Baltimore, he isn’t beholden to any one group or one policy. He would be
fully able to represent the interests of the people, he said.
McDaniel said he will work to tackle complacency in government. He said that 1942 was the last year that a Republican seat on the Baltimore City Council and that a change could be what people need.
“There are a lot of people here that are really fed up and they are begging for change all over the place. It’s stagnant,” he said about the government. “Heck, if we can stir it up a little, I think it can be good for everybody. It’s a question of giving people a viable choice.”
McDaniel said that on voting day he spent all day outside the Hatton Senior Center in Canton campaigning and was shocked at all the support people gave him, even if they weren’t registered Republican.
“There’s something really moving about that, that someone made a conscious and informed decision and chose you. It’s an awesome experience.”
He laughs and said that he had gotten only ten hours of sleep the week leading into the election but is looking forward to the next few months ahead.
For more info on McDaniel and his campaign, visit www.mcdanielfordistrictone.com.
By Gianna DeCarlo