Polls Differ in Crowded Prince George’s Exec Race

By Chris Gordon
|  Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010  |  Updated 6:54 AM EDT
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On Tuesday, voters in <a title=Prince George's County will select who they want to replace Jack Johnson as County Executive." />

On Tuesday, voters in Prince George's County will select who they want to replace Jack Johnson as County Executive.

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It’s a crowded field with five candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for Prince George’s County Executive.

Each headquarters is busy getting campaign materials, signs, T-shirts for their volunteers and snacks packaged to send to the 223 polling places for Tuesday’s primary.

County Sheriff Michael Jackson went door-to-door in Kettering Monday afternoon, speaking to residents, shaking hands and asking for votes. Jackson said he was raised and educated in Prince George’s County and has received national attention for his innovations in the Sheriff’s Department.

Jackson is one of two front runners in the polls along with former Maryland Delegate Rushern Baker, who is seeking the top elected office in the county for the third time.

Baker says that development and job creation are the two issues he hears most often from voters, along with education and reducing crime.

But the other candidates don’t believe the polls, saying that the Jackson and Baker campaigns each commissioned the polls that showed them leading.

Former County Council member Sam Dean says it’s a competitive race and he thinks that he has the lead. He says he’s the only one with experience in county government and arguing for more money from Annapolis.

Henry C. Turner, Jr. is a businessman who previously had a military career, giving him experience leading people and balancing a budget. Turner is running with the Coalition for Change.

He cites the most recent independent poll taken the first week in September by Text 2 Them, a Laurel, Md.-based firm, which sampled more than 13,000 voters by text messaging. Turner said the results show him overtaking Baker for the lead with Jackson falling to third. Jackson said he never heard of this poll.

Maryland State Delegate Gerron Levi has a 10-point plan and a large corps of volunteers working out of the IBEW, the electrical workers union. She hopes to make history by being the first woman elected to the office of Prince George’s County Executive. She said the only poll that counts is the one taken Tuesday when the votes are tallied.

Prince George’s County -- like its neighbor Washington, D.C. -- has such a dominant Democratic party voter enrollment, so it’s likely that whoever wins the primary will be the next Prince George’s Executive.

That, along with the D.C. Mayoral Primary, will determine in one day the direction of these two large metropolitan areas that share a common border and many of the same problems.

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