Elections Board: Bread Rises, Roses Smell Sweet

    The Maryland State Board of Elections this week granted official ballot status for the 2020 and 2022 elections to the Bread and Roses Party, a socialist-leaning group led by a former Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

    Bread and Roses is the brainchild of Jerome Segal, a retired University of Maryland lecturer and lifelong progressive activist who spent more than $1 million of his own money last year to challenge U.S. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin in the Democratic primary. He took about 3.4 percent of the vote.

    Segal then tried to get the Bread and Roses Party certified for the 2018 general election so he could run for Senate on that ballot line, but was stymied by the state’s “sore loser” law, which prevents defeated primary candidates from becoming general election candidates.

    According to the board of elections, party organizers turned in 15,835 petition signatures to get the Bread and Roses Party certified, and 10,194 were deemed to be valid – just 194 more than necessary. The party must now establish a state central committee and begin adhering to state campaign finance rules and other election laws.

    The idea to call a new political party the Bread and Roses Party comes from a legendary strike at textile mills in Lawrence, Mass., in 1912. It became known as the “Bread and Roses” strike because the workers – most of whom were immigrant women – were looking to nourish both their bodies and their souls.

    In a lengthy interview last summer, Segal said he wants the Bread and Roses Party to field candidates for political offices. But he also wants it to serve as a vehicle to facilitate dialogue on how to advance progressive causes.

    “I want something nimble and interesting that will spark new ideas,” he said.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.