Republican Alan Walden says he will cut taxes, streamline agencies if elected Baltimore mayor

Under an umbrella on a drizzly Sunday afternoon with a cigar in his left hand, Alan Walden distributed gold-and-black fliers advertising his underdog mayoral campaign.

The Republican seeking to lead staunchly Democratic Baltimore greeted passersby at a Fells Point street festival, jawing about improving public transit and cutting property taxes as a 90s alt-rock anthem hummed in the background.

“I’m an unapologetic Baltimore booster,” Walden, 80, told Paul Arnest, and his wife, Tracy Miller, in his distinctive radio voice, honed over a half century in broadcast.

The Towson couple recognized Walden from his days on WBAL Radio. After about five minutes of talking, the group reached consensus: the city needs a “healthy two-party system.”

Translating such shared sentiment into votes from city residents on Nov. 8 is Walden’s challenge.

No Republican mayoral candidate in Baltimore has garnered even a third of general election votes over the past 30 years, but Walden said he can win. He faces Democratic state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, Green Party nominee Joshua Harris and several write-in candidates, including former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

In radio, Walden worked as an anchor, news director and foreign correspondent, among other positions, but is perhaps best known for his “Walden Ponderings,” a broadcast essay feature on WBAL Radio that ran for 18 years.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, who moved to Baltimore in 1988, Walden said he is an “unvarnished patriot” who wants to confront today’s politically correct culture that he thinks has “reached the point of absurdity.” For instance, he prefers the term “illegal alien” to “undocumented worker.”

Walden, who served in the U.S. Army and the Army Reserve, said he is a “historian by avocation.” He is a longtime volunteer at Fort McHenry, where recordings of his voice are used to guide visitors at the military shrine.

The late William Donald Schaefer — whom he called a good friend — made him an honorary colonel of the Maryland Line.

Walden was diagnosed with cancer in late May and underwent an eight-hour surgery to remove his prostate and bladder in July. He said he is cancer-free and requires no further treatment.

“I probably got back into the campaign quicker than I should have,” he said from his condominium in the quiet North Baltimore development.

He has never run for, nor held, elected office.

As a Republican, Walden tried to disassociate himself with his party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump. He often repeats variations of the same thought: “There are Republicans and there are Republicans. I don’t equate myself with any other Republican, state or national. I am a Constitutional conservative. I am not a right-wing nut job.”

Renee Tuma, of Brewers Hill, does not care what brand of Republican Walden is. She said she is a loyal Democrat who most wants the future mayor to address the proliferation of litter in the city.

She shook Walden’s hand at the recent Fells Post festival and took his flier, and she promised to consider voting for him.

Asked if she will, she said, “Probably not.”

Alan Walden

Age: 80

Job: Retired WBAL news anchor

Experience: Not previously elected to office

Education: Attended Brooklyn College in New York City

Home: Cross Keys

Family: Married 37 years to Jeannie; two adult children; one granddaughter

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