What’s the deal with Rob Santoni and his political aspirations?


All of the recent news about Santoni’s Market closing in Baltimore has gotten a lot of attention. Rob Santoni claimed the city’s bottle tax caused him to go out of business. The mayor and others have questioned the bottle tax claims. Some in the city have doubted this claim. Since the closing was announced, there have been reports of unpaid bills to vendors resulting in lawsuits. Additionally, it was reported today that the closing was because of unpaid rent.

Santoni told the Baltimore Business Journal that, now that he’s closing his store, he is considering running for the State House in District 8 or becoming a lobbyist. The BBJ flubs that part of the story by saying only Joe Boteler currently occupies the seat when there are actually three incumbents (the other two are Eric Bromwell and John Cluster.) Boteler won’t even stand for re-election in District 8 since he lives in District 42 under the new map.

The BBJ reported that Santoni would run as a Democrat. After the article appeared, I heard numerous Republicans saying he would likely be running as a Republican, that he was a life-long Republican, and that his father ran for office in the city as a Republican.

If Santoni really was a life-long Republican, he has changed his registration sometime recently to become a Democrat:


Additionally, all of Santoni’s personal campaign contributions in the Maryland campaign finance database have been to Democrats on Baltimore City Council. City Council President Jack Young received the most in campaign contributions. Other members of City Council that received contributions from Santoni include Warren Branch, Pete Welch, Bill Henry, Helen Holton, and Jim Kraft. His only federal contribution has been to Helen Delich Bentley, a Republican, in 2002. Santoni’s Supermarket gave a state contribution to the Maryland Retail Merchants Association and no others.

Since I last wrote a preview of the District 8 race a few things have changed. The Republican field for the House of Delegates is still Del. John Cluster, Christian Miele, and Norma Secoura. I have heard no new names on that side of the aisle unless Santoni were to run as a Republican.

As far as Democrats go, it sounds more and more like Joe Bartenfelder will not be running. Besides Eric Bromwell, former county council candidate Bill Paulshock is also reportedly running. Ben Boehl reported on Debbie Schillinger’s candidacy for the seat as well.

If  the field on each side mentioned above remains the same and Santoni throws his hat into the ring, it would cause a primary for the party he ran in. Right now that appears to be the Democrats. Then again, he might decide to just become a lobbyist.

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton

Jeff Quinton is an award-winning blogger who has been aggregating and blogging since 1998. He has worked as a reporter, in government, and as a communications professional in Columbia, SC and Washington, DC.

Quinton is a native South Carolinian who has lived in Baltimore since 2006. He is a recent convert to the Catholic Church and is active in the Knights of Columbus. He has been involved in the pro-life movement nationally and locally since 2010.

Quinton is a veteran who served as an intelligence analyst in the Army National Guard. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Jeff Quinton