Hogan Survives the Maryland Blue Wave

Well it looks as if my predictions were wrong. I had Republicans sweeping the eastside of Baltimore County, picking up a House of Delegates seat in District 12 and was even dumb enough to predict a Republican would win a seat in Montgomery County.

I thought the key to a big Republican night was the success of Gov. Larry Hogan. Yes, we knew he was getting re-elected but by how much? Hogan pulled off a 4-point victory over Anthony Brown in 2014. Hogan was projected to win in some polls between 15 to 20 points. For a strong double-digit victory statewide over Ben Jealous, Hogan would have to rack up some huge numbers in places such as Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County.

That would then trickle down to the down ballot races for Republicans such as the County Executive’s race and the District 8 Senate race in Baltimore County, The District 12 races for House of Delegates and Senate candidates in Howard County and the Senate and House of Delegate races for District 30 & 32 in Anne Arundel County. I never thought the GOP County Executive’s in Anne Arundel and Howard counties needed a big night from Hogan as I thought they were already safe.

So, if Hogan only beat Jealous by four or five points that would mean that he was winning comfortably but not dominating in place such as Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Howard County, which would have hurt the down ballot races.

When the early results came out and Hogan was winning by 14 points statewide and by almost 25 points in Baltimore County, I thought that would translate into a big night for GOP County Executive candidate Al Redmer and state Senate candidates Christian Miele and Chris West. That was not the case as Redmer and Miele lost, and West held off his Democratic opponent for a narrowly win. The same result in Howard and Anne Arundel. Not only couldn’t Hogan’s big numbers in those judications help the Senate and House of Delegate candidates, Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and Anne Arundel. County Executive Steve Schuh both lost in upsets.

Last night reminds me of 2006 when Democrats took over Congress during the mid-term during a Republican presidency [George W. Bush] and a Maryland GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich was up for re-election. We remember that Ehrlich lost, and the GOP took a beating locally in the House of Delegates.

The only difference is that this incumbent GOP governor Larry Hogan was able to survive. Not just survive but win big. Can’t figure out why Hogan’s numbers didn’t trickle down.

Eight Days is Too Many for Early Voting

I am sorry but Early Voting is too long. Eight days is too many days. This is coming from a person who initiately opposed Early Voting when it started in 2008. I have changed my thought a bit as I have learned to not only accept Early Voting, but I am starting to like it.

It does have the benefits of beating the Election Day crowd and it gives voters a chance to meet most of their favorite local candidates at the polls (candidates cannot be at all 30 precincts on Election Day, but they can attend the Early Voting site in their district). However; the Early Voting experience can be done in three to five days instead of eight days.

As someone who worked the polls for campaigns (including my own) eight days is a lot. Many Democrats, who I will not mention, agreed that eight days is too many. While I don’t expect anyone to shed a tear for candidates that must brave the heat (June primary) or the cold and rain (November general) for eight days, I do think everyone will agree that it is a waste of taxpayer money. We must pay Election Judges and rent the facilities for eight days.

Many of these Democrats in the General Assembly that admit that eight days is too long, would never consider reducing Early Voting to five days or less. The theory behind Early Voting is that there are more Democratic voters in Maryland, and the longer the polls are open, the more Democrats will come out and vote. I disagree.

If Early Voting is cut down from eight to four days, then there is a belief that Early Voting totals will be reduced by 50 percent. I do not believe that for a minute. I have no scientific proof, but I am sure that if Early Voting days were reduced by 50 percent, voter turnout would probably only decline by 10 to 20 percent. For those who want to vote early will find a way to get to the polls within the four-to-five-window compared to the current eight days.

Another argument that Democrats would make in favor of keeping eight days is if there was some bad weather (which we did see on Saturday) during my proposed four-day stretch. Then they would argue that we would need the full eight days. Yes, Early Voting turnout would be lower if those three to four days were washed out, but those voters would still be able to come back and vote on Election Day. What happens if we have bad weather on Election Day? There is no make-up day after Nov. 6.

I should not complain too much. When Early Voting started it was only five days. There was talk of the General Assembly reducing it down but then it was increased to the current eight-day format.

If there is another change to Early Voting, The General Assembly would probably expand it to three weeks instead of shirking to four to five days. I guess I should be happy it is only eight days.

Matory is Providing Great Story in CD 2 Race

Liz Matory with former Sheriff of Milwaukee County and TV personality David Clarke.

One of the more interesting candidates of the 2018 Election has been Republican 2nd Congressional candidate Liz Matory. She has been very energized and passionate in her race against Congressman C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

The Republican party has been criticized by the media for being too old, too white and having too many males. Matory has broken all those stereotypes as she is an African American female candidate under the age of 40. Matory has been concerned a controversial candidate by some as she lives outside the district in Montgomery county and she ran as a Democrat for the House of Delegates in 2014.

But Matory does not hide from her former life as a Democrat. She talks about her “walk away” moment on the campaign trail and through her self-published book “Born Again Republican”.

Matory has been endorsed by former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and held an event with special guest former Sheriff of Milwaukee County and TV personality David Clarke. When she filmed a campaign visit to Havre Grace, she was asked about her support of President Donald Trump. Matory did not hesitate as she said she supports the president.

Matory must be doing something right because a “Republicans for Dutch” Facebook page was created to slow her down but that page has been removed. It seems as if the page was created to portray Matory as still a liberal in Republican clothing but there was also a reference from one of the organizers that Matory is “too extreme” by supporting Trump and his policies. Which one is it? She must be scaring someone.

This is still a tough district that is gerrymandered for Democrats. Most districts have a 66 to 34 Democrat to Republican ratio. Congressional District 2 (CD2) has a ratio of 72 to 28 Democrat to Republican.

In 2012, GOP challenger state Sen. Nancy Jacobs received 31 percent of the vote and state Del. Pat McDonough received 33 percent of the vote in 2016. Ironically, unknown Republican David Banach received 36 percent of the vote in 2014. How did Banach receive a higher percentage than McDonough and Jacobs? The most obvious answer is because of the top of the ticket. Jacobs and McDonough saw their party’s presidential nominee (Mitt Romney and Donald Trump) receive 36 percent in 2012 and 34 percent in 2016. Banach had Hogan on the top of his ticket in 2014.

So, a popular Larry Hogan at the top of the ticket and a strong campaigner in Matory could get the GOP vote into the 40s in CD 2. I predict that this will be Ruppersberger’s toughest race, but I don’t know if Matory can overcome all the gerrymandering in CD2. Win or lose, Matory is becoming a star in the Maryland GOP.

Wolf Becoming Star in Baltimore County

Craig Wolf is becoming a rock star here in Baltimore County. The Republican nominee for Attorney General has an uphill battle against current Democratic Attorney Gen. Brian Frosh. Polls in August showed Wolf down by 32 points but a poll last week showed Wolf only down nine points. He has really hit Frosh hard about not protecting the citizens of Maryland but instead worrying about suing President Donald Trump’s federal government.

Craig Wolf (second on the left) attended the “Three Joes” event last Friday with Councilman David Marks, Del. Joe Cluster, Del. candidates Joe Boteler & Joe Norman and state Senate candidate Del. Christian Miele.

Last Friday, Wolf attended a fundraiser for Sen. John Salling in Essex and later went to a fundraiser in Perry Hall for the “Three Joes” (Del. Joe Cluster, Joe Boteler and Joe Norman) in District 8. Wolf was a big hit with the crowd as many of the attendees posed for pictures with Wolf. I have also seen him at GOP County Executive nominee Al Redmer events and other Republican candidate events.

I talked to Wolf at the “Three Joes” event and asked him why he is always in Baltimore County. He responded that Baltimore County is a “make or break” jurisdiction for his chance to defeat Frosh. I agree. Gov. Larry Hogan is polling at 63 to 37 percent in Baltimore County against Ben Jealous and Redmer has an opportunity to win the Country Executive’s race. Wolf will need all those Hogan and Redmer voters to cast a vote for him too.

This reminds me of 2014 when Hogan was down big early to Anthony Brown. Later, Hogan narrowed the gap within a week or two of Election Day. Then Hogan’ s campaign caught fire and he flew pass Brown in the final week.

I am starting to see similarities with Wolf. I thought Wolf had a chance to win in March, then lost confidence after the first poll showed him down by 32, and now I’m starting to see him catch fire in the final three weeks. I’m hoping that Wolf pulls it off.

GOP Chair Reveals Internal Poll Number to Red Maryland

I reported on Tuesday that MD GOP Dick Haire was a guest on the Red Maryland Podcast on Monday to share GOP internal poll numbers for some of the key state Senate races. Again, I was critical when the Democrats released their poll showing Democrat John Olszewski up by 19 in the Baltimore County Executive race over Republican Al Redmer. I took it with a huge grain of salt considering the poll since it was a month old and an internal poll.
So, I won’t be a hypocrite and claim these GOP numbers are 100 percent accurate, but I did find it interesting that some Republican candidates are doing better than others.
Haire did not release specific numbers but revealed the closeness of the races. The full interview can be heard at Red Maryland, but I have written the cliff notes below on Haire’s breakdown on the races.

District 3
This district appears to be a close. District 3 has changed a lot of its demographics over the past 10 years. That has favored Democrats and Democratic Sen. Ron Young. The GOP poll shows that GOP challenger Craig Giangrande “has narrowed the gap” within the margin of error. I’m assuming that Young is up by three to four.

District 42
Haire revealed that Del. Chris West has a large lead over Democrat Robbie Leonard for Democrat Jim Brochin’s vacant senate seat in northern Baltimore County. I thought Brochin would have had a heck of a battle to keep his seat against West if he ran for re-election, so I don’t think Leonard will get in West’s way.

District 8
Haire said that both West and Del. Christian Miele had “significant leads” in their senate races. Again, I think West easily defeats the Democrat in District 42, but I thought Miele would be in a tight race against Democratic Incumbent Sen. Kathy Klausmeier in northeast Baltimore County. If Miele has a “significant” lead it is because he is a campaign machine. Miele did not have a primary, but he ran like he had a primary in the spring. According to Haire, Miele is in great shape.

District 12
In a bit of a surprise, The GOP said its challenger Joe Hooe is “holding a slight lead over” Del. Clarence Lam for Democrat Ed Kasemeyer’s vacant seat in Howard County. Haire did not report the specific numbers, but Maryland Matters cited a GOP poll where Hooe is beating Lam 39 to 32. This is a change when Lam was up over Hooe 48 to 30 in August. Maryland Matters believes that the popularity of Gov. Larry Hogan is helping Hooe.

District 28
Haire said this Southern Maryland district came into play when Democratic Sen. Mac Middleton was upset by Democratic challenger Arthur Ellis. This got the ball rolling where the GOP central committee nominated Bill Dotson as their nominee after the primary. He said Dotson “Looked very strong” in the race but did not explain if Dotson was “up or down” in the polls.

District 30
Former Del. Ron George was reported with an eight-point lead over Democratic challenged Sarah K. Elfreth. This is the vacant seat left by Democratic Sen. John Arstle. I thought George would have a slam dunk victory in the Annapolis area district but Haire reported that polls show him with only a four-point lead over Elfreth in the summer. Now it looks like George is finally starting to distance himself from the Democrat.

District 32
Haire didn’t mention how GOP challenger and current councilman John Grasso was faring against Democratic Del. Pam Beidle for the vacant senate seat but did reveal that two Republicans were favored in their polling to take two vacant House of Delegate seats. Haire said he was “optimist” for Grasso in that senate race in northwest Anne Arundel County.

District 38
Haire admitted that the GOP underestimated Democratic Sen. Jim Mathieu “Higher and durable” name ID, despite being in a strong Republican district in his Eastern Shore race against GOP challenger Del. Mary Beth Carozza
Haired said Carozza’s numbers have significantly increased and the race is now a “dead heat”.

Will Obama’s Endorsements Matter in Maryland?

Former President Barack Obama decided to enter Maryland Politics by endorsing Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, Speaker of the House Michael Busch and 9B District Democratic House candidate Courtney Watson in Howard County.

Obama’s endorsement of Jealous is bigger than most people want to admit. Jealous must do well in the big three jurisdictions of Baltimore City, Montgomery and Prince George’s County to defeat Gov. Larry Hogan. Polls show him winning in those three areas, but he needs to win all three with a wide margin to beat Hogan. Obama had a lot of support in those areas and that might be able to help Jealous gain some votes.

His endorsement of Watson is a little surprising. There are a few Democrats that have a slim chance of beating any Republican House incumbent. Although it will be close, I think the Hogan-Kittleman combination should be more than enough to help Del. Robert Flanigan defeat Watson.

Is Michael Busch in trouble? A poll back in August showed Gov. Hogan winning Busch’s 30A District 71 to 21 percent over Jealous. Is there a concern that the Democratic Speaker and his running mate Alice Cain could lose to both Republicans Bob O’Shea and Chelsea Gill in District 30A that Obama was asked to endorse Busch? If so, I don’t think the former President’s endorsement will help him that much in this Anne Arundel County based district. If Busch wins, it will be a result of his name ID and not Obama.

So I do worry that Obama’s endorsement of Jealous could help the Democrats, but I don’t think it will make a difference in 9B and 30A. What are your thoughts?

New Goucher Poll Has Hogan Up Big; Wolf and Campbell Down Big

A new poll shows Gov. Hogan up by 22 points
A new Goucher poll shows Gov. Larry Hogan with a 22-point lead over Democratic challenger Ben Jealous. The Republican governor has 54 percent compared to Jealous’ 34 percent. Green party nominee Ian Schlakman and Libertarian candidate Shawn Quinn both have one percent of the vote. Only nine percent are undecided with less than seven weeks until Election Day. This poll result is not a shocker with Hogan’s popularity and with Jealous’ inexperience and blunders.

The poll also reveals that Democratic Attorney Gen. Brian Frosh has a commanding 58 to 26 percent lead over Republican Craig Wolf, with 12 percent undecided. I am very disappointed to hear that result. With Wolf running a strong campaign, having the endorsement of Hogan and the unpopularity of Frosh; I thought Wolf would be in striking distance of Frosh. If Wolf was only down 10 to 15 points, then he could make a run in the final weeks. I am afraid that 32 points might be too insurmountable for Wolf.

In addition to the Governor and Attorney General races, the poll was conducted for the U.S. Senate race here in Maryland. Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin was shown with a 56 to 17 percent lead over Republican Tony Campbell. Independent candidate Neal Simon was listed with eight percent of the vote. There were 14 percent undecided and the Libertarian candidate Arvin Vohra was recorded with one percent of the vote.

If you add up Campbell and Simon’s numbers it would show Cardin winning 56 to 25, which is almost identical to Frosh beating Wolf 58 to 26. So the GOP’s fear of Simon cutting into Campbell’s votes are true, but this splitting of the vote would be more significant if Cardin had numbers around 36, Campbell had 27 and Simon had 18 percent.

The biggest takeaway from the Senate and Attorney General races is that Hogan’s coattails are not transferring over in these races. Especially for Craig Wolf who has been spending and raising money. I am hoping that GOP candidates in the state Senate and House of Delegate races have better luck benefiting from those Hogan coattails.

Thanks to Goucher College for conducting the poll. By the way, when will a Baltimore County Executive race poll be conducted?