Can Hogan’s Poll Numbers Create a Drive for Ten in MD Senate?

We all know about the Drive for Five where Republicans are trying to pick up five seats in the Maryland Senate to prevent Democrats from overriding Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of bad bills.

Now that the latest Gonzales Research poll shows Hogan with a 52 percent to 36 percent lead over Democrat Ben Jealous, why not Drive for Ten for the Win? If the GOP can pick up 10 seats in November, they will take over the Senate. This might have seemed like a “pie in the sky” dream a few years (even a few months ago), but it is an outside possibility.

First, Hogan won many districts in 2014 that are occupied by Democratic senators and that margin is on pace to increase with this matchup against Jealous.

Another factor is that many of the moderate Democratic senators either retired or lost in the primary in those moderate districts and many of those Democratic nominees are more liberal.

Here is an overall chart of all 47 senate races and a list below of the Drive for Five races followed by five more races that could give the Maryland GOP a majority in the Senate. They are listed in the order where I believe each GOP candidate has the best chance to win.

Solid RLikely RLeaning RToss UpLeaning DLikely DSolid D
Edwards 1-RSalling 6-ROpen 30-D (George -R)Young 3-DOpen 12-D (Lam-D)Kelly-10-DZirkin 11-D
Serafini 2-RBates 9-ROpen 42-D (West-R)Klausmeier 8-DZucker 14-DGuzzone 13-DLee 16-D
Hough 4-RWaugh 29-R (Bailey)Mathias 38-DFeldman 15-DKegan 17-DOpen 18-D (Waldstreicher-D)
Ready 5-RCassilly 34-RMiddleton 28-D (Ellis-D)Open 19-D (Kramer-D)Smith 20-D
Jennings 7-RHershey 36-RMiller 27-DRosapepe 21-D
Simonaire 31-REckardt 37-RFerguson 46-DPinsky 22-D
Reilly 33-RPeters 23-D
Open 35-R (Gallion-R)Benson 24-D
Open 25-D (Griffith-D)
Open 26-D (Patterson-D)
King 39-D
Robinson 40-D (Hayes)
Open 41-D (Carter-D)
Conway 43-D (Washington)
Nathan-Pulliam 44-D
McFadden 45-D (McCray)
Open 47-D (Augustine-D)

Leaning Republican

Chris West District 42
Chris West is going after Jim Brochin’s old seat in the senate in Northern Baltimore County West finds himself in a great position in a moderate district. I believe West has the best chance of all the Republican candidates to flip a blue senate seat red.

Ron George District 30
Ron George is not too far behind West as I believe he has the second-best chance to flip a Democratic seat. Sen. John Astle is not running for re-election and George appears to be miles ahead of the Democratic nominee. Since District 30 is Speaker Michael Busch’s home district, this might be a little harder for George to win compared to West, but not by much.

Toss Up

Craig Giangrande District 3
Frederick businessmen Craig Giangrande has nearly $100,000 in the bank as he is challenging Democratic Sen. Ron Young. In 2014, Young won his race by 500 votes. Since District 3 is a close race, with Giangrande’s money and Young’s poor voting record, Giangrande is the Republican most likely to knock off an incumbent.

Marybeth Carozza District 38
Marybeth Carozza is a Delegate in District 38C and is challenging Democratic Sen. James Mathias. Carozza is in good shape as this lower Eastern Shore District is now heavily Republican after Donald Trump dominated the District in 2016. The bad news is that Mathias is the former mayor of Ocean City and has been a well-respected politician the past few decades. Although a photo with Mathias and Democrat Ben Jealous is hurting that reputation.

Christian Miele District 8
Of all the toss up races, Christian Miele might have the toughest battle. Democratic Sen. Kathy Klausmeier has been an elected official since 1995 and District 8 is more moderate as Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by a few points in 2016. The good news for Miele is that Larry Hogan beat Anthony Brown almost 2 to 1 in 2014. That number is expected to increase against Jealous and many voters are tired of career politicians such as Klausmeier.

Leaning Democrat

John Grasso District 32
Anne Arundel Councilman John Grasso is challenging Del. Pam Beidle for the open senate in District 32 as Democratic Sen. James Ed DeGrange did not run for re-election. Beidle is a liberal Democrat in a moderate District. Since Grasso is a current councilman, his experience should help him in this race. I have District 32 as Leaning Democrat for the simple reason that there are no elected Republicans in District 32 House of Delegates, but Grasso can win this race.

Bill Dotson District 28
When Arthur Ellis upset Sen. Mac Middleton in the Democratic primary, the Republicans scrambled to nominate Bill Dotson via the local central committee. John Leonard won the GOP nomination in District 28, but the Republicans asked Leonard to step aside to give Dotson the opportunity. Dotson had more money in the bank in June and I guess the GOP believes Dotson has a chance to win this race.

Joe Hooe District 12
Joe Hooe has unsuccessfully run for the House of Delegates in 2006, 2010 and 2014 and his June report showed him with under $2,000 in the bank. If Hooe can raise some money, he has a chance to take retiring Democratic Sen. Ed Kasemeyer’s seat away from Democrat Clarence Lam and Hooe should also benefit from a strong District 12 Republicans ticket as Republicans have an excellent chance to take a few Democratic House of Delegates seats in that District.

David Wilson District 15
This is where the GOP is starting to run out of gas to get to 10. David Wilson has just under $10,000 in the bank reported around June. That is enough to run a formidable campaign, but he could use a lot more. Wilson did not catch a break as he is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Brian Feldman in Montgomery County, but this is a very moderate district for Montgomery County standards. Feldman just received over 60 percent of the vote in 2014 and that number could go down as Larry Hogan has a chance to win this District over Jealous. Wilson could benefit and pull this off.

Robert Dronz District 14
Looking at the 2014 Election results, I believe that District 14 could be more winnable for the GOP over District 15. The GOP Senate nominee received over 42 percent of the vote in 2014 but Dronz has only raised less than $500 as of June compared to Wilson’s $9,000 in District 15. It will not be easy for Dronz to upset Democratic Sen. Craig Zucker, but this Montgomery County district is not as liberal as other parts of Montgomery County. I believe that Hogan won this district in 2014 and he should win by a wider margin in 2018. Dronz is probably guaranteed 40 percent of the vote. If he can get out there, work hard and raise some money, Dronz has a chance to upset Zucker.

So that is how I see some of these Senate race as of Aug. 20. What do you think? Email me at benjaminjboehl@gmail.com

Klasumeier’s Literature Features a Photo with Hogan


I received a piece of literature from Sen. Kathy Klasumeier’s campaign in my door today. Sen. Klasumeier is my state senator in District 8 and she is in the battle of her political life against Republican challenger Del. Christian Miele.

The literature was positive and spoke of Klasumeier’s accomplishments in Annapolis. She had a few photos on the piece, including one of herself and Gov. Larry Hogan at what appeared to be a bill signing.

Now she did not claim that the Governor endorsed her and she did not endorse the Governor. The photo of Klasumeier and Hogan stated that she worked with him on many pieces of legislation, including bills to fight the opioid crisis.

The piece wanted to show that a Democratic senator can work across the aisle with a Republican Governor.

I am not criticizing Klasumeier for being misleading at all. Instead I find it interesting to watch this balancing act that many Democrats are going to have to take over the next few months.

These Democrats in moderate Districts can not come out and endorse Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous and they sure can’t bash Gov. Larry Hogan. On the other hand, Democrats can not praise the Governor too much because the Governor has endorsed many of their Republican opponents such as Christian Miele. It’s a tough balancing act for Democrats.

Nawrocki Issues Statement on Bevins’ Vote on Responder Tax Credit

The Baltimore County Council voted to table Bill 56-18, which would provide police officers and other first responders with a tax credit. The vote went along party lines as Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and her Democratic colleagues voted to table the bill with a 4 to 3 vote.

Bevins’ November Republican opponent Ryan Nawrocki immediately released a statement attacking her decision.

“Why would our Councilwoman [Bevins]vote against a property tax credit for police officers and first responders? Violent crime was up 32 percent last year in our district and our Police, Firefighters and EMTs are working harder than ever.

“This vote is deeply troubling and shows a complete lack of support for our first responders.”

When council legislation is tabled, the bill is still alive and could be voted on again in the future. In most cases, changes need to be made for the bill to get an up or down vote.

I agree with Ryan Nawrocki that we need more police officers and that we need to incentive our first responders. After the incident at White Marsh Mall last weekend and the increased crime throughout our county, we need to hire more first responders. The tax credit can only help.

Simon Provides Cardin With Another Third Party Candidate to Split GOP Vote

Unaffiliated candidate Neil Simon has entered the U.S. Senate race and will probably take votes away from GOP nominee Tony Campbell.
-photo courtesy of NeilSimon.com-

When Sen. Ben Cardin ran for re-election in 2012, he faced multiple candidates in the General Election that year. That is common as there are usually Green Party, Libertarian and write-in candidates in the race but there was an unaffiliated candidate that year by the name of Rob Sobhani.

Dan Bongino was the Republican nominee and Sobhani took some of  Bongino’s votes as he received 16.5 percent and Bongino took around 26 percent. Cardin still got 56 percent of the vote that year but Republicans were still irked that Sobhani took votes away from Bongino.

For the first time in six years, Cardin is up for re-election. It also appears that a third-party candidate by the name of Neil Simon is this year’s Rob Sobhani.

Republican Senate nominee Tony Campbell is furious that Simon got on the ballot and I can’t blame Campbell. Simon went around the state and collected enough signatures to get on the ballot.

“It is interesting how every time Ben Cardin runs for re-election there is a wealthy Montgomery County “independent moderate” who decides to spend millions of dollars on a third party run to divide the anti-Cardin vote and ensure Cardin’s victory.” Campbell wrote on his Campbell4Maryland Facebook page.

Simon appears to be a serious candidate as campaign finance reports showed him with over $20,000  so far. Simon bought a local ad in my hometown paper the East County Times last week and his team called my house for internal polling. I’m sure he has bought ads in local newspapers throughout the state. He claims on his website that he is going to run TV ads.

According to his website, Simon does not take a real stance on any issues. Some of his principles include; putting country before party and using common sense to find common ground to solve problems. That sounds like every politician but he does not address any hot button issues on his website.

As a conservative, I want Ben Cardin to be defeated. If Neil Simon feels the same way and really wanted to give Cardin a serious battle, then why didn’t he enter the Republican primary to get a potential one-on-one contest with Cardin?

I am very angry as Simon is going to take votes away from Campbell too but Simon will not get enough votes to beat Cardin.

During the Simon phone call, I told his volunteer that I was voting for Tony Campbell and that a third-party can’t win and they really can’t win. All that a third-party candidate does is split the vote.

If Donald Trump has taught us anything (Libertarian Ron Paul tried before as a Republican and Green Party member Bernie Sanders tried as a Democrat) third-party candidates need to control one of the two major parties to have success in the General. I wish we had a three and maybe a four-party system but we do not.

So is Simon really trying to beat Cardin or is he trying to help Cardin by splitting the vote? By the way, whatever happened to Rob Sobhani?

Breaking Down The Baltimore County Council Races

Likely RepublicanLeaning RepublicanToss UpLeaning DemocratLikely Democrat
Kach 3-RBevins 6-DQuirk 1-DOpen 2-D (Patoka-D)
Marks 5-RJones 4-D (unopposed)
Crandell 7-R

Here is my breakdown of the County Council races in Baltimore County. I don’t believe there is too much excitement except for one race (District 6). With the Democrats currently holding a 4 to 3 majority, that one race is a key factor in the future of the county. Here are how the races look in my opinion

 

Likely Republican

Councilmen David Marks (R-5) and Todd Crandell (R-7) easily won their primaries with over 80 percent of the vote. While their numbers won’t be as high in the General Election against their Democratic opponents, they should get at least 60 to maybe 70 percent of the vote. Although Councilman Wade Kach (R-3) had a narrow primary win, he should have a bigger General Election win than Marks and Crandell since District 3 is more favorable to Republicans.

Likely Democrat

Julian Jones (D-4) is unopposed in the General Election so he was considered re-elected after his primary win.

Izzy Patoka (D-2) is going after Vicky Almond’s old seat and she is in a good shape against Republican Mike Lee. I met Lee and he seems like a good candidate but has a tough road ahead. If Lee can gain some traction, I might be able to put this into the “Leaning Democrat” column in the next few months.

Leaning Democrat

I think Councilman Tom Quirk is okay right now in July as he seeks re-election against Republican challenge Al Nalley in a rematch from 2014. Quirk has an advantage because he was scheduled to face Republican Pete Melcavage, but Melcavage dropped out of the race and Nalley was named as a last-minute replacement. On the other hand, there is going to be a Republican wave in southwestern Baltimore County with Gov. Larry Hogan and a strong Republican ticket in State Legislative District 12 race. That could help Nalley. Also, Nalley has name ID as he was able to pick up 39 percent of the vote in 2014 against Quirk. This race could slip into “Toss-Up” before November.

 

Toss-Up

Obviously, Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6) is going to have a battle with Republican challenger Ryan Nawrocki in a rematch from 2010. Bevins is in a strong Republican district and Nawrocki must get all the Deb Sullivan, Erik Lofstad, Allen Robertson and Glen Geelhaar supporters on his side for November. If the other six council races go as expected, this race will decide the balance of the county council.

My Campaign Is Over; Time to Help GOP Candidates

My campaign for the House of Delegates in District 8 came to an end on June 26. I want to thank all 1,244 people that voted for myself in the primary, but it was well short of my goal.

Congratulations to Joe Cluster, Joe Boteler and Joe Norman on securing the top three spots and hopefully you three gentlemen will be able to finally sweep the district (along with Christian Miele in the Senate). Again I ran in this race to make sure the Republican Party had three strong candidates for the House of Delegates, whether it was myself or three other candidates.

Now that my race is over, I’m going to help promote Republican candidates here in Baltimore County. We all know we have a great opportunity to re-elect Gov. Larry Hogan and pick up some seats in the House and Senate, but we have opportunities in Baltimore County.

Al Redmer, Jr. has an excellent chance to become our next Baltimore County Executive. Also, Ryan Nawrocki has a very strong shot to become our next county councilman in District 6, which would give Republicans a chance to control the county 4 to 3 with a Republican County Executive.

I will have more on these races in the next few weeks and months.