Final Breakdown of MD State Senate Races

Here are my final breakdowns for the 47 state senate races. I do not consider myself an expert at all. These are my guestimations on some of these battleground races. These assessments are based on internal polling, online articles, online activity, campaign finance reports and 2014 Election Data. I will hit on some predictions and will probably miss on a few races too.

In my humble opinion, I do not believe any of the 14 current GOP controlled seats are in danger of turning blue on Tuesday. As my table indicates, I think three current Democratic seats will go red. There are four “toss up” races that are currently under Democratic control that could go either way. Also, I feel that there are races “leaning Democrat” that will probably remain in Democratic control, but the Republicans could steal any or all of those seats if Gov. Larry Hogan has a huge night in those Districts.

Solid RLikely RLeaning RToss UpLeaning DLikely DSolid D
Edwards 1-RSalling 6-ROpen 30-D (George -R)Young 3-DFeldman 15-DKelly-10-DZirkin 11-D
Serafini 2-RBates 9-ROpen 42-D (West-R)Open 12-D (Lam-D)Miller 27-DGuzzone 13-DLee 16-D
Hough 4-RWaugh 29-R (Bailey-R)Klausmeier 8-D (Miele-R)Open 32-DMiddleton 28-D (Ellis-D)Zucker 14-DOpen 18-D (Waldstreicher-D)
Ready 5-RCassilly 34-RMathias 38-DKegan 17-DSmith 20-D
Jennings 7-RHershey 36-ROpen 19-D (Kramer-D)Rosapepe 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
District 8-Chrisitian Miele
I know Christian Miele very well. He is a humble guy who won’t like me writing this, but I am moving his race against Sen. Kathy Klausmeier from “Toss Up” to “Leaning Republican”. Internal polls show him up and he has worked his tail off. As I mentioned, Miele was unopposed in the primary, but he ran as if he had an opponent. Miele was down in an early poll by 16 points, but the poll results showed Miele was only down by the margin of error when voters were told that Miele was endorsed by Gov. Hogan. To his credit, Miele plastered signs all over District 8 that included his photo with Hogan. Miele is a great campaigner and that is why he will win this race.

District 30- Ron George
Back in the summer, Former Del. Ron George was favored to take Sen. John Astle’s seat and poll numbers have confirmed that George should win this race.

District 42 – Chris West
At this point, I think it is fair to say that Del. Chris West is great position to take Jim Brochin’s old seat in the senate in Northern Baltimore County.

Toss Up
District 3- Craig Giangrande
I thought that GOP Challenger Craig Giangrande would be well ahead over Democratic Sen. Ron Young at this point of the race, but even GOP internal polling still had Young winning. District 3 has changed a lot of its demographics over the past 10 years which favors Young. The GOP polling says Giangrande “has narrowed the gap” within the margin of error last month.

District 12-Joe Hooe
Joe Hooe’s race for a vacant seat in District 12 has gone from “Leaning Democrat” to “Toss Up” and might be even “Leaning Republican”. I will keep it at “Toss Up” since there is no current GOP representation in District 12, but this eastern Howard County/western Baltimore County district is very winnable for Hooe. He has been able to raise money and spent about $20,000 to promote his campaign. His Democratic opponent Del. Clearance Law is part of the Democratic machine but is not as strong as retiring Sen. Ed Kasemeyer.

District 32-John Grasso
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. I am moving this race into a “toss-up”. I am not aware of an internal poll for this race, but a House of Delegates internal poll showed that the two GOP House candidates Patty Ewing and Tim Walters were in position to take two of the open House seats in District 32. Hogan will win this district too, so I believe Grasso must be neck and neck with Beidle.

District 38-Mary Beth Carroza
I am surprised this race is still close. I thought Carroza would have pulled away in this race. President Donald Trump cruised to victory in this southeast Eastern Shore district. Dick Haire reported on MD GOP radio a few weeks ago, that Democratic Sen. Jim Mathias was now tied with Carroza. When I was down in Ocean City during the spring, I was disappointed that Carroza did not have her signs plastered all over the area. Christian Miele, who is a Delegate running against a similar race against an incumbent Democratic Senator, not only had his signs up in March, he had signs with a picture of Gov. Hogan.
One disadvantage that Carroza faces is that she is in a single member District 38C. Miele is part of a three-member District 8, so his constituents includes all of Sen. Kathy Klausmeier district. Carroza had to introduce herself to District 38 A and B. Let’s hope she pulls this out because this is a must-win for the “Drive for Five”

Leaning Democrat
District 15-David Wilson
There are a lot of districts where Gov. Hogan is expected to win but they are still Democratic strongholds. If a candidate or two can just get their name out there and hold onto Hogan’s coattails, they might be able to take advantage of a Hogan wave. District 15 is a moderate district in Montgomery County where Hogan is expected to do well. Democratic Sen. Brian Feldman has over $138,000 in the bank and has spent over $68,000 over the summer. Feldman’s Republican challenger David Wilson has spent over $9,000 on media and mailers. It is not as much as Feldman but that $9,000 is money well spent. I don’t know if Wilson can win in Montgomery County, but he is putting himself in position if there is a strong Hogan wave in District 15.

District 27-Jeese Peed
After reading Peed’s finance report, I am ready to put his race against Senate President Mike Miller in the “Leaning Democrat” from “Solid Democrat”. Peed had less than $500 back in August. Since then he received over $3,000 in contributions from citizens all over Maryland, almost $5,000 from the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee and it appears he loaned himself over $10,000 so he was able to spend near $15,000 on direct mail, printing and media. Polls showed Hogan winning this district by 30 points over Ben Jealous. If Hogan has coat tails, who knows? Miller has unlimited cash, but this race could turn into District 6 where a GOP Senate candidate underdog by the name of Johnny Ray Salling upset the heavy funded John Olszewski, Jr. in 2014.

District 28-Bill Dotson
I do not know too much after this Southern Maryland race. This is the race where Democratic Sen. Mac Middleton was upset in the primary by fellow Democrat Arthur Ellis and the GOP scrambled around to nominate Bill Dotson. His latest campaign finance report showed Dotson raising over $100,000 since Aug. 22 and spend over $77,000 in that same time. He showed why he was nominated by the GOP Central Committee. Ellis has also spent some money as he has over $112,000 cash on hand. Middleton beat his Republican opponent almost 2 to 1 in 2014 so I don’t know how many votes are on the table for Dotson.

Likely Democrat
District 14- Robert Drozd
There are many “Likely Democrat” races but I highlighted this race because I thought GOP candidate Robert Drozd had a chance to upset Sen. Craig Zucker in this moderate District 14 in Montgomery County, but he has only spent less than $500. I believe Hogan will do well in District 14 and I think that a GOP candidate has a shot to possibly take a delegate seat. But I’m moving this race out of “Leaning Democrat” from August to “Likely Democrat”. Republican candidate Frank Howard spent over $25,000 in the final weeks of the campaign and had a respectable 57.5 to 42.4 percent loss to Karen S. Montgomery in the 2014 District 14 race. There is an opportunity for Drozd, but I worry that he won’t be able to get his name out there with the lack of funding. If everything goes right for the GOP, this could be the race that decides if the Republicans can make up a majority in the state Senate. It is crazy that there is even an outside possibly of a Republican majority.

Deceiving Bipartisan Mailer Sent to District 8 Voters

It is getting to become the crazy part of the campaign as many voters in District 8 received an unusual mailer that promotes a bipartisan ticket. The mailer that did not have an authority line, but the mailer was labeled “The Bipartisan District 8 Team”. It listed Larry Hogan as Governor, Kathy Klausmeier as Senator and Eric Bromwell and Joe Cluster as Delegates.

Cluster immediately denounced the mailer and explained he was part of Team Hogan that includes himself, Joe Norman and Joe Boteler for delegate and Christian Miele for Senate.

Bromwell released a statement denying any responsibility for the ad.
“I had nothing to do with this mailer. I don’t know who sent it out. I am not endorsed by Governor Hogan, nor Joe Cluster, but should we be re-elected, I will continue to work with them in a bipartisan manner,” Bromwell said.

It appears that the mailer was sent by a special interest group. I have seen many of the comments from voters on social media and some appeared to be confused by the mailer.

Here is the strategy, Democrats are using two of their long-standing candidate’s name ID to hold onto their final spots here in northeast Baltimore County. It appears the only way to fight off this Hogan/GOP wave is to tie Bromwell and Klausmeier to two Republicans that are going to get re-elected in Hogan and Cluster.

You must hand it to the Democrats. Yes, It is desperation and unethical but a good strategy. Let’s hope the voters in District 8 see through the trick and vote for the WHOLE Hogan team.

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.

Opioid Epidemic Conservation Sadly Turns Political

It is hard to believe that a treatment organization such as The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland could turn a discussion about the opioid epidemic into a partisan discussion, but that appears to be the case.

RALI is holding a forum on the Opioid Epidemic at Perry Hall High School on Thursday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. Some of the guest speakers expected at the event are County Executive Don Mohler, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Delegate Eric Bromwell. All those elected officials are Democrats and Bromwell’s Republican delegate colleagues Joe Cluster and Christian Miele were not invited to the event, along with 5th District Republican councilman David Marks.

“Bipartisan, inclusive leadership is needed to eliminate the opioid epidemic in Baltimore County and throughout our state. Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, Delegate Joe Cluster, and I hope that the sponsors and organizers of tomorrow night’s community forum in Perry Hall reconsider their decision to only invite elected officials from one political party to participate,” Miele said in a social media statement.

Miele, Cluster and Marks sent out a letter to RALI of Maryland requesting an invite to this forum for this important and non-partisan issue.

Another participant of the event is John Torsch, who is from the Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation. The foundation is named after John’s brother Daniel who passed away from an accidental drug overdose in 2010. He promoted the event on a Perry Hall community Facebook page. Torsch was also a Democratic candidate for county council in the spring and is unaware why Republicans were not invited to the forum.

“That’s a question for the organizers of the event. I’d love to see more elected officials on both sides of the aisle speak up about the addiction epidemic and actually do something about it,” Torsch said on social media.

Councilman Marks, who could have potentially faced Torsch in November defended Torsch and commended him on his work.
“John is a good man, and I have learned a lot from him. I am still learning. He is a participant and not the organizer,” Mark said about Torsch.

The problem with having a nonpartisan event a month before the election is that many people are in a political frame of mind on both sides. There was a person who questioned why Kathy Klausmeier was even invited.
“Just say No to Klausmeier!” said a commenter to Torsch. He appropriately responded that the event is about saving lives.

“I tell you that more than 300 people died from drug overdoses last year in your area. We’re on pace for even more this year. And all you can say is “say no to Klausmeier “? That’s just sad. This isn’t about left or right. It’s about life and death. Baltimore County is losing,” Torsch said.

Miele Campaign Criticizes Klausmeier over Hogan Mailer


Some residents across the 8th District received a mailer (pictured) sent out by Sen. Kathy Klausmeier that appeared to imply that she was endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan. The mailer stated “Kathy Klausmeier is Working With Governor Hogan For a Better Baltimore County ” This is similar to the mailer that I received back in the summer that showed a picture of Klausmeier and Hogan, but her Republican challenger Del. Christian Miele and his team claim this mailer went a step further and gave the appearance that Hogan is a Klausmeier supporter.

“This is the problem with career politicians; they will say just about anything to get elected,” Miele said in a statement.
Miele also posted pictured of Hogan and himself and posted the video where Hogan endorsed him at his kickoff event in 2017.

“[The Klausmeier mailed suggested] that she has worked closely with and is being supported by Governor Larry Hogan. Specifically, she boasts about repealing the very taxes that she voted to create, including the Rain Tax and 41 other O’Malley tax and fee increases.”

As I mentioned in my earlier post about Klausmeier, many of the Democrats are trying not to be tied to their gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous. The only way to do that is to show partisanship by claiming that you are willing to work with Hogan, but Democrats can only go so far.

Miele is endorsed by Hogan and Miele also pointed out many times where Klausmeier went against the Governor. The mailer also tries to make Klausmeier look independent from the Democratic establishment, but Miele explained that is far from the truth.

“This mailer was paid for by the same party bosses that she claims to have stood up to! How do we know this? Look at the legal authority line: “By Authority: Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee,” a committee controlled by Senate President Mike Miller, the chief party boss in Annapolis,” Miele explained. “Are voters really supposed to believe that the party bosses are supporting someone who has opposed them politically? Unbelievable!”

In my opinion, it appears that Klausmeier is worried about Miele and she should be worried. There was an early poll last year where Klausmeier was beating Miele in a head-to-head matchup. However; when it was made known by the pollster that Hogan endorsed Miele, the race was closer. To his credit, Miele went out a placed signs in District 8 with his picture with Hogan’s to inform that he is being endorsed by the Governor.

It appears that hard work and strategy is now paying off for Miele.

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