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