Category Archives: Howard

2018 Maryland Senate Ratings, Part II

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Part I discussed ratings for safe and toss-up seats in the Maryland Senate. Today, 7S focuses on the six Lean and Likely Democratic districts.  All are currently held by incumbent Democrats.

Lean Democratic

District 3 (Frederick County). Sen. Ron Young had a real scare in 2014, winning just 50.8% of the vote after defeating incumbent Alex Mooney with 51.1% in 2010. Mooney has since fled to West Virginia where he is now a U.S. Representative.

This part of Frederick has been trending Democratic. Clinton carried D3 by 8. Hogan won by 15, a good margin but less impressive than in several districts held by Democrats in Anne Arundel and Baltimore. As this district has the best Democratic territory in Frederick, Young ought to be able to win a third term.

But Frederick has been hotly contested between the two parties of late and this former Frederick Mayor has sometimes been a controversial figure. My current expectations remain for the GOP to have another go at Young but fall short, though they will force Democrats to scramble to retain the seat.

Likely Democratic

See the map at the bottom of the post for the locations of the five Likely Democratic districts.

District 8 (Baltimore County). Sen. Kathy Klausmeier won an impressive victory in 2014. Though her district went for Hogan by 36 points, she not only won but took 61.2% of the vote. In 2016, Hogan’s impressive margin evaporated as Trump carried D8 by seven-tenths of one percent.

This is an interesting district because, though the incumbent has demonstrated popularity, it remains marginal turf. If Republicans want to make gains, they will have to look here, even if Klausmeier is clearly no easy mark. The district could become competitive with the right Republican candidate and favorable political winds.

District 11 (Baltimore County). Sen. Bobby Zirkin was unopposed for reelection last time around, so what is he doing on this list? Zirkin represents a cross-pressured district that supported Hogan by 14 points even as it then went for Clinton by 24 points.

Zirkin is an active legislator who champions several popular, easy-to-explain causes, such as stronger anti-domestic violence legislation. Nonetheless, if Maryland’s political climate turns against Democrats, this seat could be a surprise domino to fall. The district bears watching even if Zirkin should be in good shape.

District 12 (Howard and Baltimore Counties). Another cross-pressured district, D12 went for Hogan by 11 but Clinton by 17. Budget and Taxation Committee Chair Ed Kasemeyer won reelection with a convincing, albeit a tad lower than Klausmeier, margin of 58.6%.

Kasemeyer has an impressive electoral history (59% in 2014, 59% in 2010, 62% in 2006, 63% in 2002, 57% in 1998, 51% in 1994, 54% in 1986) that will make it difficult for Republicans to break through in increasingly Democratic Howard.

Howard has shown itself willing to vote for particular sorts of Republicans, including County Executive Allan Kittleman, who is liberal on social questions, and Gov. Larry Hogan, who relentlessly ignores them. Can the Republicans find one to challenge Kasemeyer or win the open seat should he choose to retire?

District 27 (Southern Maryland). Mike Miller entered the House of Delegates in 1971, the Senate in 1975 and became the Senate President in 1987, which makes him the longest serving legislative body leader in American history. Sen. Miller has led the Senate for so long that when I interviewed him over the telephone for my college senior thesis in the late 1980s, he was already Senate President.

The Senate President represents a politically diverse district that includes big chunks of Calvert and southeastern Prince George’s Counties as well as smaller bits of Charles and St. Mary’s. The Calvert portion of the district is much more Republican than the portions in Charles or Prince George’s.

Republicans would love to defeat this pillar of the Democratic Party. While he attracts complaints of being too conservative from the left, he fights very hard for members of his caucus, raising a lot of money and directing broader organizational efforts to retain a robust Democratic Senate majority.

This district is also far from totally hostile territory. While Clinton won it by 5 points in 2016, Hogan also carried it by 6 points in 2014. This divergence is a lot smaller than many Maryland legislative districts and is suggestive of tighter partisan loyalties, especially among its sizable African-American minority.

Republicans have not come close to defeating Miller. He won 63% in 2014, 75% in 2010, 70% in 2006, 72% in 2002, 69% in 1998, 68% in 1994, 84% in 1990, and 82% in 1986. (The State Board of Elections has not put the stone tablets with earlier election results online yet.) Despite receiving his lowest percentage since at least the 1980s in 2014, my guess is that Sen. Miller is not going to be beat. Still, the turf is marginal and remains Likely Democratic.

District 32 (Anne Arundel). Yet another cross-pressured district that bears a more than passing resemblance to its nearby counterparts in Baltimore and Howard Counties, this district went for Hogan by 17 but for Clinton by 12.

Moderate Sen. Ed DeGrange would seemingly be a good fit for this district. Except in these highly partisan times, some will argue that an outspoken liberal would do more to stir the troops. Like others listed here, he possesses real electoral experience, winning his seat by 59% in 2014, 60% in 2010, 61% in 2006, 59% in 2002, and 52% in 1998.

The remarkable consistency since his first reelection does not look like the record of someone about to lose his seat. Nevertheless, if Republicans are to make gains, they will look to Anne Arundel and to this district along with District 30.

Acid Test for GOP in Howard

Howard Districts

Howard County has been trending steadily more Democratic. Consider the following levels of support for Democratic presidential candidates:

1980: 40% (Anderson 7%)
1984: 42%
1988: 43%
1992: 45% (Perot 16%)
1996: 50% (Perot 6%)
2000: 52%
2004: 54%
2008: 60%
2012: 60%

As you can see, Howard has evolved into a solidly Democratic county in presidential elections. Now, look at the results for county executive and county council:

1982: Nichols (D). Council: 5-0 Democratic.
1986: Bobo (D) Council: 4-1 Democratic.
1990: Ecker (R). Council: 3-2 Democratic.
1994: Ecker (R) 64%. Council: 3-2 Republican.
1998: Robey (D) 55%. Council: 3-2 Democratic.
2002: Robey (D) 58%. Council: 3-2 Democratic.
2006: Ulman (D) 52%. Council 4-1 Democratic.
2010: Ulman (D) 63%. Council 4-1 Democratic.

As Howard began to suburbanize–Columbia first opened in 1967–the more conservative, regular Democrats slowly began to lose control to both Republicans and more liberal Democrats. Republican Charles Ecker defeated incumbent Democratic County Executive Liz Bobo in 1990. Republicans managed to capture the county council four years later in their banner year of 1994, though they lost it back to the Democrats in 1998.

Since their halcyon days after 1994, Republican strength has ebbed steadily. Democrats have held the county executive’s office since 1998 and now have a 4-1 majority on the council. Republicans lost one of their two remaining countywide offices in 2010 when Byron Macfarlane defeated Kay Hartleb for Register of Wills.

In further bad news for Republicans, their sole remaining countywide incumbent, Circuit Court Clerk Margaret Rappaport, stepped down in 2009 for health reasons. Her acting replacement, Democrat Wayne Robey, is unopposed for the job in 2014. No Republican has bothered to file for state’s attorney or register of wills this year.

Despite their erosion in support, Republicans have a very strong candidate for county executive this year in Allen Kittleman. A member of the Maryland Senate since 2004, he served on the Howard County Council from 1998 to 2004. Unlike many of his constituents, Kittleman grew up in Howard, attending the local public schools and the UMBC and UMD School of Law.

Most recently, Kittleman is best known for having to step down as Senate Minority Leader after breaking with his caucus to support marriage equality. An anti-death penalty former President of the Howard NAACP (correction–his father was the NAACP prez), he is not easily going to be stereotyped as a tea party Republican. More conservative on economic questions, Kittleman is wisely careful not to emphasize his party affiliation based on his webpage.

His Democratic opponent, Courtney Watson, hopes to continue the Democratic streak. Like Kittleman, she has deep experience and roots in the community. Watson has represented District 1 on the county council since 2006 and previously served on the Board of Education from 2002-6. She attended a local public high school and went to Howard Community and then Loyola, where she earned her B.A. and M.B.A.

Ironically, Watson is a recipient of the Robert Kittleman Award–named for the father of Allan Kittleman who served in the General Assembly representing Howard from 1983 through 2004.  (Gov. Ehrlich appointed Allan Kittleman to his seat in 2004.)

In short, this is a great race with two strong candidates. But if the Republicans cannot win with Kittleman–the strongest candidate they could have run by far–they’re just done in increasingly Democratic Howard County. We’ll see in November if Kittleman can overcome Watson’s own strengths and partisan advantage.

 

Top Nine Young Guns in The Baltimore Suburbs

1. Caitlyn Leiter-Mason – Originally from Frederick, Caitlyn has been a fixture in western Baltimore County since arriving at UMBC. She was the longtime President of the UMBC College Democrats and is currently managing rising star Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk’s reelection bid. She previously worked for Del. Anne Kaiser–a super star rising in the House leadership. There are certainly great things in Caitlyn’s future.

2. Zach Fang – In my opinion, Zach is now the top field director in the State of Maryland. With a DCCC Pedigree, Zach has returned to the Free State more dangerous than ever. Doug Gansler lucked out hiring this guy.

3. Ashley Harden – According to someone on Gansler’s senior staff, this Northwest Baltimore County field organizer is Doug’s best in the state. One Baltimore based Field Operative told me she’s probably the best seen in the Baltimore suburbs since at least 2006.

Anonymous: She’s way too good to stay in Baltimore County, but she just might anyway.

Anonymous: The next Ann Beegle.

4. Tommy Underwood – Tommy is a genuinely nice, decent guy–which is far too rare in politics. He’s done a great job so far managing O’Malley speechwriter Nick Stewart’s state house run and has a very bright future. This guy could be the Executive Director of the Democratic Caucus in 2018.

Anonymous: He’s not only a plugged-in guy with a very easy-going personality, but he’s also one of the hardest workers I’ve come across and sharp politically.

5. Jahantab Siddiqui – Jahantab (more frequently known as JTab) comes from the politically active Siddiqui clan of Howard County. With an extensive resume that extends statewide, I have no doubt that the next Muslim State Legislator in Maryland will be Jahantab. He may have taken a pass this cycle, but he has District 9 State Senator written all over him.  He could be a credible candidate in MD-03 down the line, or statewide. Smart. Charismatic. Handsome. When he runs you can add unbeatable to that list.

Anonymous: Mt. Airy (on the HoCo side) statewide college coordinator with O’Malley ’06 campaign, Field Director of Ulman’s ’06 campaign, Mikulski Staffer, Ruppersberger’s ’12 campaign, and currently with MoCo govt.

6. Dylan Goldberg – I will admit that I was for a time skeptical of Dylan. How could someone always be this happy? This isn’t California, so it had to be an act. It isn’t. His incredible work ethic and that same infectiously happy personality are sure to carry him far. Howard County Executive by 2026 or Bust.

AnonymousHe’s a bit of a superstar in Howard County, having worked for the state delegation in Annapolis for a couple years after working some local and state races in 2010 (That year, he received the MD Democratic Party’s James W. Rouse Community Service Award). He’s now field director for Courtney Watson’s county executive campaign. He previously worked for Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty.

Anonymous: He stepped up to lead Watson’s campaign and has done a fantastic job (with a great but not very warm and fuzzy candidate).

7. Marc Szczepaniak – Harford County Young Dems President, UMBC Student and Rachael Rice protege has a terrific future ahead of him, whether in Annapolis or on the campaign trail. Limitless upside and lucky find in one of the tougher county for the Democrats.

8. Nick Stewart – Nick was a speechwriter for Martin O’Malley first as Mayor and later as Governor. He also worked in O’Malley’s press office. He is currently a litigation attorney with the prominent firm Saul Ewing LLP. His next move? Running for delegate in Howard/Baltimore County Based District 12. While the field is large, Stewart is a strong candidate. He would be one of the youngest members of the the General Assembly, but nowhere near the least experienced.

Anonymous: one of 10 Democrats vying for the three District 12 delegate nominations, Nick is a former O’Malley speechwriter/press assistant in City Hall and the State House. He now is a lawyer at Saul Ewing in Baltimore. Lives in Arbutus, raised in Timonium. He also clerked for Judge Glenn Harrell. Just this week named to the Daily Record’s 20 in Their Twenties list

9. Shayla Adams – For the last several years, Shayla has run a 501(c)3 called RemixEducation (whose influence extends from Maryland all the way to North Carolina. She’s also a former Teacher with degrees from Wellesley (Undergraduate) and Duke (M.A.T.).  As education disparities between different jurisdictions in the state come into focus, her influence can only grow.  Plus, she makes up one half of a Young Gun Power Couple (the other is Prince George’s Young Gun Larry Stafford).

Anonymous- Really active in the African American community of Howard. Runs a non profit program. She’s cool with Elijah Cummings and he’s speaking at her scholarship banquet.

That Stench is Coming from Howard D13

District 13

I profiled the shenanigans in the District 13 Democratic primary here and here. Long story short, a husband and wife both filed for delegate as did an uncle and his niece. The wife, School Board Member Janet Siddiqui, withdrew at the last minute to refile for School Board but her husband, Nayab Siddiqui, stayed in the race.

Both Vanessa Atterbeary, formerly a candidate in District 18, and her uncle, incumbent Del. Frank Turner filed and neither dropped out. Del. Guy Guzzone, who is running for Senate, originally planned to form a slate with incumbent Del. Shane Pendergrass, Del. Frank Turner, and Janet Siddiqui.

Now, Guzzone, Pendergrass, and Turner have decided to put Vanessa Atterbeary on their ticket as its third candidate for delegate after a series of interviews with the prospective candidates. Nayab Siddiqui and Vanessa Atterbeary both had inside knowledge that someone was going to drop out–or else why on earth would they have filed? And now Team 13 has added the niece of an incumbent delegate to the slate.

Atterbeary, 38, is new to Howard County, having run four years ago in District 18, and participating in Leadership Montgomery two years ago. Congenial enough but running an unskilled campaign that made many missteps (see here, here, and here). But it’s good to know the Montgomery produces such great leaders that Howard feels compelled to import.

Her website, however could use some work (screenshot today):

VAScreen

So why Vanessa Atterbeary besides the link with her uncle?

One reason might that her very successful father, Knowlton Atterbeary, and his connections could help provide significant financing for her campaign and for the slate’s campaign account. During the 2010 cycle, he cut Ike Leggett a check for $2000 and I imagine that, as much as he likes Ike, he loves his daughter.

Much of Atterbeary’s funding last time around came from loans to her own campaign totaling $59K. She may well have earned all of that money or she may have gradually accumulated it through perfectly legal gifts from her parents. Once the money is legally hers, she is legally free to loan it to herself.

Her access to money is not unusual and is not a reason to attack Vanessa. The way she ended up on the slate against an array of generally weak candidates through this very timely withdrawal of J. Siddiqui rather than past work gives much more pause. My bet is that at least some people in Howard County agree.

UPDATE: Vanessa Atterbeary works for KRA, her father’s company.

D13 Shenanigans Continue

So the machinations just keep on going in the District 13 House of Delegates race. Earlier today, I reported that D13 featured the unusual spectacle of husband (Nayab Siddiqui) running against his wife (Janet Siddiqui) and a niece (Vanessa Atterbeary) challenging her uncle (Frank Turner).

Today was the last day to withdraw from the race (i.e. get off the ballot), and lo and behold, School Board Member Janet Siddiqui has dropped out of the race. She had formed a slate with incumbent Dels. Frank Turner and Shane Pendergrass but not her husband.

The “All in the Family” aspect seems less strange (not to mention very awkward at home) than very calculating. Janet Siddiqui’s withdrawal from the race leaves it open for husband, Nayab Siddiqui, who is not currently an elected official.

Del. Frank Turner may have had an inkling that this might happen and encouraged his niece, former District 18 Candidate Vanessa Atterbeary, to jump in too. Pure speculation but it sure makes a lot more sense than the idea that she wanted to take her uncle’s seat.

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun has more details.

Howard D13: Shenanigans!

Niece against uncle. Husband against wife. It’s All in the Family Howard County style in District 13.

In honor of the downright News of the Weird aspects of the District 13 Democratic delegate primary, the usual district map has been moved below and replaced by nostalgia brought you by the MD Republican Party. (It’s all Alex Mooney’s GOP could afford for his last media buy.)

Nevertheless, today I focus on the Democrats. Incumbent Del. Guy Guzzone is running for the open senate seat. He has an astonishing $410K in his campaign account because he was thinking of running for Howard County Executive. This nice guy with vast funds in a Democratic  district should have no problem against the sole Republican who lost the GOP primary in 2010.

District 13

Howard County District 13

Guzzone has formed a slate with three delegate candidates, incumbent Dels. Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner and School Board Member Janet Siddiqui. Pendergrass has a robust $112K in her campaign account while Turner has $56K and Siddiqui has $45K.

All perfectly normal except that also running are Nayab Siddiqui, Janet Siddiqui’s husband, and Vanessa Atterbeary, Frank Turner’s niece. Nayeb Siddiqui filed an affidavit attesting that he raised and spent last than $1000. Vanessa Atterbeary has not filed a campaign finance report, or at least I cannot find it when I search for it.

Surely, not everyone related is related in District 13? Someone should call Shenanigans! on this play.

In 2010, Vanessa Atterbeary ran for the House of Delegates in District 18 in Montgomery County. The district encompassed Chevy Chase, Kensington, Wheaton and part of Silver Spring. She came in fifth–2509 votes behind the third place nominee, Del. Al Carr, and 989 votes behind the fourth place finisher.

Vanessa came across as a highly personable but politically inexperienced young woman. Her campaign used the hackneyed slogan “Now is the Time.” Even worse, one mail piece had the wrong district number (see below). Another featured pictures of Vanessa with elected officials that did not endorse her, leading them to repudiate the piece.

In short, she was young and had interest and potential despite having much to learn about both policy and campaigns. She hosted a fundraiser for Ken Ulman in 2012, so she dived back into politics quickly after she moved to Howard County.

Atterbeary

Campaign Mail Piece from 2010 District 18

One other Democrat, Fred Eiland, has also filed for the delegate race. Like Nayab Siddiqui, he has filed an affidavit, which makes me wonder if he is somehow related to Shane Pendergrass. The only other question remaining is whether N. Siddiqui, Atterbeary, and Eiland form a counter slate.